Improving Aging African American Health Through Dance

Penn Institute on Aging pic
Penn Institute on Aging


Attorney, inventor, and philanthropist Robert Kasirer first came to the US as a child after his parents survived Nazi Europe. His parents went on to co-found Golden State Health Centers, which owns and operates skilled nursing facilities. Robert Kasirer serves as a managing member of KFT Capital, a real estate investor which also works with skilled nursing facilities, and is also a director at JacobRose Family Foundation. He also spent time as a consultant for the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute of Aging (IOA).

Founded in 1979, the IOA supports research and education on aging and aging-related diseases. The IOA recently reported on a study on older African-American adults and the potential benefits of African dance. The study, called the Rhythm Experience and Africana Culture Trial (REACT!), was created to address the specific aging-related cognitive issues that affect African-Americans twice as often as Caucasians. This may be due to a suite of factors including less access to quality education in the African-American community, as well as risk factors for dementia, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other vascular diseases.

Research has shown that physical activity can improve cardiovascular health as well as neurocognitive function. REACT! works with African-American adults between age 65 and 75 in two groups – the first of which will practice African dance three times a week, while the second group will receive education on African culture and healthy behavior. The study hopes to discover which of the two interventions will better serve this population and hopefully discover useful tools that can help correct social and racial disparities for other communities as well.


Benefits of SoulCycle

SoulCycle pic

With a law degree from St John’s University School of Law, Robert Kasirer went on to an Of Counsel position with Manatt, Phelps, Rothenburg, and Phillips. From there, he went on to a career in the health care industry, and today, he is a managing director with KFT Capital and a director of the aging and architecture-focused JacobRose Family Foundation. Robert Kasirer keeps himself healthy in part through SoulCycle.

SoulCycle is a form of spinning class on an indoor bike. Spin bikes are taller than regular stationary bikes and SoulCycle classes require clip-in shoes. Each class is 45 minutes and includes high-energy music and an instructor that takes you through a full-body workout with light hand weights. The class can burn 500 to 700 calories and generally targets the abs, glutes, and cardiovascular systems.

SoulCycle has become very popular in recent years, with celebrity endorsements from people like Kelly Ripa and Molly Sims. In addition to the workout, classes have a community aspect that many people find motivating. The choreography and intensity of focus also help some people relieve stress and anxiety.

Aging and Architecture


Robert Kasirer

Robert Kasirer innovated two technologies: one for integrating health care management, and another for managing real estate developments. Having spent time in senior management with Golden State Health Centers nursing facilities and on the external advisory board of the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute on Aging, Robert Kasirer went on to positions as a managing director with KFT Capital and a director of the JacobRose Family Foundation, which focuses on aging and architecture.

As the US aging population grows, the need for spaces that serve older adults is becoming more relevant. Traditional nursing homes were often built with the intention to house people briefly at the end of their lives, but with improvements in health care and technology, we are living longer than ever and many of us will want to continue to live active, social lives beyond retirement.

In many apartment buildings, for example, hallways are a direct line from the elevator to the apartment. Designing a wider space and including shared seating space may encourage neighbors to interact with each other more often when they are close to home. Nursing homes could also be integrated with other buildings, such as a school, to encourage interaction between the nursing home residents and the students. These sorts of architectural changes might help prevent isolation and depression in the growing aging population.

Camp Ramah’s Mador Program


Mador Program pic
Mador Program

A New York University graduate, Robert Kasirer followed in his parents’ footsteps to focus on a career dedicated to senior citizen welfare. Beyond his professional duties, Robert Kasirer supports Camp Ramah in California, a Jewish summer camp that brings together campers from North American and Israel.

Camp Ramah operates numerous initiatives, including the Mador program. Open to incoming 12th-grade students, the Mador program is a leadership training course that takes place over nine weeks.

In the two-part program, students work as counselors to younger campers and take part in classroom sessions where they hear from experts in fields including child development, psychology, and rabbinic studies. Space on the Mador program is limited, and not all applicants are successful.

The application process includes submission of a written application with references. All candidates must complete interviews prior to selection. Applicants active in Jewish community organizations, such as youth groups and Hebrew schools, receive priority.

The SoulCycle 101 Class


Soul 101 pic
Soul 101

An experienced attorney and consistent innovator, Robert Kasirer has dedicated much of his career to the health care and nursing home sectors. An advocate for senior health and disabled people, Robert Kasirer was inspired by his parents, who spent their own careers in the nursing home industry. Away from his professional endeavors, Robert Kasirer attends SoulCycle classes.

Created as a means to get fit while also enriching the soul, SoulCycle classes feature inspiring instructors who often conduct sessions by candlelight and using music. The organization operates the SoulCycle 101 class for those who want to gain a clearer understanding of the SoulCycle methods and how they can be of benefit.

Open to riders who have taken a maximum of five SoulCycle classes, SoulCycle 101 is a one-hour workshop that offers a higher degree of interactivity than the normal sessions. Attendees are offered the opportunity to ask questions of instructors, in addition to learning more about proper form and bike fitting, both of which improve rider safety and efficiency.

The Park City Mountain Resort


Park City Mountain Resort pic
Park City Mountain Resort

A business leader and innovator, Robert Kasirer serves as the chairman and chief executive officer of HealthCare Continuum. When not engaged in his professional duties, Robert Kasirer is an avid skier and regular visitor to the Park City Mountain Resort.

Based in Utah, Park City is one of the United States’ leading ski resorts. Only a short drive from Salt Lake City International Airport, it features over 7,300 acres of skiable terrain, which is divided into a multitude of courses for skiers of all skill levels. It now offers the largest amount of skiable terrain in the United States, following its linking with Canyons Resort in 2015.

Featuring over 300 trails and a super pipe for the most experienced skiers, the resort welcomes skiers and snowboarders. In addition, the resort provides limited access to users of other sliding devices. Further, it plays regular host to events such as concerts and competitions.

Youth Composer Education at the Hollywood Bowl


Youth Composer Education pic
Youth Composer Education

An inventor and experienced executive, Robert Kasirer is also a member of the external advisory board of the University of Pennsylvania Institute of Aging. Outside of work, Robert Kasirer enjoys attending concerts at the Hollywood Bowl.

The summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Hollywood Bowl also hosts its eponymous orchestra as well as dozens of other musicians and events throughout the year. To connect with its community, the Bowl offers a number of education programs for students, families, and adults.

One of the Hollywood Bowl’s youth initiatives is the Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program. Since its founding in 2007, the program has worked to connect high school-aged composers with some of the greatest composers in the world. Program fellows receive access to philharmonic rehearsals, musician demonstrations, and chamber music readings.

During the two-year program, participants write two orchestra pieces for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and are then able to attend their rehearsals and premieres. Participants leave the program with professional recordings of their compositions.