Dr. Michelle Sierpina, Founding Director of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas, began her work in eldercare in the 1960's. She developed a series of lifestory writing and sharing group modalities which, taken together, form The Pentimento Project. Combining lifestory with Visible Lives storyboard intervention, and TimeSlips©, storytelling group modality for those with dementia, she offers facilitator training in UTMB's Creativity Continuum to health care professionals, lay persons, and volunteers in Texas and around the country. She guides others in forming and leading lifestory groups from New York to Nevada and New Zealand to Greece and recently Italy and Russia.
She has taught at UT Houston Center on Aging, University of Nevada, Reno, St. George's Medical University in Grenada, and at conferences around the nation, as well as in UTMB's Institute for the Medical Humanities and School of Nursing Graduate Program. Sierpina has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on topics in gerontology, spirituality, and creativity in elders. Continuing her research on lifestory writing and sharing groups, she studies and nurtures creativity among elders across the entire continuum of functional capability.
Under her leadership, OLLI at UTMB has received three consecutive $100,000 annual grants from the Bernard Osher Foundation and a $1 million endowment (with $50,000 bridge funding) in 2008.