Call for Presentations

Call for Presentations


The Pioneer Network Annual Pioneering a New Culture of Aging conference, will be held on August 9-12, 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA. The conference focus in 2020 is Envisioning the Future.

The goal of this conference is to bring together individuals from across the United States and other nations who care deeply about changing the culture of aging, creating opportunities for communication, networking and learning with and from each other as they share innovative thought and best practices.

We strive to make this event meaningful to people who support culture change in all places within the elder care continuum. We aim to support those who are just starting on the culture change journey to build a sense of home and community for Elders – as well as those who have been actively engaged in this mission for some time.

We also are committed to assuring that we are hearing the voice of Elders residing in assisted living communities and nursing homes, as well as older adults residing in retirement/independent living, and/or in private homes in the community.





“Culture change” is the common name given to the national movement for the transformation of older adult services, based on person-directed values and practices where the voices of elders and those working most closely with them are solicited, respected and honored. Core person-directed values are relationship, choice, dignity, respect, self-determination and purposeful living.

Pioneer Network envisions a culture of aging that is Life-Affirming, Satisfying and Meaningful and is based on the following values and principles:

  • Know each person
  • Each person can and does make a difference
  • Relationship is the fundamental building block of a transformed culture
  • Respond to spirit, as well as mind and body
  • Risk taking is a normal part of life
  • Put person before task
  • All elders are entitled to self-determination wherever they live
  • Community is the antidote to institutionalization
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
  • Promote the growth and development of all
  • Shape and use the potential of the environment in all its aspects: physical, organizational, psycho/social/spiritual
  • Practice self-examination, searching for new creativity and opportunities for doing better
  • Recognize that culture change and transformation are not destinations but a journey, always a work in progress

Pioneer Network Credo

Growing older presents limitless opportunities to pursue joy and meaning wherever we call community. Aging is the path to life-long learning, growth and connection regardless of changes we face. Pioneer Network is working to bury stereotypical views and combat ageism. Helping others understand and experience life in a fulfilling way creates a culture of care and support we all desire. Let’s celebrate the virtues of aging together!


  1. To support the conference focus, Envisioning the Future, while providing attendees with stories and tools that support innovation along with practical knowledge and tools that they can use to continue their work in changing the culture of aging.
  2. To raise awareness about how ageism in our society influences our practices of care and support — the services we provide and how we provide them.
  3. To showcase innovations in culture change specific to aging and across diverse settings (e.g., long-term care, community, retirement living, private home).
  4. To support networking and sharing among constituents from all settings.
  5. To continue to build the momentum and change the culture of aging in the U.S. and beyond.
  6. To highlight the use of technology in advancing the culture of aging.

CONFERENCE PROGRAM ELEMENTS                       

The conference program will consist of sessions that:

  1. Reflect elements of community, both within the care setting and within the community at large, and how this impacts the culture of aging.
  2. Demonstrate innovation and creativity in approaches that can advance the movement to change the culture of aging.
  3. Include practical tools for implementation of person-centered practices, providing attendees with what they need to implement what they learn.
  4. Reflect the knowledge and experiences of those who work closest to the Elders and who are engaged in living these practices every day.
  5. Are inclusive, ensuring diverse voices are represented and supported in planning and delivery. The conference program will include the voice of the Elders and engage people of all ages in sharing and exploring what it means to experience aging.
  6. Are interactive and experiential, providing a safe and engaging space where participants actively engage with ideas and have opportunities for critical reflection and dialogue with each other. The program will welcome vibrant, creative and non-traditional approaches to share information (e.g., use of technology, performing arts, fine arts, media, narratives, storytelling, poetry, photography, small art installations, etc.), in addition to more traditional panel presentations followed by facilitated discussion.
  7. Build linkages by creating opportunities for strong connections to be made between lived experiences, professional practices, education and research as a means of advancing a strong network of individuals and organizations interested in changing the culture of aging. The conference program will promote the importance of teamwork, collaboration and a shared sense of purpose.
  8. Reflect elements that tie into the vision to reframe aging, helping to eliminate Ageism, which is a fundamental barrier to having a meaningful and purposeful life for many Elders.
  9. Celebrate the experiences of aging across diverse contexts and settings.


Submissions open: Friday, September 6, 2019
Deadline for submissions: Friday, November 1, 2019
Guides will be informed of decision by Friday, December 6, 2019
Guides to confirm attendance by Friday, December 20, 2019



  1. The selection committee invites a wide range of engaging session formats including: interactive workshops, panel discussions, and creative expressions/performances.
  2. Applicants will be asked to select the topic area(s) most aligned with their session (i.e., Community, Clinical Practice, Technology, Diversity, Resident Voice, Intergenerational programming, Non-Traditional Care Setting).
  3. Guides who have their submissions accepted are expected to be available to present on August 10, August 11 and/or August 12, 2020.
  4. All Guides must register and pay applicable conference registration fees. A discounted rate is provided to Guides, Elders or students and some individuals may qualify for scholarships. More details will be shared with notification of acceptance.
  5. Descriptions of sessions accepted as part of the conference program will be posted online, along with Guide photos.
  6. Presentation slides and handouts must be submitted prior to the conference and will be shared on the Pioneer Network App prior to, during and following the conference.
  7. If you wish to have hard copies of your handouts available for attendees, you will be responsible for providing these for distribution/use during your session.
  8. All Guides are expected to provide a short resource (e.g., 1-page summary or tip sheet) sharing the key take-aways or practical applications from their session. Please include your contact information.
  9. Guides are not to include in their sessions any commercial endorsements or selling of specific products or services. (Opportunities to participate as a Vendor/Sponsor are available. If interested, contact Scott Oser at
  10. By submitting a proposal, all Guides acknowledge that if their submission is accepted, they may be photographed and/or recorded during their session. If this is a problem, please make note of this in the “Additional Requests or Special Needs” section of the submission form.
  11. All Guides are expected to participate in a short virtual meeting to share and discuss the goals of the conference, Guide expectations and how we can work together to create the best possible conference experience for our attendees. Meetings will be set on several different dates and times during the months of February/March 2020.


Submissions will be reviewed in consideration of their:

  1. Alignment to the Pioneer Network Principles and the conference goals, objectives and program elements;
  2. Relevance to at least one of the culture change values (please see section called “Understanding culture change”);
  3. Quality, clarity and thoughtfulness (e.g. coherence, logical flow, grammar/spelling, etc.);
  4. Applicability to practice (e.g., tools, strategies, implementation guides, etc.), and/or inspiring, forward-thinking ideas; and
  5. Active engagement of diverse perspectives (preference will be given to sessions that actively engage older adults/residents and/or students).


All rooms will be furnished with a projector with sound, handheld microphone, and a lavalier microphone. Rooms will be set up in round tables of 6-8. Please list any additional requirements you have for your session (e.g. additional set-up time needed, alternative room arrangement, limit to the number of participants, internet requirements, etc.). All requests will be considered by the conference planning committee but are not guaranteed.