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From Solitude to Solidarity: Healing Ohio's Loneliness Epidemic

Ian Alexander Photography

Human beings are wired for social connections, but when those connections are few, our health pays the price. The U.S. is suffering from a loneliness epidemic, and the toll it takes on our health is both enormous and measurable. Last year, the U.S. Surgeon General declared loneliness and isolation a “public health emergency,” saying loneliness can increase the risk for premature death to levels comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. The Surgeon General’s startling advisory found that poor social connections can raise the risk of heart disease by 29%, increase the risk of stroke by 32%, and increase the risk of developing dementia in older adults by 50%. There is hope: leaders across Ohio are working to combat loneliness, to re-establish connections lost during the pandemic, and create new resources to reduce social isolation. Join us for a thought-provoking panel discussion tackling the loneliness epidemic in Ohio and its profound health and societal implications, including actionable strategies to build socially connected communities that can thrive, enjoy better health outcomes, and develop resilience in the face of loneliness.

Featuring Dr. Amy Acton, Licensed Physician, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, and Former Director, Ohio Department of Health; Susan DiMickele, CEO, National Church Residences; Dr. Whitney Raglin Bignall, On Our Sleeves Associate Clinical Director, Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Dr. Megan Schabbing, Medical Director of Psychiatric Emergency Services, OhioHealth and with host, Tracie McCambridge, Director of Art & Resilience, The Wexner Center for the Arts.