CEO Blog

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
January 26, 2018

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.

Read more: Hats Off to the NIA Leadership and Staff

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.

Read more: Listening Session Kicks Off 2018 Healthy Aging Summit Planning

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
November 10, 2017

As we age, we gain momentum in our professional lives — becoming better and more efficient at what we do. Knowing who to call and when to ask for help means we can get results faster. Simply put, we learn to focus on “what works” to drive our success whether in research, clinical practice or education.

GSA has adopted that mantra to focus on improving adult immunization rates, which was on full display November 7 at the GSA-sponsored Capitol Hill briefing, ”Adult Immunization: Successful Programs Leading the Way to Higher Rates.” In a room filled with representatives from stakeholder organizations, policy-makers, and congressional staff, three immunization champions showcased how they are taking charge inside their organizations to dramatically improve immunization rates across the life-course.

Read more: Focusing on “What Works” Improves Immunization Rates

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
October 26, 2017

The pursuit of a treatment and cure for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias is a top priority for researchers in the U.S. As a society, we have overcome other major challenges by creatively applying our resources in a sustained manner, and we’ll do so in this case thanks to our collective ingenuity.

This same passion for innovation was on display last week at the landmark National Research Summit on Care, Services and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers. The research and practice insights presented show that we are up to the challenge of ensuring the millions of individuals living with dementia and their caregivers receive the care, services and supports needed to navigate this disease.

Read more: Landmark Research Summit Breaks New Ground

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
October 12, 2017

It’s almost time for National Family Caregivers Month in November, and GSA is already getting a head start on some major activities in this arena.

On October 16 and 17, we’re helping to support the National Research Summit on Care, Services, and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers, which is being held at the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health. The event is being sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and several private sector organizations, and I’m proud to say that GSA Fellows Katie Maslow and Laura Gitlin are serving as co-chairs. (And let’s congratulate Laura on being recently being named chair of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act’s Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services!)

 

Read more: GSA Takes on Key Role in Advancing Nation’s Caregiving

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
October 5, 2017

The final numbers for the IAGG 2017 World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics are in, and they are impressive. GSA welcomed more than 6,000 participants to San Francisco, hailing from 80 countries. Serving as the host society for the World Congress provided a wonderful opportunity for GSA to further solidify its role as a connector, convener, and collaborator across the broad spectrum of stakeholders in the aging arena — on a national and international stage.

GSA has never been stronger and we are taking steps to ensure we remain vital in a dynamic environment. The next major milestone the Society will be building toward is our 75th anniversary in 2020. As we look to the future, GSA will continue to explore new ways to enhance the benefits we provide to all members, and evaluate opportunities for strengthening the Society for the next 75 years.

Read more: Governance Review Workgroup Helping to Shape GSA's Future

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
October 3, 2017

While it won’t bring immediate aid or comfort to the millions of Americans impacted by Hurricane Maria, the Senate Special Committee on Aging is aware of the need to improve policies to help older adults in times of disaster.

On September 20 — the day that Hurricane Maria, a powerful Category 4 hurricane, made landfall in Puerto Rico — the committee convened a hearing to learn from experts about the options available for helping older adults cope in times of natural disasters.

Read more: To Help Older Adults in Times of Disaster, New Policies Are Needed

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
September 15, 2017

The widespread destruction caused by Hurricane Irma, following closely on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, again reminds us of the necessity of planning for natural disasters. The extraordinary planning and evacuation efforts by professionals and individuals across Florida helped to reduce the loss of life from Irma. Millions of people have been impacted, including hundreds of GSA members across the region. Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected as they begin the long process of rebuilding. (The American Red Cross continues to accept donations to help those affected.)

Read more: Unnecessary Tragedy Reminds Us of Importance of Disaster Planning

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
August 29, 2017

The horrifying images of the continuing destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey are a reminder of the power of nature and the importance of planning for natural disasters. Millions of people are being impacted, including GSA members in the region. Our thoughts are with all affected. GSA has placed a link for the American Red Cross at the top of our homepage to make it easy for you to provide support if you wish.

Read more: Supporting our Texas Neighbors, Colleagues, and Older Persons

By Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH
August 25, 2017

Think of an older adult that you know who has diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease. In the midst of managing medication, diet, exercise, and stress, it’s hard to imagine adding one more thing to the checklist required to maintain their health. But for older adults with chronic conditions, vaccines are critical.

Throughout National Immunization Awareness Month in August, we celebrate successes and highlight challenges with immunizing the U.S. population. GSA has chosen to focus on older adults with chronic conditions in particular, due to the serious complications that vaccine-preventable diseases present, including long-term illness, hospitalization, and even death.

Read more: Let’s Remind People of All Ages to Get Their Vaccinations