American Public Health Association
800 I Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001-3710
(202) 777-APHA • Fax: (202) 777-2534 •

Aging & Public Health
Section Newsletter
Spring 2004

Chair’s Corner

Welcome to the Spring Gerontological Health Section Newsletter, and my first opportunity to greet you as Chair of the GHS. We hope you find the information in this newsletter interesting and useful.

This newsletter is one of the many benefits offered by the APHA GHS. The benefits that attracted me to APHA GHS was the balance of scholarship, policy advocacy, and practice within the section. Many organizations emphasize one of those three areas, but APHA-GHS is the clear leader in offering all three.

Our scholarship is most evident at the Annual Meetings where we can see the latest research on the spectrum of public health and aging topics. And we recognize the best of this work in our awards session as a way to promote the excellent research of our members. We are also working to increase the gerontological content of APHA publications. In particular, if you have a book prospectus that would be appropriate for APHA, please contact me.

Policy education and advocacy is a year-round process. Last year the Association was especially active, in consultation and collaboration with our section members, in the Medicare prescription drug debate. The annual meeting in Washington, D.C. will provide you ample opportunity to be active in policy issues. Stay tuned for information about opportunities to visit your Senators' and Representative's offices to inform them about important issues on public health and aging.

Improving public health practice with older populations is also an ongoing activity. Our section promotes the development of practice through sessions and preconferences at our Annual Meeting, and we highlight the best in public health practice with the Archstone Award. Through new collaborations with the American Society on Aging we hope to further develop our practice strengths.

What makes our section really outstanding is the quality of the people involved in the section. We have a professionally active membership, a dedicated leadership, and fun time when we are together! I look forward to working together in the next two years!

Preview of the 2004 Gerontological Health Section Program

First, I would like to extend a welcome to Kathy Sykes, Senior Advisor of the Enivironmenal Protection Agency's Aging Initiative, who has joined me this year as program co-chair. In 2003 and in the upcoming 2004 Gerontological Health Section (GHS) program, Kathy has co-organized a session on the environmental health of elders with Andrew Geller, Research Psychologist in the Neurotoxicology Division also at the EPA. In addition, this year Kathy has organized a symposium with other GHS leadership on the future of aging policy.

Another invited symposium that was organized by Gerry Eggert will include panelists from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and will examine Medicare after the prescription drug benefit. Gerry has also organized a scientific session on Medicare and the health of rural elders.

Past program Chair Dana Mukamel has organized a session on lessons learned from PACE.

Highlights of other sessions include:

· the social environment of older adults;
· older women and public health;
· workforce for an aging society;
· physical activity and older adults;
· health promotion and healthy aging;
· long-term care; and
· elders’ oral and vision health.

Last but not least, at this year’s awards presentations the GHS Leadership Award will be renamed in honor of the late Dr. Philip G. Weiler, one of the section’s co-founders.

In closing, I would like to thank all of the GHS members who helped with reviewing abstracts for the 2004 program and extend a special thank you to Caryn Etkin, one of the GHS student members who helped me with the abstract reviews.


Nov. 9, 2004
8:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

On Nov. 9, 2004, you are invited to walk the halls of Capitol Hill with hundreds of other public health professionals to advocate on issues important to public health.

This day will start with a rally and briefing on the status of public health issues in Congress. Our advocacy efforts on the Hill will concentrate on important public health issues.

APHA anticipates hundreds of people advocating on this day; therefore, APHA will be arranging all Hill visits. Participants will be meeting with their legislators in groups. As a group you will have time to prepare for your meeting at the briefing.

Join your Section in rallying for public health. Each section will be represented with signs at the rally. Don’t let your section go unnoticed. A registration form for the rally and Hill day will be up on APHA’s Web site soon! In the meantime, spread the word and encourage your colleagues to participate.

When you complete the registration form to advocate, you will receive a confirmation by e-mail. APHA will be sending out updates leading up to the Hill day and will notify all participants of their visit at the rally and briefing.

On Nov. 9, join us in letting Congress know that the public health community is a POWERFUL community.

For more information regarding our Hill day, please contact Susan Hughes, your Action Board Representative, at <>, or the APHA Director of Grassroots Advocacy, Lakitia Mayo by e-mail at <> or by telephone at (202) 777-2515.

