Jessie Gruman, founding president of the Center for Advancing Health, died on July 14 after a fifth bout with cancer. Jessie was a hero to patients, families, and health care providers for her selfless work to help people better understand their role and responsibilities in supporting their own health.
The nation’s four million home health aides, certified nurse aides, and personal care attendants are a lifeline for many older adults and people with disabilities. Our grantee, PHI, is the nation’s leading authority on the direct-care workforce, and they promote quality direct-care jobs as the foundation for quality care for elders and people with disabilities.
With our new grant, PHI is embarking on a campaign to rapidly scale up their work and double their “mission impact” to transform eldercare and disability services. In partnership with our long-time communications partners at SCP, they have developed what we think is an excellent example of an effective communications tool.
PHI’s new campaign brochure uses beautiful photography, plain but compelling language, and incorporates the voices of direct-care workers, the people they serve, and other stakeholders to tell their story.
From left, Cherie Brunker, Meg Wallhagen, Rosanne Leipzig, and Aanand Naik put their pieces of the puzzle together to complete the picture at the recent Change AGEnts event at the AGS annual meeting.
For the thousands of researchers and clinicians who have been a part of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s programs during the past three decades, we are pleased to invite you to put your geriatrics expertise to work by becoming an active Hartford Change AGEnt.
You can now enroll in the online Change AGEnts Community, where you can find other Change AGEnts and work together to make our health care system better for older adults and their families.
Dr. Julie Bynum moderates the Health Affairs briefing on the special issue on Alzheimer’s disease.
We all have Alzheimer’s disease.
This is a key message I took away from the April special Alzheimer’s issue of Health Affairs, the country’s leading health policy journal. One of the contributing authors, Jason Karlawish, makes this point writing about the ethical challenges inherent in caring for patients losing their cognitive abilities and autonomy. Inevitably, the disease belongs to caregivers and other people in that patient’s life.
Adult children and spouses are the primary caregivers of our nation’s older adults. They provide critically important assistance that helps frail elders remain at home, from meal preparation to such complex medical/nursing tasks as medication management, wound care, and care coordination.
Many of our grantees have heard about two new and exciting opportunities now available to Hartford Change AGEnts. In case you missed prior announcements, here are the details about the Hartford Change AGEnts Policy Institute and the Hartford Interdisciplinary Communications Conference, both taking place this summer.
Anyone who has ever been connected in any way to a Hartford-funded project (as a scholar, grantee, mentor, advisor, etc.) can be a Change AGEnt and is eligible to apply. And please help us spread the word by sharing these opportunities with anyone connected to Hartford who you think could benefit from them.
Hartford Change AGEnts Policy Institute June 22-24, Washington, DC Application due: April 25, 2014
If our work at the John A. Hartford Foundation has taught us one thing, it’s this: In the quest to transform primary care for older adults, a huge part of the answer is deploying more geriatrically expert primary care teams that can coordinate and deliver care designed around the patient’s needs. You could call this the low-hanging fruit of health care reform, because, if there is a population in which we have the biggest opportunity to see improvements in both cost and quality of care outcomes, it is older Americans.
The debate on how best to deliver effective primary care has gone on a long time, sometimes frustratingly so, but it has almost never included a crucial constituency: older adults. Today we are pleased to help change that.
We believe that listening to older adults is essential if we are ever going to transform our primary care system so it can and does deliver well-coordinated, comprehensive, accessible care centered on their needs and goals. This belief has already led the Hartford Foundation to conduct two previous public opinion polls, focused exclusively on adults 65 and older, examining serious gaps in geriatric primary care and mental health care.
Marcus Escobedo, left, talks with AHCJ Executive Director Len Bruzzese at this year’s conference in Denver.
Growing up, my parents would get up every morning, pour their coffee, and read the nearest “big city” newspaper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. In the evening, they’d watch the local TV news, followed by Dan Rather or one of the other network anchors.
The way I get my news today is a bit different, to say the least. I’m reading The New York Times on my phone, browsing through blogs, and paying attention to RSS feeds throughout the day. What hasn’t changed is our need for quality journalism that we can trust to inform and educate us about what’s going on in the world.
We know that to some people, foundations simply seem like large ATM machines. If you have the right card and the right code, then voila, the money for a project or organization is dispensed and you’re done. But we, and many of our funder colleagues, strive to be more than this. We hope that we can add value to the work of grantees, supporting them in ways that go beyond the grant check.
I was invited to write an essay for the annual meeting of Grantmakers in Health, a membership organization for foundations like ours working to improve health and health care. The theme was “The Power of Voice,” and we were asked to share how we use the Foundation’s position and influence to advance our mission and how we amplify the voices of our grantees and stakeholders (for us, older adults). We wanted to share this essay about the Foundation’s communications and “noise-making” efforts and you can read other health foundations’ perspectives here.
We hope this provides some insight into our thinking and motivation for you to join us in raising your voice for better health of older adults.
When I was first hired at the John A. Hartford Foundation, I gave one of the then-Senior Program Officers a giant cup filled with new red pens. It seemed to me at the time that the program staff spent a lot of time editing (aka “making stronger”) all sorts of documents—evaluations, grant proposals, drafts of annual reports, etc.
At the Hartford Foundation we strive to be thought partners with our grantees and, thus, like to share feedback. We share loads of feedback among our staff. In fact, we have been trained on how to receive feedback: Simply nod, say “Thank you,” reflect on the input, and incorporate what is helpful.
Now, for the benefit of the Hartford Change AGEnts initiative, we are seeking your feedback. Here is your virtual cup of red pens. We are in the process of creating documents that define the AGEnts Initiative and we need you.