Health AGEnda

Amy Berman

About Amy Berman

Amy J. Berman, BS, RN, is a Senior Program Officer at the Hartford Foundation, with primary oversight of the Developing and Disseminating Models of Care portfolio.

The Direct Care Workforce: Fundamental to the Health of Communities

Steven Dawson of PHI addresses the briefing on direct care workers held recently by Philanthropy New York.

Steven Dawson of PHI addresses the briefing on direct care workers held recently by Philanthropy New York.

The health of any given community is fragile and complex. It is greater than the sum of individual health outcomes or access to care. The health of a community rests upon an infrastructure that meets the changing demands and needs of its people within constrained resources. Increasingly, our infrastructure needs to address employment, economic stability, and rising health care costs.

This is especially true given the sea change occurring, with 10,000 people turning age 65 each day in the United States. The maturing of the boomers is fundamentally shifting our view of what a healthy community looks like.

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Practice Change Leaders Improve Care for Older Adults

PCL_Color_Logo_250Change is hard. It takes leadership to drive change. Robert Jarvik—a former John A. Hartford Foundation grantee and inventor of the artificial heart—once said, “Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.”

Today’s successful leaders need that same vision, but they also require a set of skills that go far beyond their clinical training and experience. They need strategies to address policy and payment methodology. They need to engage stakeholders. And they need to measure what matters in terms of cost and quality.

In order to develop this new kind of leadership, people capable of driving health care redesign for vulnerable elders, the Hartford Foundation funds—in partnership with The Atlantic Philanthropies—the Practice Change Leaders Program.

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Breast Cancer: Are We Making Strides?

Amy Berman, left, and her daughter Stephanie at the American Cancer Society's Making Strides event in New York's Central Park.

Amy Berman, left, and her daughter Stephanie at the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides event in New York’s Central Park.

Maggie Mahar is an influential blogger on topics from health care reform to the economy. Maggie and I agree that we are not making sufficient strides in the war on breast cancer. We disagree that I chose life over longevity. I chose life and longevity.

In honor of breast cancer awareness month, Maggie has allowed us to repost a blog she featured in HealthBeat on Oct. 11th. I am grateful that she uses her potent prose to draw attention to the needs of older adults. Cancer is, after all, primarily a disease of aging. Two-thirds of those living with cancer are age 65 or older.

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What the Heck Are Hartford’s New Funding Areas? Part Three: Models of Care

Jürgen Unützer, MD, brings the IMPACT model of depression care to Casper, Wy.

Jürgen Unützer, MD, brings the IMPACT model of depression care to Casper, Wy.

Given the John A. Hartford Foundation’s  focus on improving the health of older Americans, it should come as no surprise that the Foundation has looked for opportunities to create a more comprehensive, coordinated and continuous health care delivery system.

Since the 1990s, we’ve done this by investing in the development, testing, and spread of effective and affordable Models of Care to address barriers to the provision of high-quality, cost-effective care for elders.

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ACES Faces and Cases Spread to New Places

This year’s ACES faculty sessions were strictly standing room only.

New nurses need to be competent in the care they provide to older adults. Yet nursing faculty may lack geriatric preparation and may not be comfortable teaching the content.

ACES—or Advancing Care Excellence for Seniors—is a national program led by the National League for Nursing and Community College of Philadelphia aimed at addressing this important issue.

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Stunning New IOM Report Reframes How We View Cancer

IOM_Report250The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is swinging for the fences with the release of a new report, Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis.

The report makes recommendations in six areas critical to the delivery of quality cancer care:

  1. Engaged patients
  2. An adequately staffed, trained, and coordinated workforce
  3. Evidence-based care
  4. Learning health care information technology (IT)
  5. Translation of evidence into clinical practice, quality measurement, and performance improvement
  6. Accessible and affordable care.

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The Top Aging and Health Twitter Feeds I Follow—and Why You Should Too

Amy Berman, right, with surgeon, author, and “Twitter rock star” Atul Gawande.

I tweet therefore I am. That is quite an overstatement. But it’s true that my life has been greatly enriched by Twitter. I continually learn and grow through engagement with an incredibly robust network of people found in the Twittersphere.

I have blogged about Twitter on HealthAGEnda before. It is the fastest growing form of social media—launched just seven years ago—and now has more than 500 million users. Sharing 140-character “byte-sized” messages is just enough to make a point, share a link, and be engaged.

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Expecting Great Beginnings—and Endings

Amy Berman's daughter, Stephanie, with her greatgrandparents, Herb and Julia.

Amy Berman’s daughter, Stephanie, with her greatgrandparents, Herb and Julia.

It tickles me to report that I live with incurable cancer and I am expecting. I am expecting that the cancer will take its toll, that I will need to make choices about my health and care, that I will need the support of my family, and that I will need resources.

Imagine if everyone understood that they are expecting. We should all plan for great beginnings and endings.

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What If Health Care Has It All Wrong?

BermanHCLDR_400On June 4, I was fortunate enough to be the special guest on a record-breaking Health Care Leadership Twitter Chat (#HCLDR ) that reached more than 2 million people on Twitter and was the number one trending topic in the twittersphere.

As the guest, I was charged with designing the chat, choosing the topic and questions, and contributing a blog to be referenced on the Health Care Leadership homepage. What was the topic that had the social media hive buzzing? We explored the issues surrounding person-centered care and patient activation, and talked about the role of people supporting their health within the context of health care delivery.

BermanTweet1_350So many of us spend our lives dedicated to improving health care. As a senior program officer working for The John A. Hartford Foundation in NYC, I peruse endless data quantifying the problems, poor quality care, and needless harm to our nation’s frail and vulnerable older adults. For example, 20 percent of our nations’ older adults return to the hospital within 30 days after being discharged. The cost for this debacle is estimated at more than $17 billion dollars per year in avoidable readmissions. If this were a car dealership—and the rate of repaired cars returning needlessly to the shop—they would go out of business.

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TEDMED: Community Worth Spreading

Amy Berman, left, with geriatrician and social media maven Wen Dombrowski at TedMed 2013.

Amy Berman, left, with geriatrician and social media maven Wen Dombrowski at TEDMED 2013.

Earlier this month, I attended my very first TEDMED in Washington, D.C. I had butterflies in my stomach because I was asked to provide opening remarks on the final day of TEDMED, at a convening on The Great Challenges of Health Care.

As a person living with serious illness, I was charged with speaking from the heart and grounding a discussion about the Role of the Patient. And as a professional who works on one of the biggest challenges health care faces—how to best care for a rapidly growing older adult population—excitement didn’t come close to describing how I felt. Thrilled? Terrified? Much closer.

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