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Leaders Embrace Call to Action to Improve Our Understanding of Aging

The National Center to Reframe Aging — the leading organization for proven strategies to effectively frame aging issues — welcomed thought leaders, national experts, federal representatives, and local, regional, and state-based leaders to an April 10 summit for transformative conversations about the current movement to reframe aging, gain insight into real world application of communication strategies and tools, and exchange ideas for advancing an equitable and complete story about aging in America.

Nearly 1,000 in-person and virtual attendees convened at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, for Summit 2024: The Movement to Reframe Aging, the first event of its kind. In developing the program, the National Center and the Gerontological Society of America collaborated with two former U.S. assistant secretaries for aging to further the Center’s long-term social change endeavor to improve the public’s understanding of aging and the essential role that older people play in contributing to families, communities, and society.

“Reframing aging is a conversation about language and so much more. The way we speak about aging is related to the way we feel about aging, from the individual experience to the societal phenomenon,” said Kathy Greenlee, JD, who served as assistant secretary for aging from 2009 to 2016. “All too often, we characterize aging as something that happens to others. We need a new frame to admit to ourselves this is about us. Me. You. Everyone.”

Through a series of moderated panel discussions, summit participants collaborated on raising awareness of the impact of ageism and why we all need to change the conversation on aging. The expert presenters showcased real world applications of the principles to reframe aging, which are transforming communication strategies and leading to policy successes.  

Many of the speakers cultivated an appreciation for the importance of language in understanding the intersection of ageism with other points of our identities.  

“This is an incredibly exciting and timely conversation that is candidly overdue. We owe it to ourselves and the generations that follow,” said Lance Robertson, MPA, who served as assistant secretary for aging from 2017 to 2021.

Topics addressed at the summit included the widespread impact of ageism; how age-inclusive initiatives inspire change; models for reshaping discourse on aging at the local, state, and federal level, and ageism’s political footprint.

“This was the largest gathering of experts ever assembled for the purpose of eliminating implicit bias toward older people and influencing policies and programs that benefit all of us as we age,” said Patricia M. D’Antonio, BSPharm, MS, MBA, BCGP, the executive director of the National Center and vice president of policy and professional affairs of the Gerontological Society of America. “Collectively, we have developed new insights to accelerate progress on our long-term efforts.”


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 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure includes a nonpartisan public policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and GSA is also home to the National Center to Reframe Aging and the National Coordinating Center for the Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research.

The National Center to Reframe Aging is dedicated to ending ageism by advancing an equitable and complete story about aging in America. The center is the trusted source for proven communication strategies and tools to effectively frame aging issues. It is the nation’s leading organization cultivating an active community of individuals and organizations to spread awareness of implicit bias toward older people and influence policies and programs that benefit us all as we age. Led by the Gerontological Society of America, the National Center acts on behalf of and amplifies efforts of the ten Leaders of Aging Organizations. Support for the National Center comes from Archstone Foundation, The John A. Hartford Foundation, RRF Foundation for Aging, and The SCAN Foundation.

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