Exercise your mind at the new UCSF Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

By Bill Gordon

The UCSF Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) starts in October with a series of classes aimed at adults over the age of 50 who remain curious, thoughtful, and in search of new ideas.

One OLLI course offers the opportunity to meet UCSF authors of best-selling books—from crime mysteries, to a guide for reading the emotions behind facial expressions.  Another examines medicine in the short story.

Fans of the crime scene investigation shows popping up on television can learn the science of forensic medicine directly from the experts in another OLLI course.

Topics ranging from pain management to dietary supplements are examined in a course offered by UCSF scientists who study the use of consumer drugs.

In a course called “The Bionic Man and Woman,” UCSF experts reveal the latest in replacement parts and new technology to keep our original parts healthy—from eyes to knees.

A course in alternative medicine asks what really works among alternative therapies.  How do scientists separate the hype from the hits?  The classes provide an introduction to several major alternative health systems led by experts in the field of integrative medicine.

The program begins October 8 with classes on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 7 to 9 pm and continues for six weeks at UCSF’s Parnassus Avenue and Mount Zion sites.  Tuition for each 6-week course is $75, with a limited number of need-based scholarships available.  Call (415) 476-3438, send an email to [email protected] for information, or visit the website at lifelonglearning.ucsf.edu.

Presentations will include an hour-long formal presentation and 30 minutes for questions and discussion.

OLLI offers participants the simple pleasure of learning—no tests or grades. Teachers include many faculty members from the world-renowned UCSF Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy, the UCSF Medical Center and other experts drawn from the community.

Sponsored by a grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation with support from the Mount Zion Health Fund, the program offers Bay Area residents unique access to the wealth of educational resources at UCSF.

The program is designed with an aging Bay Area population in mind.  The region’ s over-55 population is predicted to double to more than 2 million by the year 2020, placing almost one in four people in the nine-county region in this age group.



Wednesdays, 7 - 9 pm
UCSF Parnassus campus, 513 Parnassus Ave., San Francisco

“Medicine and the Short Story” will sample the wealth of literature that provides humanistic connections to current and classical issues in medicine,
with a particular focus on the short story.  Specific authors and stories for
discussion will be announced when the class begins meeting.

An opportunity for creative writing will supplement assigned readings and allow for a more personal exploration of the unique relationship between doctors and patients.

Course Director
Bonnie Rosenberg, MD, an internist in private practice in Mountain View and a member of the volunteer faculty at UCSF, is actively involved with teaching medical students.  She has taught literature and medicine courses in the UCSF School of Medicine to medical students and residents.


Wednesdays, 7 - 9 pm, UCSF Parnassus campus, 513 Parnassus Ave.

Oct. 8: “What Everyone Needs to Know About Managing Pain Effectively”—Robert Miller, PharmD, a graduate of the UCSF School of Pharmacy and pain management practitioner in private practice in South San Francisco.

Oct. 15: “Inappropriate Antibiotic Use and the Risk of Bacterial Infection”—B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, UCSF professor and vice chair of clinical pharmacy

Oct. 22: “Deciding on Hormonal Options for Menopause”—Cathi Dennehy, PharmD, UCSF assistant professor of clinical pharmacy

Oct. 29:  “Current Issues in Tobacco Cessation”—Lisa Kroon, PharmD,  UCSF associate clinical professor of clinical pharmacy, and Karen Hudmon, DrPH, MS, RPh, UCSF assistant clinical professor of clinical pharmacy

Nov. 5:  “Genes and Drugs: How Knowledge About Your Genes Can Improve Your Use
of Drugs”—Kathryn Phillips, PhD, UCSF associate clinical professor of clinical pharmacy, and Bernard Shen, MD

Nov. 12: “Consumers and the Dietary Supplement Marketplace”—Candy Tsourounis, PharmD, UCSF associate clinical professor of clinical pharmacy



Wednesdays, 7 - 9 pm,  UCSF Parnassus campus, 513 Parnassus Ave.

Oct. 8: “Better Than Prozac: Creating the Next Generation of Psychiatric Drugs”
—Samuel Barondes, MD, Robertson professor of psychiatry and director of the UCSF Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry, will describe the origins, benefits and limitations of widely used psychiatric drugs such as Prozac. He will go on to show how the discovery of the genetic variations that predispose certain people to severe mental disorders will change the way that psychiatric drugs are made and prescribed, and will guide the development of better treatments.

Oct. 15: “The Piano Tuner”—Daniel Mason, UCSF medical student.  A best-selling debut novel, “The Piano Tuner” tells the story of Edgar Drake, who travels to a civil war-torn Burma in 1886 on a mysterious mission to repair a rare grand piano

Oct. 22: “The Pathway: Follow the Road to Health and Happiness”—Laurel Mellin, MA, RD, UCSF associate clinical professor of family and community medicine and pediatrics.  Mellin’s books discuss how to find the way out of our tendency toward excess and toward health and happiness by mastering two skills
—self-nurturing and effective limits.

