Elder Voices, Inc mission is to explore ways of bringing human rights to health care by offering education, prevention and intervention. 

  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948 includes health care as one of our rights. Yet millions of people do not live in an environment that supports their basic survival needs. 

  Twenty-first century technology offers new ways to provide healthcare services. Our mission includes learning how people and technology can work together to bring the ideals of human rights to the complex stories of a person’s daily life circumstances. For example, the use of artificial intelligence is challenging humans to better understand their thinking abilities and choices of values as they try to discover the right diagnosis and treatment of their health. Our education projects focus on a person’s problem-solving abilities, and how to create guidelines for their health care to share with their health professional. And, how the health professional can include guidelines for human rights in their work.

 Our intervention for human rights violations is looking into how the guidelines used for health care decisions result in helping or harming the person. For example, in the United States studies have suggested medical errors could be the third leading cause of death following heart disease and cancer. It is not known how many of these errors occur because of health professionals who did not respect the person’s human rights but instead were influenced by discrimination or financial benefits. 






Kara Bennett, PhD   


       For several generations my family worked in health care; medical practice, research, education, mental health, nutrition, physical fitness, and entertainment for patients. I’ve been involved with mental health, human rights, education, and entertainment for over forty years. (PhD from UCLA, Psychologist license in CA, Screen Actors Guild, Actors Equity Association)  I was fortunate to study and work with an innovative group of educators, research scientists and practitioners who introduced me to an approach for studying problem-solving strategies that include the complex dynamics of daily life events. 

    For instance, my PhD dissertation; “A Construction of a Diagnosis,” investigated how a neurologist discovers the cause of a patient’s illness. The physician is asked to “think aloud” as they examine the patient and the interaction is recorded. Observing the physician’s problem-solving as it happens gives a chance to discover how they try to fit their medical knowledge to the immediate experience of the patient’s symptoms. I continued to apply these research methods as an example of Problem Based Learning to many different kinds of problem-solving situations. Documenting the thoughts and actions of people as they try to achieve their goals suggested common mental processes for translating a person’s ideas into action. For Elder Voices education projects this background is adapted for simulated and virtual environments, community theater and storytelling, to have a place to try out problem-solving possibilities that encourage respect for human rights. For example, in a virtual or simulated environs the health professional can explore methods for making a diagnosis and then select the methods that work best for interacting with the real patient. Link to CV



Susan Patrice Weiner, MD, MPH


      Dr. Weiner received her MD and MPH from Tulane University and began practicing medicine in pediatric neurology. Later she studied at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University and worked with issues of bioethics and human rights. She worked as a volunteer physician from 1994 to 2010, helping people without health insurance in the San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles CA. areas.  During this time she was cofounder of Elder Voices, and hoped to continue this work for many more years. 


     However, she tragically died in 2012 from a rare cancer, small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma.  Dr. Weiner will continue to be our guide for exploring the interface of spirit, art, and science to help bring human rights to global health and healing. For example, she found the virtual world environment we had created for some of our education work about human rights was an uplifting place to visit during her cancer, and Elder Voices continues to share her work there.

     Besides her medical practice, Susan was a member of the advisory counsel for the program of Medicine and Philosophy at the California Pacific Medical Center, and trained with the San Francisco Neighborhood Emergency Response Team.  In 1989 she won the young investigator award from the American Epilepsy Society. Her publications are in books, medical journals, interviews with health professionals about the philosophy of health and healing.

 Link to CV




Bennett, K. (2019). Learning Problem-Solving Strategies in Virtual Worlds that Encourage  People to Respect Human Rights. 

In Recent Advances in Applying Identity and  Society Awareness to Virtual Learning. Editors: Stricker, A. G., Calongne, C., Truman, B., & Arenas, F. J.

Hershey, PA: IGI Global. Second Edition Link https://www.igi-global.com/chapter/learning-problem-solving-strategies-in-virtual-worlds-that-encourage-people-to-respect-human-rights/233763

De Leon, L. & Bennett, K. (2019). Human Rights, Think Aloud Protocols and Magic Drums: Revealing Character in Pre-Service Teachers.

Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 30(2), 255-274. Waynesville, NC: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/180559/

Bennett, K. (2017). Learning Problem-Solving Strategies in Virtual Worlds that Encourage  People to Respect Human Rights. 

In Integrating an Awareness of Selfhood and Society into Virtual Learning . Editors: Stricker, A. G., Calongne, C., Truman, B., & Arenas, F. J.  

Hershey, PA: IGI Global First Edition 


Bennett, K. & Patrice, S (2013). Exploring the Virtual World of Second Life to Help bring Human Rights to Health Care. 

 In Women and Second Life: Virtual Identity Work and Play Editors: Diana Baldwin and Julie Achterberg. McFarland and Co:Jefferson, NC




Bennett, K. (1981). A construction of a diagnosis: a study of a physician’s mental strategies for fitting a patient’s symptoms and signs to a disease category. Doctoral Dissertation UCLA, 1981, 300 pages; AAT 8206002

Bennett, K. (2000). Perceptions of Lyme Borreliosis 

Bennett, K. & Barrows, H. (1972). An investigation of the diagnostic problem solving methods used by resident neurologists.

Mathematical Biosciences Volume 15, Issues 1-2, October Pages 163-181


Barrows, H. & Bennett, K. (1972). The diagnostic (problem solving) skill of the neurologist: Experimental studies and their implications for neurological training. Archives of Neurology 1972;26(3):273-277.


Weiner SP, Painter J, Geva D, Guthrie RD, Scher MS. Neonatal seizures: Electroclinical dissociation. Pediatric Neurology 1991; 7:363-8. Link https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/088789949190067U

Schulz PE, Weiner SP, Belmont JW, Fishman MA. Basal ganglia calcifications in a case  of  biotinidase deficiency. Neurology 1988;38:1326-1328.  Link https://n.neurology.org/content/38/8/1326

Weiner SP, Rosenbaum F, Hansen Ie, Fishman MA. A five year old boy presenting with a neurodegenerative process as the initial manifestation of human immunodeficiency virus infection. Annals of Neurology 1988;24:360  

Weiner SP, Zinser WE, Parke JT, Fishman MA. Trismus as the presenting sign of brainstem glioma . Annals of Neurology 1988;24:360. 

Schulz PE, Weiner SP, Haber LM, Armstrong DA, Fishman MA. Neurological complications of fat emulsion therapy: the fat overload syndrome. Annals of Neurology 1987; 22:452  Link https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ana.410350521


Weiner SP. A Time to Build: A Time to Heal. Dialogues on the Creation of the Institute for Health and Healing. Ways of the Healer Winter/Spring 1996. California Pacific Medical Center Foundation  

Weiner SP. A Tale of Two Sisters. Ways of the Healer Fall 1994/Winter 1995. California Pacific Medical Center Foundation  

Weiner SP. Tilling the Soul. Ways of the Healer Winter/Spring 1994. California Pacific Medical Center Foundation  

Weiner SP. Aristotle in the Emergency Room. Ways of the Healer Spring 1993.California Pacific Medical Center Foundation             

Weiner SP. The Evolution of the Program in Medicine and Philosophy. Ways of the Healer Winter 1992-1993. California Pacific Medical Center Foundation





















Home         Contact Us