Library presents ‘Holistic Health Care,’ a SmartTowns program

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published December 30, 2019


ROCHESTER HILLS — January is a great time to learn something new.

Locally, the SmartTowns program — now in its third year — aims to educate the community by providing lifelong learning programs led by educational organizations.

Oakland University professor Frank Cardimen and local resident Mary Eberline spearheaded the program in 2017 to connect with and engage the area’s aging population — which officials said is a growing demographic — as well as with the rest of the community.

“Retirees are intending to stay in this area. They like the greater Rochester area,” Eberline said.

To create lifelong learning opportunities for seniors — along with anyone else who wants to attend SmartTowns programs — officials from Meadow Brook Hall, Oakland University, Rochester University, the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, the Rochester Hills Public Library, Ascension Providence Hospital and — new this year — the Oakland University Center for Public Humanities all agreed to partner on the series of programs that explores one theme or topic per year.

“The saddest thing about retirees is we have lots of time, but we also can’t look at a screen all day or just read books. The interaction with others who share an interest — whether it be architecture or artificial intelligence — is fabulous,” Eberline said.

In its inaugural year, SmartTowns explored the Gilded Age — which spanned the 1870s to about 1900 — through 12 programs. Last year, all SmartTowns programs were focused around “Agents of Change,” people or things that encourage people to change their behavior or opinions, according to organizers.

This year, SmartTowns will explore “Events That Changed the World.”

“The SmartTowns theme of ‘Events That Changed the World’ is big and bold and complements what we do on an individual basis every day — libraries transform lives, and libraries change the world,” said Rochester Hills Public Library Director Juliane Morian.

The first SmartTowns program of the year, “Holistic Health Care,” presented by Surita Chaudhry, will be held 7-8:30 p.m. Jan. 9 in the Rochester Hills Public Library’s multipurpose room. Organizers say the program is a great way to start the new year and learn holistic techniques to improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Registration is required and is open to library card holders.

“Our first SmartTowns session on the topic of holistic health is inspiring because we frequently adopt a holistic approach to community building; we serve all ages and all stages of life,” Morian said.

SmartTowns programs are offered from January through November of each year at partner locations. Additional programs include “The Declaration of Independence: The Words Heard Around the World,” by Dr. John Todd, of Rochester University, 7-8:30 p.m. March 10 at the Rochester Hills Public Library; “Shakespeare 101,” by Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company, 7-8:30 p.m. April 14 at the Rochester Hills Public Library; and “Michigan’s Green Thumb Fires of 1871 and 1881 and the Establishment of the American Red Cross,” by Pat McKay, at 7 p.m. April 16 at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm.

For a complete SmartTowns schedule, visit