Since launching our Hartford Change AGEnts initiative late last year, we’ve taken the first steps toward our goal of accelerating sustained practice change that improves the health of older Americans, their families, and communities.
Change AGEnts are connecting through our online community and the first two Change AGEnts Networks—focused on patient-centered medical homes and dementia caregiving—are already hard at work. We’ve funded nine Change AGEnts Action Awards and are currently accepting applications for our second cohort, and we’ve awarded collaborative pilot grants in partnership with the Change AGEnts program for our Centers of Excellence Scholars and for Beeson Scholars.
The initiative’s leadership team and our partners at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) are working hard to support the Change AGEnts community and are ready and willing to help people engage. Since we get lots of questions about how people can get involved, we thought that addressing them in a Q&A would be helpful and highlight some immediate opportunities.
Ever since I began working as a program officer at the John A. Hartford Foundation, I’ve tried to do my best to put myself in the shoes of the health professionals with whom we’ve worked and whose education and training historically has been one of our main concerns.
I’ve often found memoirs and other lightly fictionalized accounts to be the best way to get into the culture and daily experience of these health professionals. I’ve read Samuel Shem’s The House of God, countless memoirs of nurses and physicians, and even a very affecting memoir of a nurse’s aide in a nursing home.
One of the tricks of such reading is that we experience what our imagination and the author’s words together conjure in a special state of willing suspension of disbelief. Psychological research suggests that this process of imagination and purposeful lowering of critical skepticism is, in fact, what makes fiction so persuasive and engenders the feeling that novelists understand a truth about human character that other ways of knowing can’t match.
While many of our legacy grant programs continue to support the development of leaders in the field of aging and health research and education (see this week’s earlier Health AGEnda post about our latest Hartford/VA social work research scholars), new and growing investments under the John A. Hartford Foundation’s current strategic plan are also nurturing leaders in aging and health practice and policy change.
As part of our Leadership in Action funding portfolio, we recently approved a $1.6 million grant to co-fund the Health and Aging Policy Fellows program, in partnership with The Atlantic Philanthropies. The program, which offers fellows the experience and skills necessary to make a positive contribution to the development and implementation of health policies that affect older Americans, has just announced its 2014-15 class and we welcome them to the Hartford family and our community of Change AGEnts.
With representatives from many of our legacy strategy programs, including the Archbold Pre-Doctoral Nursing Scholars, the Social Work Doctoral Fellows and the Jahnigen Scholars in surgical and related medical specialties, we are assured that many of our academic program alumni are right there with us in the shift to our current portfolio of strategies focused on taking geriatrics expertise and evidence and making real and lasting improvements in health care delivery for our aging population.
Diane E. Meier, MD
Editor’s Note: For almost eight years, the John A. Hartford Foundation has partnered with Diane Meier, MD, to increase awareness of palliative care and make it more widely accessible.
In March, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees renewed our support for the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) led by Dr. Meier to enable CAPC to transition to a more financially sustaining, revenue-generating model and develop a package of products to implement palliative care services in community-based clinics, nursing homes, and home care. We are pleased to share this excellent interview with Dr. Meier that first appeared on Kaiser Health News discussing a new pilot program that allows hospice patients to continue to receive life-prolonging treatment.
From left, featured experts Peggy O’Kane, Robert Berenson, and Caroline Blaum listen intently.
Like so many stakeholders in health care, we at the John A. Hartford Foundation have many of our hopes pinned on enhanced primary care as a way of improving health outcomes, particularly for older Americans who face multiple chronic conditions.
Primary care providers will need more skills, more teammates, community partners, and, of course, more money, to live up to these hopes. But we believe that better primary care can prevent some of the acute and expensive events such as hospitalizations that they experience, and thereby also lower total costs of health care.
This is the last in a three-part Health AGEnda series on the Hartford Foundation’s 2013 Annual Report: Spreading Innovation Through Collaboration.
Collaboration is everything—creating meaningful and measurable change rarely, if ever, happens in a vacuum.
Here at the John A. Hartford Foundation, we recognize the importance of forging longstanding relationships. Identifying, nurturing, and sustaining productive partnerships have been a critical element of Hartford’s success.
The latest cohort of fellows in Sigma Theta Tau International’s Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy pose for a group photo with their leadership mentors, faculty, and representatives of Sigma Theta Tau and the Hartford Foundation.
I recently traveled to Indianapolis, home to Sigma Theta Tau International, the honor society of nursing. There I met six very special individuals, competitively selected as fellows in Sigma’s Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy.
The Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy aims to prepare and position geriatric-expert nurses as leaders within the interprofessional health care delivery environment. The fellows I had the honor of meeting expressed an unwavering commitment to developing their influence and impact in hospitals, nursing homes, and home health to benefit vulnerable elders.
I shake a lot of hands. In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt set a world record for heads of state by shaking 8,513 hands in a single day at a White House reception. While the program staff of the John A. Hartford Foundation have yet to come close, we certainly recognize the value of the handshake and its role in promoting partnerships.
Partnership is the focus of our 2013 annual report Spreading Innovation Through Collaboration. According to our Executive Director, Cory Rieder: “Partnering defines our work and is a major strategy of the Foundation. We do more to improve the health of older adults by actively seeking out and working with partners who share our mission. None of us can do it alone.”
Since 2000, Hartford has made grants totaling over $398 million to improve the health of our aging society. Capitalizing on the handshake, we have partnered with 104 government agencies, foundations, and other institutions generating a total of $1.97 billion in related funding in health and aging. Hand in hand with our partners, 74 percent of Hartford projects have external co-funders and over the past 13 years, $4.95 has been leveraged for every dollar of Hartford funding.
Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy Fourth of July from Health AGEnda and the John A. Hartford Foundation.
Recently, I had the privilege of discussing issues important to the John A. Hartford Foundation on The Ohio State University’s podcast, Viewpoints of Innovative Health Care Leaders.
It was a great opportunity to talk about the key trends we see in health care today, what still needs to be done, the impact of the Affordable Care Act on aging, and how the Hartford Foundation is seeking to address these issues. The biweekly podcast provides a forum for leaders in the field to share the best evidence-based practices and emerging thoughts in health care.
It is hosted by Bernadette M. Melnyk, PhD, RN, associate vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer, and dean of The Ohio State University College of Nursing. I’d like to thank Bernadette, who was dean of the Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation when it became a Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence, for inviting me on the program. You can listen to the podcast by visiting Viewpoints of Innovative Health Care Leaders. The full interview is about 15 minutes, and is divided into five sections by topic.