Health AGEnda

Valentines for the Hartford Change AGEnts (and my Dziadzia)

From left, Dziadzia, Rachael Watman, and Rachael's grandmother in 1971.

From left, Dziadzia, Rachael Watman, and Rachael’s grandmother in 1971.

My grandfather, Albert Chura, was born on Valentine’s Day in 1907, on a boat en route to the United States from Poland. His family wanted to make a better life in America. And after a lifetime of doing so, at the age of 83, he died on my birthday.

Valentine’s Day always makes me think of Dziadzia (Polish for Grandfather and oddly pronounced Judgie—“Mom, that can’t be how you spell it!”)

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What the Heck Are Hartford’s New Funding Areas? Part One: Leadership in Action

TS_imsis053-060_pencil250I think we have done a pretty good job at the John A. Hartford Foundation  of letting folks know that we have changed our strategic direction—that we are moving away from our signature, long-term faculty development investments to a more practice-driven focus to improve the health of older adults.

And I feel fairly confident that people know we are doing this because of the demographic imperative (e.g, in 2011, the first of the Baby Boomers turned 65 and 10,000 people celebrate this birthday every day) and because of the multiple federal health care opportunities now available potentially aligned with our mission.

Chris has blogged about our strategic direction and new priorities and so have others. We also have talked frequently about this while on the road.

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Grant Will Help Evidence-Based Movement Take Next Steps

graph_ebp350This month in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, there is a short editorial reporting on a national movement that has been more than 12 years in the making. In the paper, titled Self-Management at the Tipping Point: Reaching 100,000
Americans with Evidence-Based Programs, long-time National Institute on Aging leader Marcia Ory, PhD, along with luminaries such as Kate Lorig, DrPH, of Stanford, and Nancy Whitelaw, PhD, Senior Fellow at the National Council On Aging (NCOA) and past president of the Gerontological Society of America, discuss the long journey to reach the 100,000th older adult with evidence-based health promotion services.

While the most important part of this story has been the thousands of community-based agencies around the country that have adopted and offered evidence-based programs that improve the health of older Americans, there have been terrific partnerships behind the scenes among many funders, researchers, and leaders of the movement.

And I’m pleased to say that today, the John A. Hartford Foundation trustees approved a grant to help the evidence-based movement take its next steps. More on that in a minute.

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Going to College

Effective June 30, 2012, the Hartford-funded Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity (BAGNC) Initiative will be moving.

BAGNC was born and raised at the American Academy of Nursing, where it has thrived for 12 years. The evidence lies in the over 200 gero-focused pre- and post-doctoral nursing students who have taught close to 33,000 students, received over $74 million in funding, and published over 1,300 articles on the care of older adults.

The Academy’s President, Joanne Disch, positively reflects on those years. “We are certainly proud of the role that the American Academy of Nursing has played in the development of the many Scholars and Fellows who now have the knowledge and skills to impact the quality of care delivered to our nation’s elders,” she explains.

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Elder Abuse Researchers Honored at GSA


Greetings from Boston! Most of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s program staff are here in the land of “Hahvahd,” “cahs,” and “pahking,” preparing for a busy weekend at the 64th annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America. Many of our grantees will be in attendance as well, and we are pleased that several of them will be honored with awards. Today I want to highlight two of our grantees, one in medicine and one in nursing. Both have contributed greatly to the growing awareness of the prevalence of elder abuse and neglect.

On the medicine side, we have Beeson scholar (2008) XinQi Dong, MD, PhD, the recipient of the Maxwell A. Pollack Award for Productive Aging. The award is given annually to a mid-career researcher whose work bridges the divide between research and practice in the field of aging. Dr. Dong studies elder abuse and neglect in the United States and China, with a particular focus on adverse health outcomes across different racial and ethnic groups. Associate Director of the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging at Rush University Medical Center, Dr. Dong is also a 2010-11 Health and Aging Policy Fellow, allowing him the opportunity to work with policy leaders to improve public policy relevant to elder abuse and neglect.

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Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler at GSA

This year’s annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana, November 19-23. I’m flying there today for what promises to be a fascinating and intensive meeting. I have two reasons to be excited about this year’s meeting: 1) the meeting’s theme, “Transitions of Care Across the Aging Continuum,” directly addresses our serious interest in improving care transitions for older adults, particularly those managing multiple chronic conditions, and 2) I am looking forward to seeing several current and former Hartford grantees accept well-deserved awards at the meeting. I plan to blog about the highlights of the meeting next week. Here, I’d like to say a little bit about a few of the excellent researchers and clinicians who will have a chance to accept an award over the next few days:

Mathy Mezey, EdD, RN, FAAN, New York University, will accept the Donald P. Kent Award, given annually to a GSA member “who best exemplifies the highest standards for professional leadership in gerontology through teaching, service, and interpretation of gerontology to the larger society.” Mathy is a longtime friend and adviser of the Hartford Foundation, a senior leader in geriatric nursing, and former head of the Hartford Geriatric Nursing Institute, which she led from 1995-2005. Last year’s winner, Barbara Berkman, DSW/PhD, Columbia University, will give the awards lecture, entitled, “Changing Landscape in Health and Aging: Seizing the Opportunity.”

Mary E. Tinetti, MD, Yale University, will receive the Maxwell A. Pollack Award for Productive Aging, which “recognizes instances of practice informed by research and analysis, research that directly improved policy or practice, and distinction in bridging the worlds of research and practice.” The award is a direct result of her groundbreaking work on falls prevention for older adults. I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Mary, who is a Center of Excellence Director, former chair of the Beeson Award advisory committee, and an outstanding leader in the field of aging. She became a MacArthur Fellow in 2009, and is currently a health and aging policy fellow. Last year’s winner, Eric Coleman, MD, MPH, will deliver the awards lecture, entitled, “Infusing True Patient Centered Care into Improving Care Transitions.”

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