Oct. 29: “My Grandfathers Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging”—Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, UCSF clinical professor of family and community medicine, is also the author of “Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal.”  Remen’s talk, entitled “The Art of Living,” will discuss how we may find meaning in the second half of life and the role of altruism, generosity and service in establishing a sense of worth and personal power.

Nov. 5: “Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life”—Paul Ekman, PhD, UCSF professor of psychiatry.  CDs that improve sensitivity to emotional communication will be demonstrated.

Nov. 12: “Triplet Code”—Frances M. Brodsky, DPhil, UCSF professor of biopharmaceutical sciences, pharmaceutical chemistry, and microbiology & immunology.  Brodsky’s mystery novels, written under the pen name B.B. Jordan, are meant to describe the workings of academic science, as well as to entertain. They illustrate that the process of scientific enquiry is not dissimilar to criminal investigation.



Wednesdays, 7 - 9 pm, UCSF Parnassus campus, 513 Parnassus Ave.

Oct. 8: “Integrative Medicine: An Overview” (with an introduction to herbal medicine and homeopathy)—Ellen Hughes, MD, PhD, UCSF clinical professor of medicine and director of education at UCSF’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine

Oct. 15: “Traditional Chinese Medicine: Acupuncture, Meridians, & Chi”—Beverly Burns, MS, LAc, a Chinese medicine practitioner specializing in women’s health and cancer.  She maintains a private practice in San Francisco, works as an acupuncturist at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, and serves as part of a multidisciplinary team participating in research for women with breast cancer at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Oct. 22: “Mind-body Medicine: Reducing Stress, Enhancing Your Life”—Kevin Barrows, MD, UCSF assistant clinical professor in the department of family and community medicine and director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

Oct. 29: “Manual Medicine: A ‘Hands-on’ Approach to Healing”—Harley Goldberg, DO, director of complementary and alternative medicine for Kaiser Permanente Northern California Medical Care Program and chief of complementary medicine at Santa Teresa Medical Center in San Jose

Nov. 5: “Understanding Ayurveda: Ancient Medicine for Contemporary Living”—Reenita Malhotra, Ayur Virashad, an Ayurvedic clinician, entrepreneur, and founder and CEO of Ayoma LifeSpa.

Nov. 12: “Energy Medicine: An Overview”—Judith Sweet, RN, MS, FNP, UCSF assistant clinical professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine

Nov. 19: “Integrative Models of Care”—Bradly Jacobs, MD, MPH, UCSF assistant clinical professor of medicine and medical director at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine



Wednesdays, 7 - 9 pm, UCSF Parnassus campus, 513 Parnassus Ave.

Oct. 8: “The ABCs of Aging, Bifocals and Cataracts”—Stephen McLeod, MD, UCSF assistant professor of clinical ophthalmology and co-director of the refractive surgery service.

Oct. 15: “Dental Implants vs. Dentures—How to Choose the Best Cosmetic Dentistry Alternative”—Arun Sharma, BDS, MSC UCSF assistant clinical professor of preventative and restorative dental sciences.

Oct 22: “New Developments in Hearing Aids and Auditory Training”—Robert W. Sweetow, PhD, UCSF professor of otolaryngology and director of audiology.

Oct. 29: “Use It or Lose It—Feel Younger with Exercise”—Bree Johnston, MD, UCSF associate clinical professor of geriatrics, and Nancy Byl, PhD, PT, UCSF professor and chair of physical therapy and rehabilitation science.

Nov 5: “New Advances in Hip and Knee Replacement Surgery: How Far We’ve Come”
—Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA, UCSF assistant professor of surgery.

Nov 12: “New Techniques for the Management of Common Spinal Conditions in the Aging Population”—Sigurd Berven, MD, UCSF assistant professor of orthopedic surgery.



Thursdays, 7 - 9 pm, UCSF Mount Zion, 1600 Divisadero St.


Oct. 9:  Heather Pringle, a science journalist and author of “The Mummy Congress,” an examination of the long and bizarre history of human obsession with the preserved dead.

Oct. 16:  Jessica Snyder, a science journalist and author of “Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death,” an exploration of the means by which pathologists measure the interval between death and a body’s discovery.

Oct. 23:  Mary Roach, author of “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers,”
which includes chapters on embalming, the use of the dead to test vehicles for safety, forensic pathology, donor transplants, and cremation.

Oct. 30: Steven Karch, MD, assistant medical examiner for the City and County of San Francisco, is an authority on the effects of drug abuse on the heart and has published nine books on the subject of drug abuse.  He lectures frequently on the investigation of drug-related deaths.

Nov. 6:  Clyde Snow, PhD, a leading medical anthropologist who helped pioneer forensic law, biological anthropology, and human rights, and is the only full-time consultant in forensic anthropology in the United States.

Nov. 13:  Alison Galloway, PhD, D-ABFA, a forensic consultant and professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.