American Public Health Association
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Aging & Public Health
Section Newsletter
Winter 2007

Gerontological Health Section: Notes from the Editor

 

The Winter 2007 GHS Newsletter contains a variety of postings, job announcements, biographies, news, and recent publications that will help keep us up to date.  Please consider the Newsletter as a venue for information you would like to share.  We cannot publish every abstract from our productive membership, but we do want to publicize events and developments that show where the field of aging and public health is heading.

 

Thanks to Steve Wallace, James Swan, Gerry Eggert, Kathy Sykes, and all my loyal contributors.  Thanks also to Tina Bhargava and Tanisha Battle for putting the final touches on this issue.

 

Regards,

 

Steve Albert

smalbert@pitt.edu

Announcements

The Global Aging Partners is an umbrella structure spearheaded by the Jessie F. Richardson Foundation.  Its mission is to coordinate efforts in the field of international aging, with special emphasis on developing countries. What unites GAP partners is the common belief that all persons, regardless of who they are or where they live, deserve to age with dignity.  And with this belief comes the logical conclusion that all persons deserve to age with adequate housing, food, water, and care. The project is currently focusing on elders in Nicaragua. For more information see http://www.jfrfoundation.org/, contact info@jfrfoundation.org   or call (503) 408-4754.

 

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US Federal Inter-Agency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics Compendium:

Data Sources on Older Americans: 2006 (December 2006, PDF format, 116 pages). http://agingstats.gov/

 

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The World Health Organization has made healthy cities a priority.  The Healthy Cities Program in Europe has evolved in five year phases, each phase giving special attention to priority themes.  Phase IV (2003-2008) has three main themes: healthy aging, healthy urban planning and health impact assessment. In addition all participating cities focus on the topic of physical activity/active living.
See http://www.euro.who.int/healthy-cities


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The New York Times has published an interesting series of articles that look at the science of aging, and how humans are growing old in ways they never have before.
http://www.nytimes.com/ref/health/newage_index.html

 

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Dear GHS Member,

APHA is requesting our action to assist with the passage of a key resolution and key legislation (see below for details).  Please contact your representative and senators now to voice your support.


Your Action Board Representative,

Susan C. Miller, PhD
Associate Professor of Community Health (Research) Center for
Gerontology & Health Care Research Brown University School of Medicine
2 Stimson Street, Room 207
Providence, RI  02912
(401) 863-9216
(401) 863-9219 (fax)

Take Action!

 

Request Increased Funding for Fiscal Year 2007 Health Programs

Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc., and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., the chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, respectively, have announced they will seek a continuing resolution to fund the unfinished appropriations bills though the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2007. More than $7 billion will be available in the resolution to increase funding for priorities such as health and education.  The newly available funds are due in part to a moratorium on earmarks in the bill.


Please contact your representative and senators immediately to urge them to apply the additional funds to increase public health programs by $7 billion in 2007. Congress will soon begin working on the fiscal year 2008 process, so your quick action on 2007 funding levels is needed now.

Visit http://www.capwiz.com/apha/issues/alert/?alertid=9216311 to Take Action Now!

 

Support More Affordable Rx Drugs for Seniors

The U.S. House of Representatives is considering H.R. 4, the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007, legislation to allow the federal government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prices on prescription drugs for Medicare patients. This legislation would correct and improve the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which specifically prohibits the federal government from entering into price negotiations with drug companies. A Medicare-operated prescription drug benefit program (Part D) with drug prices directly negotiated with pharmaceutical companies would deliver billions of dollars in savings and would help to fill-in coverage gaps that currently exist for Medicare beneficiaries who take part in the Medicare Part-D program.  Please urge your Representative to support this important legislation.

Visit http://www.capwiz.com/apha/issues/alert/?alertid=9216451 to Take Action Now!

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“Get Ready for Flu” Blog Posts Feature Traveler’s Advice, Rapid Tests and the Elderly
APHA’s “Get Ready for Flu” blog, at getreadyforflu.blogspot.com, now includes posts about traveling, rapid testing and a pandemic’s effect on the elderly. Upcoming posts will include information about school closures. Visitors can receive automatic blog updates via e-mail by signing up for a free subscription on the blog site.

 

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Lenard Kaye, professor & director, Center on Aging, School of Social Work,
University of Maine; and APHA member, Joan K. Davitt, assistant professor
and Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar, School of Social Policy
and Practice, University of Pennsylvania, announce the German language
publication of their book: Current Practices in High-Tech Home Health Care.

