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Home About Us Press Room Archived Press Releases 2012 Press Releases Gerontologists Say Research and Data Should Drive Policy, Budget Decisions

For Immediate Release
November 18, 2012

Contact: Todd Kluss
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(202) 587-2839

Gerontologists Say Research and Data Should Drive Policy, Budget Decisions

America’s top authorities on aging spent the last week at The Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Scientific Meeting in San Diego detailing workable solutions to the challenges presented by a rapidly aging population, including the demand for affordable health care, high rates of disease, and retirement security.

With the backdrop of the recent presidential and congressional elections, the so-called “fiscal cliff,” and its real threats to social service and entitlement programs for older adults, the timing of the GSA conference — which brought more than 3,900 researchers, educators, practitioners, and policy experts together — has rarely been so ideal. Attendees brought forward new data and scholarship on how to understand the aging process, treat those with age-related disease, and most effectively and efficiently serve older Americans.

“As Congress and the president face the challenge of reducing the deficit, those of us who work in the field of aging have real concerns that short term savings will have long term negative effects,” said GSA Policy Advisor Brian Lindberg, MMHS, who serves as director of the Consumer Coalition for Quality Health Care in Washington, DC. “For example, reducing our commitment to the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging and its aging-related research, including Alzheimer’s disease, could cost our nation billions in care costs in the future.”

Lindberg chaired a symposium, “Critical Aging Policy Discussions for the 113th Congress,” which explored the significant issues around health care and retirement security that legislators will confront and how aging organizations such as GSA and AARP are presenting their research to mobilize their members and influence senators and representatives.

He was joined by GSA member Cheryl Matheis, AARP’s senior vice president for policy, strategy, and international affairs at AARP.

“AARP has spent the last six months engaging our members and the public in a conversation about the future of Social Security and Medicare, and asking them to tell us and their elected officials what they think needs to be done to assure that these programs are there to meet the needs of today’s seniors and future generations,” Matheis said. “The data we are collecting will provide useful information to Congress on the views of the American people who rely on these programs.”

Another session in San Diego focused on new service delivery modes for treating individuals with multiple chronic illnesses. Brad Stuart, MD, chief medical officer of Sutter Care at Home, provided data on the cost savings and high patient ratings for their approach to advanced care, which focuses on understanding what the patient truly wants, care coordination, and reducing unnecessary treatments.

Stuart said that using Sutter’s model for providing advanced care will lead to tremendous savings for Medicare both in California and, eventually, on a national level.

GSA’s meeting — the country’s largest interdisciplinary conference in the field of aging — took place at the San Diego Convention Center from November 14 to 18. The program schedule contained more than 500 scientific sessions featuring research presented for the first time.

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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,400+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

Click here for a printable PDF version of this press release.

Mildred M. Seltzer Distinguished Service Recognition

Presented to C. Joanne Grabinski, PhD, Eastern Michigan University, and Mary Alice Wolf, PhD, Saint Joseph University.

This award honors colleagues who are near retirement or recently retired. Recipients are individuals who have been actively involved in AGHE through service on committees, as elected officers, and/or have provided leadership in one of AGHE’s grant-funded projects.

Administrative Leadership Award

Presented to Tammy M. Bray, PhD, Oregon State University

This award honors administrators on AGHE member campuses who have made exceptional efforts in support of gerontology or geriatrics education.

David A. Peterson Gerontology & Geriatrics Education Best Paper of the Volume Award

Presented to Nina M. Silverstein, PhD, University of Massachusetts Boston; Elizabeth Johns, MS, University of Massachusetts Boston; and Judith A. Griffin, MA, MS, University of Massachusetts Boston, for the article “Students Explore Livable Communities.” Honorable mention is given to Emily J. Robbins, MS, Miami University; Jennifer M. Kinney, PhD, Miami University; and Cary S. Kart, PhD, Miami University, for the article “Promoting Active Engagement in Health Research: Lessons Learned from an Undergraduate Gerontology Capstone Course.”

The purpose of this award is to recognize excellence in scholarship in academic gerontology in AGHE’s official journal, Gerontology & Geriatrics Education.

Graduate Student Paper Award

Presented to Deborah Gray, MBA, University of Massachusetts Boston, for the paper “Weight and Wealth: The Relationship between Obesity and Net Worth for Pre-Retirement Age Men and Women.”

This award acknowledges excellence in scholarly work conducted by an AGHE Annual Meeting student attendee.

Book Award for Best Children’s Literature on Aging

Presented to Caitlin Dale Nicholson and Leona Morinn-Nelson for “Niwechihaw/I help” in the primary reader (pre-K to 2nd grade) category, and Ann Grifalconi and Jerry Pickney for “Ain’t Nobody A Stranger to Me” in the elementary reader (3rd to 5th grade) category.

This award recognizes portrayals of meaningful aging in children’s literature.