NEW! E-ssentialLearning

Expanded Access to Annual Meeting Sessions

APHA is expanding the educational experience of both presenters and attendees at the APHA Annual Meeting by investing in LCD projectors, computers and new Web-based technology for all scientific sessions. This new technology will enable voice and PowerPoint presentations to be recorded and uploaded to the APHA Web site following the meeting, thus extending the life of the meeting and providing access to hundreds of actual scientific session presentations that Annual Meeting registrants may have missed while attending other sessions.

Annual Meeting attendees can receive full access to these expanded sessions by registering for E-ssentialLearning on the Annual Meeting registration form. Special introductory discounted fees are $25 for Annual Meeting session presenters, $50 for APHA members (who are not session presenters), and $100 for non-members and are in effect for anyone registering for the full APHA Annual Meeting by the Oct. 1 pre-registration deadline. These fees will increase substantially for anyone registering on-site at the Annual Meeting in Washington.

Log-in information and password access to these E-ssentialLearning sessions will be provided to registrants immediately following the Annual Meeting.

NEW! Presenters Able to Upload PowerPoint Presentations in Advance

LCD projectors and computers are now included as part of the standard audiovisual package in each session room. This new technology will enable presenters to upload their PowerPoint presentations in advance of the meeting and have them pre-loaded on the APHA session computers. Individual presentations then begin with a click of the mouse. The cost and inconvenience of bringing a computer to the Annual Meeting has been eliminated for presenters, allowing them to take advantage of new technologies and be a part of the E-ssentialLearning experience.

Want to Get Involved in Section Activities??

APHA and the GH Section offer far more than just a once-a-year meeting. Throughout the year, APHA acts on policy issues at the national level. Information dissemination occurs through APHA vehicles, such as the monthly newsletter, and through the section, such as our listserv and newsletter. Leadership roles are available requiring a broad range of time commitment and expertise, but that contribute to one’s resume. For more details about any of these activities, contact the person noted below or the current Chair, Steve Wallace at <>. The Leadership group meets periodically by telephone conference call. Anyone is welcome to participate. Contact Steve to get on the list.

It’s easy to join the GH listserv. Instructions for signing up are available in this issue or contact Veronica Gutierrez at <> directly if you have questions. Members of the listserv share selective information with each other, particularly announcements of jobs, grants, and new publications.

GHS Committees
This committee is tracking down past members and recruiting new ones. It’s a good way to meet a lot of people!

Awards, Archstone Award, Aetna Award
If you would like to help select winners, join one of these committees. A major task is the one-time review of submissions that occurs during the spring, but other activities involve activities at the Annual Meeting.

Local Arrangements
Help with plans for the booth and reception at the Annual Meeting.

Appointed positions
APHA has a number of committees to which members are appointed. We will be soliciting nominees in the spring. If you are interested in APHA-wide involvement, this is the way to start! Let Steve Wallace know.

APHA Task Force on Aging Update

In 2001, the APHA Executive Board approved the establishment of a Task Force on Aging (TFA), with mandated representation from all APHA Sections, Caucuses, and SPIGs. Guiding objectives of the APHA TFA are:
1. Raise awareness and promote education about aging within the APHA.
2. Recommend ways to improve public health infrastructure in the context of aging.
3. Develop and advocate for public policies that will improve the health and well being of the aging population throughout the world.

TFA business is conducted via monthly conference calls and a meeting at the APHA Annual Meeting. As of January 2004, nine Sections, Caucuses, and SPIGs had active representatives on the TFA. Ongoing activities in 2004 include:

· Recruiting additional TFA representatives and surveying Sections, Caucuses, and SPIGs regarding aging-related activities and communication vehicles to facilitate transfer of news about aging and public health issues. Five new representatives joined the May 2004 conference call as a result, and survey results will be compiled and disseminated.

· Planning a TFA-sponsored session for the 2004 APHA Annual Meeting. TFA and GHS member Nancy Alfred Persily has organized the session “The Aging of America: A Crisis for the Health Care Workforce.” Speakers will include Nancy, Fox Wetle, and Robyn Stone; discussants will be Steven Wallace and Edward Salsberg. More information is available from Rick Fortinsky.