Complete citation:
Kaye, Lenard W. & Davitt, Joan K., (2006). Hoch technisierte hausliche Pflege, Verlag Hans Huber, Bern, Germany, 2006.
(German language edition of Kaye, L.W. & Davitt, J.K., Current Practices in High-Tech Home Care, Springer Publishing Company, New York, NY, 1999)

 

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RESOURCES: In public health, few want to talk about end-of-life issues - if the aging community doesn't, who will?  Caring Connections, a program of the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, provides resources for professionals, patients, and families.  Download free advance directives for all 50 states, find information on hospice and palliative care, caregiving, grief, and paying for long-term care.  For more information, go to www.caringinfo.org, or call (800)658-8898 (en espanol (877)658-8896).  Support for Caring Connections is provided by a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton.

 

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GHS Fundraising Auction  --  Nov. 5, 2007

 

In support of the GH Section Award Endowments, our 6th Annual Auction and Raffle will be held in D.C. on Monday evening. As in the past, I have been assembling a fine collection of antiques and collectibles. I have been combing through auctions in upstate New York and New England to get interesting and unique items. I have some great glass and art pottery, silver flatware and silver candelabra, jewelry, hand woven quilts (including a great "political" quilt from 1900), paintings and prints, animal figurines, and many other items. I am sure we will have donations of wine and Georgia art pottery.

 

Last November we raised $5,700 which was added to our award endowments. This year I expect we will all have a great time at our Award Reception and Auction. If you have donations, or want to suggest items you would be interested in purchasing, please contact me at GMEggert@Aol.Com.

Many thanks for all your support.

 

Gerry Eggert, GHS Development Chair

 

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Take Action!  Raise the minimum wage!

Call your Senators toll-free at (800)459-1887.  Tell them to support S. 2, which will raise the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years. Over 37 million people live in poverty in our country, in part because the minimum wage is so low. At $5.15 an hour, a full-time minimum wage worker earns just $10,712 a year - nearly $6,000 below the poverty line for a family of three.

 

You can help. Call your Senators NOW:


Step 1: Call (800) 459-1887 to be connected to the U.S. Capitol Switchboard.
Step 2: Ask to be connected to the office of one of your senators. (To find out your senators' names, click here <http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/track.jsp?key=268274401&url_num=1&url=http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state&Sort=ASC>
Step 3: Tell the person who answers the phone:

"Hi, my name is _______________ and I'm a constituent and a member of the American Public Health Association.  Please tell Senator _______ to vote in support of S. 2, to increase the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years.  Please oppose amendment proposals that would only hurt worker rights.  Will Senator ___ vote in favor of S. 2?"

Step 4: Repeat Steps 1, 2, and 3 for your second Senator.

 

The toll-free number, courtesy of the American Friends Service Committee, will remain open until the Senate votes on S. 2.

 

-- Susan Miller


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From A Ferrini:

 

I would like to send a note to all gerontological health listserv members telling them that the fourth edition of my college text, Health in the Later Years, will be out in mid-February and directing them to the McGraw-Hill website with detailed information on the revisions and includes how to get an examination copy.  www.mhprofessional.com

 

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Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging National Recognition Program

 

What is Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging? 

The principal goal of the “Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging” program is to raise awareness across the nation about healthy synergies that can be achieved by communities combining Smart Growth and Active Aging concepts. The U.S. EPA’s Aging Initiative will spearhead a multi-agency effort conceived and developed in partnership with:

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports;  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;

The National Council on Aging’s Center for Healthy Aging;  

The National Blueprint Office; and 

Active for Life.

Additionally, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, through its Active for Life program, will support a Healthy Communities for Active Aging Learning Network for participating communities and tribes and the National Blueprint and the CDC Healthy Aging Research Network will provide technical assistance.

 

What is Smart Growth? Smart Growth is characterized by development patterns that create attractive, distinctive, walkable communities that give people of varying age, wealth, and physical ability a range of safe, affordable, convenient choices in where they live and how they get around. Growing smart also ensures that existing resources are used efficiently and that lands and buildings that shape communities are preserved.

Communities across the country are using creative strategies to develop in ways that preserve natural lands and critical environmental areas, protect water and air quality and reuse previously developed land. They conserve resources by reinvesting in existing infrastructure and reclaiming historic buildings.

