The White House Conference on Aging offers a special, once-a-decade opportunity to focus national attention on issues that the John A. Hartford Foundation has been working on every day for more than three decades. So I am honored and excited to be among those invited to attend this year’s gathering on July 13 with President Obama, national leaders, colleagues in the field, and people participating virtually across the country who will all join in a national conversation about our aging nation.
At the John A. Hartford Foundation, our focus is on better care for older Americans. We believe that improving the quality of care and the way it is delivered will result in better health for older adults and lower health care costs for the nation as a whole. “Healthy Aging,” one of four policy briefs drafted for the conference, addresses issues that are integral to the Foundation’s current grantmaking strategies, including managing chronic conditions, and prevention and treatment for diseases and behavioral health conditions.
I fervently hope that the national dialogue sparked by the conference will lead to more widespread recognition of the critical role to be played by health professionals with specific expertise in aging, and will support efforts to develop, test, and widely spread evidence-based models of care for older adults that achieve better health outcomes at lower costs.
The John A. Hartford Foundation was one of just four new awardees chosen in 2012 to serve as an intermediary between SIF and subgrantees implementing innovative care models. As a result, a $3 million federal grant has been matched by $3 million from the John A. Hartford Foundation, with additional matching grants from the subgrantees, to spread the IMPACT/Collaborative Care model in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho.
Surrounded by five distinct mountain ranges, Missoula, Montana has been dubbed the Garden City, attracting vacationers and newcomers lured by its natural beauty. It also is considered a hub for services for the surrounding rural and frontier counties.
From left, Terry Fulmer, James D. Farley, and Mathey Mezey at the opening of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nusing at NYU in 1997.
All of us at the John A. Hartford Foundation feel a profound sense of loss at the passing of one of the guiding lights of our mission to improve the health of older Americans: James D. Farley, Chair Emeritus of the Board of Trustees.
Jim Farley, who died peacefully at home in Hobe Sound, Florida, on June 17, served as a Trustee for 25 years, from 1977-2002, and was Chair for his last 13 years on the board. He was an astute and principled leader, a man of integrity and the highest standards who was always willing to speak his mind.
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.
It was the first board meeting under the direction of our new President, Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, and it was the last board meeting for our long-time board chair, Norman H. Volk, who is succeeded by Margaret Wolff. Demonstrating the John A. Hartford Foundation’s commitment to our current strategies to create widespread and systemic practice change in health care, the Trustees approved $10.3 million in six new grants to improve the health of older adults, our largest authorization in many years.
The new grants add muscle to four of our five funding areas comprising the Foundation’s current strategic plan. And our fifth strategy, Interprofessional Leadership in Action, is certainly validated by these projects, most of which are the culmination of several years—sometimes decades—of work by leaders in the field of aging and health who we have helped develop and support.
Margaret L. Wolff is the new chair of the John A. Hartford Foundation Board of Trustees.
Moving from strength to strength.
That is how I recently described the John A. Hartford Foundation’s shift in strategic direction from building academic capacity over the past three decades to its current focus on more directly influencing large-scale practice and policy change that improves the health of older adults and their families.
Editor’s Note: The Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) is one of eight primary care community clinics receiving funding through the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF) initiative to spread the IMPACT program, also known as Collaborative Care, in the rural Pacific Northwest.
The John A. Hartford Foundation was one of just four new awardees chosen in 2012 to serve as an intermediary between SIF and subgrantees implementing innovative care models. As a result, $3 million in federal grants have been matched by $3 million in money from the John A. Hartford Foundation, with additional matching grants from the subgrantees, to spread the IMPACT/Collaborative Care model in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho.
Rachael Watman, bottom right, and her high school Latin Club.
I was a member of the Latin Club in high school. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I became the Treasurer. We were not as big as the Spanish Club or as organized as the German Club, but we had dedicated members.
We understood the value of our organization and the benefits that came with membership: the sharing of expertise (read: accessible help with Latin homework), a cohort of like-minded students with an interest in a shared topic (read: a group of kids who liked Latin and stood stronger together), and a unified platform to advance our mission (read: the successful collective lobbying of our school administration to use the cafeteria for our annual “Chariot Races”—a wildly dangerous sport with Radio Flyer wagons).
Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, started as the John A. Hartford Foundation’s new President this week.
As I begin an exciting new chapter of a career deeply embedded in geriatrics, I am thrilled by the opportunity to serve as the new President of the John A. Hartford Foundation and bring all of my experience, expertise, and energy to the challenging task of creating transformative change in the way health care is delivered to older Americans.
Many of you already know me, but for those of you who don’t, let me briefly introduce myself: Most recently, I was University Distinguished Professor and Dean of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. Before that, I was the Erline Perkins McGriff Professor of Nursing and founding Dean of the New York University (NYU) College of Nursing. For 15 years, I also served as co-director of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at NYU, and have held faculty appointments at Boston College, Columbia University, Yale University and the Harvard Division on Aging. I also am an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, and have held leadership positions at the American Geriatrics Society and the Gerontological Society of America, among others. My passion for improving the care of older adults has been central in all of these roles.
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.