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Listening Session Kicks Off 2018 Healthy Aging Summit Planning

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
December 1, 2017

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.

After a short overview of the planning timeline, the HHS team opened the floor for input from the assembled organizational representatives by asking the question, what do policy makers need to know?

It was gratifying to hear the many topics suggested as priorities to be included in the 2018 summit — better detection of cognitive impairment, improving treatment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, supporting caregivers, increasing immunization rates, reducing social isolation, improving oral health, and addressing opioid abuse — because these are all areas GSA and its 5,500 members are actively engaged in.

As examples, check out GSA’s KAER toolkit for detecting cognitive impairment, our activities in the oral health arena and the portfolio of immunization resources assembled for our National Adult Vaccination Program to see just how active GSA is in these arenas.

More information about the 2018 Health Aging Summit, including the timeline for abstract submissions, will be available shortly when the official website launches.

This will be a valuable mechanism for shining a light on programs that address the social determinants of health for the aging U.S. population.

Stay tuned for more details!

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