 

By designing neighborhoods to contain homes, shops, offices, parks, and other amenities, these communities are giving their residents and visitors the option of walking, bicycling, taking public transportation, or driving as they go about their business. A range of different types of homes makes it possible for aging Americans to stay in their homes as they age, young people to afford their first homes and families, at all stages in between, to find a safe and attractive home they can afford. Through smart growth approaches that enhance neighborhoods and involve local citizens in development decisions, these communities are creating vibrant places to live, work, and play. The high quality of life in these communities makes them economically competitive, creates business opportunities, and improves the local tax base. For more information see: http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth

 

What is Active Aging? Active Aging takes place when older adults regularly participate in a variety of structured and unstructured physical activities. Communities can promote Active Aging by implementing a diverse array of accessible physical-activity programs, and helping to make more accessible self-directed physical-activity opportunities for those 60-plus. All of these opportunities should emphasize activities that increase endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance, while adhering to the principles of injury prevention. Self-directed activities include walking, biking, fitness trails and similar activities that are appropriate for participants at various levels of fitness and functional ability. For more information on Active Aging, please visit the websites of the Active for Life Program, National Council on Aging’s Center for Healthy Aging and the National Blueprint.

 

What is the Benefit for a Community or Tribe participating in the Program? While the details of the Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging program still are being developed, it is expected that communities and tribes participating in the program will be part of a learning network and eligible to participate in a virtual learning network that will provide a forum for sharing lessons learned.

 

Help Shape the Future for Communities and Older Adults

For more information on the EPA Aging Initiative: http://www.epa.gov/aging

Questions? aging.info@epa.gov

Requests and Jobs

Call for papers!


Special Theme Issue of the Preventing Chronic Diseases E-journal:
"Emerging issues of special concern to older adults in the 21st Century"

This issue of the Journal will highlight issues related to older adult health which are beginning to receive public health attention.  Areas of interest include emerging risk factors (e.g., health literacy, elder abuse), health conditions (e.g., mental health, cognitive decline), lifespan concerns (e.g., end of life issues, caregiving), and other concerns (global aging).  The deadline for submissions is July 1, 2007 with an anticipated publication date of January, 2008.  For questions or queries about the Special Theme issue, please contact the guest editor, Dr. Jaya Rao (email: jrao@cdc.gov or phone: 770-488-5091).

Preventing Chronic Diseases is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal that is indexed in PubMed.  The Journal's mission is to address the interface between prevention research and public health practice with respect to chronic disease prevention.  Further information about Preventing Chronic Diseases, including the types of article published in the Journal and instructions for authors can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/

 

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The Department of Society, Human Development and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health is looking for an assistant professor whose research focuses on social determinants of aging and lifecourse development using multidisciplinary methodological approaches.  We believe you might know some appropriate candidates and are writing in hopes that you will encourage these individuals to consider applying for this position.  We appreciate any assistance you can give us.


Lisa F. Berkman, Chair

Toby Bernstein, 617-432-3915
AA to Lisa Berkman

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Request for Applications: Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Opportunities for Technical Assistance for Communities Interested in Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging.

Are you trying to encourage smart growth activities that will help prepare for older adults in your community?  Are you trying to encourage specific smart growth techniques like transit-oriented development?  Or direct your state department of transportation investments to better support smart growth?  Are you looking to use smart growth to reach economic development goals?  Do you need help analyzing guidelines for school investments that best fit your state or community?  Do you need to retrofit a commercial corridor?  Or coordinate your community's smart growth design with an active aging program?

The Development, Community, and Environment Division in U.S. EPA's Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation is responding to this need by issuing a request for applications for the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program.  Through this program, a team of multidisciplinary experts will provide free technical assistance to
communities, regions, or states that want to develop in ways that meet environmental and other local or regional goals.

Communities, regions, and states around the country are interested in building stronger neighborhoods, protecting their environmental resources, enhancing public health, and planning for development, but they may lack the tools, resources, or information to achieve these goals.  EPA can help applicants overcome these roadblocks by providing
evaluation tools and expert analysis.

EPA is soliciting applications from communities that want help with either policy analysis or public participatory processes.  Selected communities will receive assistance in the form of a multi-day visit from a team of experts organized by EPA and other national partners to work with local leaders.  Applications will be accepted until March 8,
2007.

For more information and application materials, please go to
www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia.htm.

 

Retirement: An Interview with Hiram Friedsam, Ph.D.

