Health AGEnda

Hartford Grantees Recognized at GSA

2014_GSA_Meeting_Logo_300pFor almost 20 years, the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has been one of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s key grantee partners.

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.

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Congrats to Our Award-Winning Grantees at GSA

gsa-logoGreetings from New Orleans and the 2013 Gerontological Society of America (GSA) meeting. As usual, many John A. Hartford Foundation staff are at the meeting to learn from the experts in the field, to work with our grantees, and to answer questions from anyone interested in improving the care of older adults.

We are particularly excited about the launch of our new Change AGEnts program. Anyone ever associated with a Hartford-funded project is invited to join us at the Change AGEnts Initiative launch event on Friday, Nov. 22, from 6:30-8p.m. (Sheraton Hotel, Grand Ballroom C). Visit our Change AGEnts page to RSVP and learn more!

Of course, we are also very proud of the accomplishments of our current grantees and friends. I’d like to recognize several who are being honored here this week.

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Beyond the Boardroom: Interview with Dr. Amy S. Kelley

Dr. Amy S. Kelley

Dr. Amy S. Kelley

In recent weeks on Health AGEnda, we have presented our five new program strategies: Leadership in Action, Linking Education to Practice, Developing and Disseminating Models of Care, Tools and Measures for Quality Care, and—last but not least—Public Policy and Communications. Paired with each strategy description, we have also presented an interview with a John A. Hartford Foundation grantee who is already doing the work, showing the potential value of the strategy.

If our shift in strategy moves our focus from “upstream” academic capacity building to a “downstream” emphasis on the determinants of practice, these vanguard leaders are shooting the rapids and teaching us what can be done with geriatric expertise.

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Remembering Dr. David Solomon: Geriatrics Pioneer, Educator, Researcher, and Leader


David Solomon, MD, was a pioneer of geriatric medicine.

Last week, the world lost one of the giants of American medicine and a founder of modern geriatrics, Dr. David Solomon, who passed away on July 9 at the age of 90.

“Lost,” however, is not really the right word. While I never had the honor of meeting Dr. Solomon, I can say with certainty that his legacy lives on through the people he mentored, the field he helped build, and the vision of care for older adults that continues to guide much of what we and our grantees do.

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A Better Way Forward for Dementia Care


Chris Callahan, MD

At the American Geriatrics Society meeting a few weeks ago, I—along with most of the attendees—was spellbound by Dr. Diane Meier‘s Henderson Award lecture  on the issues confronting geriatrics and palliative care and our profound failure to deliver useful care to those with incurable serious illnesses.

One of the pieces of evidence for her arguments that I had somehow missed was a paper by Beeson Scholar alumnus Dr. Chris Callahan and colleagues at Indiana University entitled, “Transitions in Care for Older Adults with and without Dementia.”

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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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Running with the Geriatricians

TS_91719502_RunDoc300This past weekend I sat with some of the top leaders in geriatrics and heard them rail against usual care for older adults by specialists and non-geriatrically trained generalists. They complained bitterly about oncologists who wildly overtreat the frail and yet undertreat the vigorous, cardiac procedures done without patient benefit, and silo mentalities that predictably put complexly ill people on trajectories of misadventure, hospital readmission, and decline.

However, in public, I know that most professionals will not break the white-coat wall of silence and denounce their colleagues for inappropriate care. And so, the fact that non-geriatrically informed care doesn’t have to be our usual care escapes most people. Unless you’ve been very lucky and seen someone receive geriatrically skilled, compassionate, and patient-centered care, you don’t know what you’re missing. And it is very hard to create demand for things that no one knows.

As I thought about this problem, I realized that I had also heard many of those same railing voices talk about how to deliver good care to older adults—not in a conference room or a big meeting, but all by myself while running on the treadmill at my local Y. Not an hypoxia-induced hallucination, but really real.

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Dr. Seuss knew what ails health care system—and so do our Hartford Grantees

OnlyOldOnce200March 2nd marked what would have been Dr. Seuss’ 109th birthday (Theodor Seuss Geisel, Born: 1904, Died: 1991). I have always been a big Seuss fan, but even more so after my 7-year-old son recently checked out Dr. Seuss’ You’re Only Old Once! A Book for Obsolete Children from his school library. (“Because you like old people, Mom.”)

It is a fantastic patient-centered read and a hilariously sad reflection of our health care system.

“This small white pill is what I munch
At breakfast and right after lunch.
I take the pill that’s Kelly green
Before each meal and in between.

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