The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has been one of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s key grantee partners for more than 20 years. The organization is now the home of the John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Initiative, which is helping interprofessional alumni of our programs work together in exciting new ways to make practice and policy changes that improve the care of older adults.
As a Fellow of the society who had the privilege of serving as president of the organization’s board, I know first-hand how important GSA is to the entire field of aging. The GSA annual scientific meeting has always been a highlight for me, and that’s especially true this year, as it’s my first time attending as President of the John A. Hartford Foundation. As always, I am thrilled to learn about the latest aging science across the spectrum of academic disciplines. And at this year’s conference in Orlando, I also get to engage with grantees to learn more about their work, and with leaders in the field to discuss the Foundation’s important efforts, which have often supported many of these individuals.
As it does every year, the GSA awards program features many of these Foundation-supported leaders among those being honored. We congratulate the following awardees and look forward to continuing to work with them and others to advance better care for our aging population:
Each year, the program staff of the John A. Hartford Foundation attend a three-day meeting with foundations known as Grantmakers In Aging (GIA), an affinity group representing local, regional and national funders that share our interest in improving the lives of older adults.
Some funders, like the John A. Hartford Foundation, are focused on improving the health of older adults. Others focus on a diverse range of interests, including the provision of direct services, arts and aging, economic security, age-friendly communities, and workforce.
There are two main reasons why the GIA annual conferenceis one of the most important events of the year for me and my colleagues at the John A. Hartford Foundation:
Photo by James Gathany, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
All of us at the John A. Hartford Foundation have a deep appreciation and respect for the work that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do to safeguard the health of our nation and promote healthy aging.
So when I received an invitation from John Auerbach, the CDC’s associate director for policy, to come to Atlanta for a day of discussion about possible opportunities for the John A. Hartford Foundation and the CDC to collaborate on efforts to improve the care of older adults, I enthusiastically said yes.
From right, JAHF’s Amy Berman and Terry Fulmer, Jon Broyles of C-TAC, and Bud Hammes of Respecting Choices engage in the convening.
Imagine Shirley, an 84-year-old woman with end stage renal failure. Her clinician has proposed continuing a daily dialysis treatment that will extend her life, but that is exhausting and uncomfortable. Overwhelmed by her condition, Shirley has little ability to articulate that she may want something different from her care, and her family is similarly unprepared to help her seek out or weigh any available alternatives—for example, medication and homecare.
What would it take to ensure that Shirley and the millions like her at the end of their lives each year receive the high-quality care that meets their unique needs? To help answer this question, the John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF) recently convened a meeting at its offices in New York City focused on “End of Life and Serious Illness,” gathering leading innovators in the field and funders with deep interest in this area.
Most of our John A. Hartford Foundation staff have come to the banks of the Potomac River in National Harbor, MD, this week for the annual scientific meeting of long-time grantee and partner, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). It’s always a great opportunity to catch up with valued friends and colleagues, learn about the latest advances in aging and health research, and celebrate those who have made important contributions to the field.
This year is no exception. In fact, it is gratifying to see how many of those being honored by AGS this week have been part of the Hartford Foundation community, through grants, scholarships, fellowships, and partnerships.
For two decades, the John A. Hartford Foundation has invested in the development and spread of the Hospital at Home model of care, which provides safe, high-quality, hospital-level care to older adults with select conditions in the comfort of their own home.
Over those years, studies have consistently shown that the model delivers improved care and outcomes at lower costs. But adoption has been limited, leading us to conclude that Hospital at Home was ahead of its time.
The organization served first as the home of the Geriatric Social Work Initiative (GSWI), then as the coordinating center for the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE) , and most recently, as the basecamp of the Hartford Change AGEnts Initiative.
So the GSA annual meeting, being held this week in Washington, DC, is a tremendous opportunity to connect with long-standing friends and meet new ones in the field of aging, as well as to check in on long-ago grants and plan new ones.
Funders share information on investments in palliative care at the recent convening spearheaded by the Hartford Foundation.
Palliative care is an essential component of care for the seriously ill. Yet, the term is often misunderstood by policymakers, the public, health care providers, and, no surprise, even those in philanthropy.
The John A. Hartford Foundation has been a longtime supporter of the spread of high-quality palliative care through its funding of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), led by Diane Meier, MD (see Celebrating CAPC and Our 500th Blog Post!). Dr. Meier often refers to palliative care as an “extra layer of support” for the seriously ill and their families.
From left: Rebecca Brune, VP of Strategic Planning and Growth, Methodist Healthcare Ministries of San Antonio; Regina Bonnevie, MD, Medical Director, Peninsula Community Health Services in Port Orchard, WA; Peggy Cary, Senior VP of Finance & Internal Audit, Methodist Healthcare Ministries; and Diane Powers, Associate Director, Division of Integrated Care and Public Health, University of Washington AIMS Center, Seattle WA, talk following presentations at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC.
Last week, the Social Innovation Fund of the Corporation for National and Community Service celebrated its 5th Birthday. There was cake.
More importantly, there was a celebration of the good that philanthropy can do to address the pressing problems facing the country. The goal of the Social Innovation Fund is to bring federal and private money together to scale up the best, evidence-based innovations to address problems of education, poverty, and health.