 

in memoriam

Hiram J. Friedsam, professor emeritus in the Department of Applied Gerontology at the University of North Texas, was a co-founder and director of the Center for Studies in Aging at UNT.  The Center was the first gerontology program in the state, and one of the first in the nation.  He was also a co-founder of the American Association of Homes for the Aging and past-president of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, as well as regional gerontological and social science organizations.  He served as editor of The Gerontologist in the early 1980s, and more-recently as associate editor of Sustainable Communities Review.  He has been retired for nearly a quarter-century; but continues to come ‘to the office’ at UNT and to serve as advisor to the Retirement Housing Professional program in the Department of Applied Gerontology.  Dr. Friedsam replied in writing to questions I had given him, followed by discussion in the offices of the Department of Applied Gerontology.

 

Many of us in gerontology teach and study retirement.  You have now long experienced it.  What has been as you expected, and what has surprised you?

 

From my perspective, retirement is simply formal separation from a job.  After that, “living in retirement” is multi-dimensional, and the dimensions are roughly the same as those for living at younger ages:  health, finances, housing, location, and so on.  The relative importance of dimensions may change, but there are few new ones.  One, perhaps, is one’s relationship to the profession and to past colleagues.  I’m sure you know, as I do, retirees who have cut their professional ties totally and completely.  On the other hand, I know retirees, even gerontologists, who have continued to volunteer at their institutions, and to continue attendance at meetings of professional organizations for years.  As an aside, I’ve been surprised by how little professional organizations are interested in their retired members or make an effort to rekindle the interest of those who have cut themselves off.  Several years ago, I encouraged AGHE to look at this, and some research was done by Harvey Stems at the University of Akron.  I think it’s worth more attention.

 

Academics, and those in the military, have long been able to experience a ‘retirement’ that is only a step to new activity.  You as an emeritus professor have been able to have one type of such experience.  But increasing parts of the population are now experiencing ‘retirement‘ as but one more step in a career, or to a new career.  Do you have any comments on such ‘new retirement’?

 

The last part of my reply to your first question approaches this.  I certainly have no reservation about ‘retirees’ seeking second careers; and in the early days of our program at the University of North Texas, we had a number of ‘retired’ people coming into it who were seeking to enter aging services as a second career – that includes several retired military persons by the way.  I suspect that our experience was not all that different from some of the other early gerontology programs, but I don’t know of anyone who has looked at the question.

 

How does the field of gerontology itself appear to one who has long been ‘retired’ from it?

 

Having long believed that research follows funding, and given the feds’ tremendous emphasis on health, gerontology now comes close to being a health discipline.  I recently examined several issues of The Gerontologist, which I once edited, and found that a very large proportion of the articles were health-related.  In fact, in one issue, all of the articles were health-related.

 

What should current gerontologists keep in mind, or what are they missing, from the perspective of both the subject and object of what gerontologists study?

 

There have been a couple of suggestions in my previous answers that are related to this, but one thing to keep in mind is that ‘retirement’ can last a very long time.  I have been retired for more than 20 years, and in that period I have moved, to use Bernice Newgarten’s felicitous terms, from the land of the “young old,” where most of us dwell at retirement, into the land of the “old old.”  I said at the outset that the relative importance of the dimensions of retirement may vary in importance; but this change almost certainly produces the greatest variation on those dimensions.

 

What would you advise gerontologists who are approaching retirement, preparing for it, or simply planning ahead for it?

 

Nothing that I would not advise anyone retiring from any other profession, except that you have a running start over most of them in your knowledge of the field.

 

What further do you wish to say to today’s gerontologists?

 

I have participated in two or three programs in recent years to argue, like a handful of others, that gerontology (or gerontologists) shows little concern about “sustainability.”  As public health people, and at least a few politicians, tell us, we live in a society that is virtually designed to create chronic illness, and it’s getting worse.  You can’t look at the future of aging without looking at the future of the society in which it will take place; and that future could be very bleak.  I’ve looked for articles in gerontology journals that address “sustainability”; but I have found very few.  I think it should become a central issue.

 

Does public health have a role in that?

 

Definitely! And not just a role, but a major leadership role. The essence of sustainability is, to use a well-worn phrase, that it is a compact between generations.  We will leave the world at least as good as we found it, and hopefully better. I suspect that fits the underlying, if not the expressed function, of public health quite well.

 

Note:

 1  Professor, Department of Applied Gerontology, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas.

 

James H. Swan, PhD

Congratulations

Recently APHA sent a letter to our Gerontolgical Health member, Kathy Sykes endorsing the Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging program.

Congratulations Kathy!

GHSSykesSpr07.pdf