· Planning articles to appear in The Nation’s Health about current programmatic and scientific activities in the aging and public health arena: TFA members are prioritizing topics and have contacted the editor to arrange logistics of article submission.

· Linking with other national organizations. the American Society on Aging and the Gerontological Society of America have agreed to feature TFA-sponsored sessions originally presented at the APHA Annual meeting at their respective annual meetings. Other inter-organizational initiatives are in the planning stages.

Also of note: In 2002, the TFA produced the document: “Scope of Public Health and Aging,” which summarizes issues of importance at the intersection of aging and public health action, advocacy, and research. This document can be found on the GHS Web site, <>.

To find out more about the TFA, please contact Rick Fortinsky, TFA Co-Chair at <>.

Begin Planning Your Trip to Washington!

It’s not too early to start planning for the 132nd APHA Annual Meeting, Nov. 6-10, 2004. You can visit the APHA Web site at <> for more detailed information.

When planning your trip to Washington, don’t forget about Section Business Meetings and our Award Reception!

Fellowship Opportunities in Minority Aging

The Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston is accepting applications for predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships in minority aging with special emphasis on the Hispanic population. For additional information contact Dr. Karl Eschbach at <>, or Dr. Kyriakos Markides at <>.

POLICY UPDATE-- Nursing Home Staffing Rule

Since 1991, when APHA policy called for enactment of minimum staffing standards for nursing homes (Resolution 9106), there has been little federal legislative action, despite repeated exposes of inadequate staffing. Recently a first step toward addressing the problem was enacted in the Benefit Improvement and Protection Act of 2000, which mandated that facilities post a daily count of the number of nursing services staff (RN, LPN, CNA) on duty on each shift. The intent, presumably, is for the public is to be empowered with information so families and residents can be wise consumers.

This February, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule to standardize the posting procedure (Federal Register, February 27, 2004, pp. 9282-9288). It would require that total staffing for the facility be posted daily for each shift. However, this would not show how individual nursing units are staffed, and would be virtually impossible for staff, residents, ombudsmen, and surveyors to monitor.

The rule could actually be made verifiable and useful to families and residents if it required that staffing be posted for each nursing unit, for each shift, with each staff person listed by name.

The comment period for submitting statements for the record is now closed, but people can still talk to their congressmen and the administration and request that they press for the rule to be strengthened so the information might be of practical value to the public.

The AdvantAge Initiative

A Project of the Center for Home Care Policy and Research
Visiting Nurse Service of New York

The AdvantAge Initiative assists communities in collecting and using consumer-derived information to design action plans for improving their elder-friendliness. Over the past four years, the project team has worked with 10 communities to pilot a survey and a set of 33 indicators that provide stakeholders with a “data snapshot” of how well older people are faring in their communities. The project team has also provided stakeholders with technical assistance to interpret, prioritize, and communicate the survey information to the larger community. Stakeholders are using the information to raise awareness about aging, identify and prioritize issues, and develop and implement plans to address them.

In 2003 the AdvantAge Initiative conducted a national survey of people age 65 and over using the same survey questionnaire and 33 indicators—which cover a wide range of areas including affordable housing, neighborhood safety, availability of health and supportive services, personal health, financial well-being, volunteerism, and social and cultural opportunities. The national survey results, released in April 2004, provide a snapshot of the status of older people overall in the United States and also represent “averages” or “norms” with which community survey results may be compared. For the national survey report and fact sheets as well as more information about the AdvantAge Initiative, see <>.


Joseph Ciro Barbaccia, MD, MPH
I. Paul Geleris, MD
R. Jeannine Lyerly, MPH
David L. Rabin, MPH
James Griffith Zimmer, MD, DTPH

In case you may have missed these….

Overview of Programs and Initiatives Sponsored by DHHS to Promote
Healthy Aging: A Background Paper for the Blueprint on Aging for the 21st
Century Technical Advisory Group Meeting (January 2003)

Report Abstract
Full HTML Report
Full PDF Report

KAISEREDU.ORG: The Kaiser Family Foundation has opened this site,
which provides "health policy students and faculty easy access to data,
literature, news and developments regarding major health policy topics and
debates." Several of the modules focus on Medicare.

