In recent years, most professionals in the field of aging have witnessed how unprepared the United States is for the demographic deluge just around the corner, as boomers become elders. Age-boom watchers have seen how much this country needs to develop a new way of understanding aging. Consider the following challenges:
* Medicare, Social Security and long-term care systems are confronted by the swell of the aging boomers.
* The new "retirement" looks nothing like aging as we have known it. Boomers want a much more enriched, engaged second half of life.
* Biotechnology is creating a future of brand-new life-extending and life-enhancing developments in medicine and healthcare. But as science fiction becomes fact, the discoveries of tomorrow are racing ahead faster than today's social and ethical policies can embrace.
* The diversity of the older population is now greater than it has ever been; yet, many health and human services providers are locked into a one-size-fits-all model.
The United States needs fresh ideas and new ways of thinking about these challenges.
Over the past half-century, the American Society on Aging has emerged as an intricate network of professionals representing every facet of service to an aging world. ASA's approach to practice in every discipline and setting, as well as public-policy discussions representing every point of view, are solidly grounded in the latest research and science. We at ASA believe this approach is providing exactly the kind of organization that the service community in the United States needs now to help incubate the ideas, programs and research that will meet the challenges ahead.
This past year, ASA celebrated 50 years of leadership with the support of members like you. We have much to be proud of-leading-edge educational events, respected publications and resources, and programs that convene professionals in the field of aging from a cross-section of disciplines.
As we look forward to the next 50 years (and beyond), I invite you join the ASA Leadership Challenge campaign. Gifts to the Leadership Challenge will enable the association to continue to serve as a bridge between research and practice with leading-edge programs. For example:
Promoting Diversity and Leadership Initiatives: ASA's signature program New Ventures in Leadership (NVL) has provided innovative training and mentoring to more than 250 partners-professionals in aging serving various racial or ethnic communities around the United States-since we founded the program in 1993. Through the NVL program, participants receive training and skills …