UNMC for the record, March 17, 2023

AAP, MMI team to celebrate World Autism Day

The Autism Action Partnership-Munroe-Meyer Institute celebration of World Autism Day will be held on April 2 at Omaha’s Gene Leahy Mall.

“We hope to create an opportunity to socialize, have fun and celebrate with the autism community,” said Michaela Ahrens, senior director of programs for AAP.

The community celebration will include food trucks and face painting, as well as yard games and booths featuring community partners, friends and other champions for autism. The Rose, Special Olympics, Gotta Be Me, The Omaha Children’s Museum and Why Arts are among the groups offering booths with fun activities. The Omaha Police Department’s mounted patrol also will make an appearance.

Melonie Welsh, community engagement director for MMI, said the event would celebrate acceptance and awareness.

“This event is an opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate people across the autism spectrum and perhaps educate the broader community, as well,” she said.

The event, which is scheduled for noon to 2 p.m., is the kick off for Autism Acceptance Month, and AAP and MMI also are collaborating on a billboard campaign, with this year’s theme being “Uniqueness Unites Us.”

The monthlong campaign to spread autism awareness and acceptance also will include an online toolbox, developed by MMI and hosted on the AAP website, for businesses, organizations and anyone who would like to learn more, promote and celebrate Autism Awareness Month.

UNO’s Aging with Passion & Purpose Conference is May 5

Steve Wengel, MD, UNMC’s assistant vice chancellor for campus wellness and a professor in the UNMC Department of Psychiatry, is a speaker at the ninth biennial Aging with Passion & Purpose Conference.

The virtual event, scheduled for May 5 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., is co-sponsored, in part, by the University of Nebraska at Omaha Department of Gerontology, UNO’s Grace Abbott School of Social Work and the University of Nebraska at Kearney Department of Counseling, School Psychology and Family Science.

The webinar will offer collaborative approaches and techniques for supporting communities, policies, services, settings and structures and developing livable spaces for people of all ages and abilities.

It is aimed at multidisciplinary providers of care, researchers and educators, along with older adults and their families, friends and care partners.

See this link for information on other scheduled speakers and registration information, or visit the UNO gerontology website. For more information, email conference organizers or call 402-554-2272.

Diaper drive donates to A Mother’s Love, Nebraska Diaper Bank.

Last month, the Emerging Professionals Program, in collaboration with the African American Black Alliance and the Nebraska Medicine Office of Community and Corporate Relations, hosted a diaper and supply drive.

Colleagues donated more than 5,500 diapers, 7,600 wipes and 125 miscellaneous items, such as booties, bottles and bibs. It is estimated that the diaper donations alone helped 93 babies stay dry this month.

Donations from the drive were given to A Mother’s Love and the Nebraska Diaper Bank.

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