Areas of Study: Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science, Master of Healthcare Management
Year: Rising fourth year
Satya Moolani is helping bridge the intergenerational gap. As the director of Create Circles-Cleveland—a nonprofit organization co-founded by Moolani, his brother Harsh, and other college-aged students—he works to address loneliness in older adults. Recently, the rising fourth-year student combined his undergraduate studies in cognitive science with his Master of Healthcare Management knowledge to help the organization earn a nearly $500,000 federal grant to support its mission.
Create Circles pairs trained student volunteers from more than 60 universities and schools with older adults in senior living facilities and at home to build relationships and promote brain health through meaningful conversation and activities.
For Moolani, who is vice president of the Weatherhead Healthcare Club on campus, this organization almost perfectly marries his cognitive science and healthcare management studies. Once he realized that some of the intricacies and problems the healthcare sector faces stem from the basics of cognitive science—such as problem-solving, decision-making and reasoning—Moolani decided that pursuing a cognitive science degree would allow him to dissect healthcare issues on both humanistic and mental levels.
Then, after completing his cognitive science capstone project with Vera Tobin, an associate professor in the Department of Cognitive Science, Moolani realized the grave impact loneliness can have on older adults, from high blood pressure and anxiety to depression and cognitive decline.
So Moolani has linked his studies at CWRU to his role as program director at Create Circles, as he learns to address some of the more significant challenges for older adults, such as social isolation, negative aging and living without a sense of purpose.
“By promoting meaningful interactions between students and older adults,” Moolani said, “I knew I could help close the intergenerational gap by decreasing ageist perceptions that students may have and further bring a sense of purpose to older adults.”
Some of Moolani’s duties as program director include monitoring the onboarding and training of volunteers, supporting volunteers and staff during business hours, conducting research studies and monitoring the quality of collected data.
One of Moolani’s most notable accomplishments with Create Circles includes leading the grant-writing team that earned a $495,000 Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment Program grant through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, allowing the program to impact an additional 500 older adults within his home state of Kentucky. Through this funding, Create Circles will be able to recruit nursing home residents, train volunteers, supply training resources to communities, quantify their impact, create sustainability plans for the community, and, most importantly, improve residents’ quality of life.
He also hopes to continue growing the program and streamline training and onboarding processes to prevent potential logistical problems.
After graduating, Moolani will continue as project manager for the CMP grant in Kentucky while working for PieMED, a medical device company that focuses on solutions for individuals with a neurogenic bowel.
“CWRU has ingrained me with the value of creating meaningful bonds with residents, volunteers, and nursing home administrators,” said Moolani, who’s also involved on campus as a member of Case Kismat, a Bollywood fusion dance team. “I have learned how to lead with others, and not just lead by myself.”