Join Us at the GSA Meeting in D.C.!!

Fox Wetle, GHS member and also President of the Gerontological Society of America, encourages you to attend the 2004 Annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America in Washington, D.C., Nov. 19th-23, 2004 at the Marriott Wardman Park and the Omni Shoreham Hotels. The theme of this year's meeting is focused on public health and is entitled "Promoting the Health of an Aging Population." For more information about the meeting, please visit


Unsure of what is going on with the Section? Visit the GHS Web site! Check it out at <>.

If you would like to post items on the GHS Web site or have questions regarding the GHS listserv, please contact Verónica F. Gutiérrez at <>.

Public Health-Related News from the American Society on Aging

ASA continues to add significant educational materials to our Web-based health promotion/disease prevention site, Live Well Live Long: Steps to Better Health, at <>. Topics include education management and cognitive vitality, and the site provides background information on the public health issues associated with those topic, strategies for outreach, community collaboration, program and campaign logistics, evaluation tools and ready-to-use curricula for presentations and activities. Special emphasis is given to strategies targeting racial and ethnic communities, and rural areas.

This year, the Web site will grow in content with four new programs: Steps to Mental Wellness; Roadmap to Driving Wellness; Diabetes Prevention and Management -- Small Steps with Big Rewards; and Physical Activity for Older Adults.

Keep informed of the availability of these new modules by subscribing to our monthly updates. Simply send an e-mail to ASA staff member Nancy Bui at <>. Be sure your message includes your name and e-mail address


Do you want to be more informed and involved in the Section? One way to do this is to join the Section’s listserv? Some reasons for signing up:

To exchange ideas about Section business or public health issues relevant to aging;
To access current job information; and
To solicit immediate feedback from Section members.

Follow the directions below to subscribe and unsubscribe:
1. Send an e-mail to with the following message in the body:
add ghs-l(EXAMPLE: “add ghs-l Lene Levy Storms”)
2. You will receive a return receipt e-mail with additional confirmation instructions to follow. In the attachment, you will find these commands as well as additional commands on how to query the listserv for other options.
3. To unsubscribe, send an e-mail to with the following message in the body:
signoff ghs-l
(NOTE: the letter “L” follows” ghs, not a number.)

Did you miss the last issue of the GHS Newsletter?

To view, visit <>.
To visit the Gerontological Health Section Web site, go to
To view other Section and SPIG newsletters and to learn more about the
newsletters overall, visit

If you have information or announcements that you would like included in the next issue of the Section’s newsletter, contact Donna Cox, <>. The deadline for submitting information and announcement to be published in the next issue of the Section’s newsletter is July 30, 2004.

To post items on the Section’s Web site, contact Verónica F. Gutiérrez, <>.

GHS Leadership List

Steven P. Wallace, GHS Section Chair 2003-05

--- Elected Positions
Connie Evashwick, Past Chair
Bob Burke, Chair Elect
David Kidder, Secretary 2003-05
Janet Frank, Governing Council 2002-04
James Swan, Governing Council 2003-05 & Chair, Section Membership
Turner Goins, Council 2003-04
Joe Sharkey, Council 2003-04
Penny Feldman, Council 2002-05 & Chair, Section Awards
Susan Miller, Council 2002-05
Paulo Chavez, Council 2003-06
Helena Temkin-Greener, Council 2003-06

--- Appointed Positions
Lené Levy-Storms, Program CoChair
Kathy Sykes, Program CoChair & Nominations Chair (2004)
Donna Cox, Section Newsletter Editor
Allan Goldman, Archstone Award Chair & Policy Committee Chair
Marcia Ory, Aetna/Susan B. Anthony Award Chair
Veronica Gutierrez, Web Site & Listserv Chair
Gerry Eggert, Development Chair; APHA Awards Committee
Sue Hughes, APHA Action Board
Terrie Wetle, AJPH Editorial Board
Nancy Persily, APHA Publications Board (2001-04)
Dan Jaco, APHA Publications Board, past chair

Plus many other volunteers who make the GHS successful!