Ten Years After ‘Retooling’ Report, Workforce Demands Remain High

By CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH

Our field is in the midst of observing the 10th anniversary of the landmark “Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce” report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.” This publication, led by former GSA President John W. Rowe, pointed out that the number of older patients with more complex health needs increasingly outpaces the number of health care providers with the knowledge and skills to adequately care for them.

The challenge with all National Academies reports like this is determining how best to translate their findings into action. In 2008, GSA joined with other stakeholder groups to establish the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA). Since that time, former GSA President Michèle J. Saunders has been serving as co-convener of the EWA along with Nancy Lundebjerg of the American Geriatrics Society. The Alliance now boasts 31 member organizations. We’re grateful to the John A. Hartford Foundation for providing ongoing support for the work of the EWA.

Changing the “Conventional Wisdom” on Aging: the Reframing Aging Initiative Moves Forward

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH

I recently had the opportunity to brief 30 members of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations on the new Reframing Aging initiative that GSA and seven colleague organizations have championed with the extraordinary support of nine forward-thinking funders.

This initiative is based on research conducted by The FrameWorks Institute that found the public’s perception of aging differs markedly from what we as experts and advocates in the field know to be true. FrameWorks has developed and tested strategies and tools for changing the narrative around aging that address ageism and garner increased support for aging issues.

Addressing Social Isolation Among Older Persons is Gaining Momentum

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH

GSA members will find a copy of Public Policy & Aging Report on “Lack of Social Connectedness and its Consequences” in their mailboxes soon thanks to a special distribution of this issue made possible by AARP Foundation. I have been honored to represent GSA on the Executive Council providing input on the AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect campaign since its launch. This consumer-directed campaign has had a wonderful impact already and 2018 activities are well underway. In addition to bringing this consumer directed campaign forward, AARP Foundation is helping promote the evidence base around what works and engaging researchers along the way. This special distribution of Public Policy & Aging Report is a wonderful example of that.

Hats Off to the NIA Leadership and Staff

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH

While the 24/7 news cycle keeps us constantly informed of events unfolding globally, it sometimes prevents us from fully appreciating important events along the way. One such event relates to the recent federal government shutdown. Although short-lived by most measures (three days), the shutdown carried the potential of causing enormous disruption in the aging research arena as it overlapped with the three-times-per-year meeting of the 16-member National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA).

The NACA advises the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the director of the National Institutes of Health, and the director of National Institute on Aging on its mission, considers applications for research and training, and recommends funding for promising applications. The January meeting was set for January 23 and 24 (with experts traveling in on January 22), meaning the federal government shutdown would have forced cancellation of the meeting and disrupted the forward progress of important research.

Listening Session Kicks Off 2018 Healthy Aging Summit Planning

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH

I represented GSA this week at a listening session convened by Dr. Don Wright, the acting assistant secretary for health and director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to kick-off planning for the just-announced 2018 Healthy Aging Summit. HHS convened the first Healthy Aging Summit in the summer of 2015 and it served as a valuable warm-up to the White House Conference on Aging held later that year.

The 2018 Summit will be using a social determinants of health lens to focus on prevention in healthy aging, with major programming tracks for social and community context, quality of life in aging, health & health care, and neighborhood & built environment.