ASA Program Celebrates 10 Years of Promoting Diversity

By Cavanaugh, Gloria | Aging Today, July/August 2003 | Go to article overview

ASA Program Celebrates 10 Years of Promoting Diversity


Cavanaugh, Gloria, Aging Today


New Ventures in Leadership (NVL) turned 10 this year. NVL is ASA's flagship program for promoting and developing leadership among professionals of color in the field of aging. At the 2003 Joint Conference of the National Council on the Aging and ASA in March, NVL founders, mentors, and current and past partners gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this outstanding program.

Nearly 250 professionals have graduated from the program, and in each year's NVL class, participants receive training in leadership skills, resource and program development, grant-writing and fundraising. They attend workshops on emerging issues in aging, develop a special project benefiting elders of color in their communities and are linked to a network of prominent leaders in aging-both nationally and in their local communities-who serve as mentors. NVL participants and mentors focus especially on strengthening their local network of service providers in aging.

YEARLONG PROGRAM

Over the course of the 12-month program, NVL partners achieve the following:

* Complete three weeks of intensive training in community-building, leadership development and gerontological education through two ASA-NCOA conferences and a week in Washington, D.C.

* Prepare to assume leadership positions in their communities and become part of a pool of professionals of color primed to assume leadership roles on the national level.

* Work with two mentors, one local and one national, who provide career guidance; technical assistance with special projects; and access to a national network of policymakers, planners, researchers and other leaders in aging.

* Develop and implement a community project to benefit local elders of color.

* Present the outcomes of their community projects at the ASA-NCOA Joint Conference at a special Program Exchange session.

This year, AARP, a longtime supporter of the program, produced a 12-minute video highlighting the accomplishments of NVL. The leadership program has grown through the years because of the support of groups including AARP, the Cleveland Foundation-a sponsor since the program's beginning-the Chicago Community Trust, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and local area agencies on aging throughout Pennsylvania, and many others.

MEET NVL PARTICIPANTS

I wish I could introduce you to every one of these remarkable, energetic professionals who are contributing so much to our field. Here are just a few of the wonderful individuals in the 2003-2004 NVL class:

Michele Kemp, director of marketing at SCAN Healthcare in Long Beach, Calif., is developing an educational program in which SCAN keeps physicians and patients informed about the issues affecting different cultural groups in the Medicare population. Kemp says that she wants to educate service providers on the concerns of diverse elders, in part by providing communication tools that will help them to better understand the clinical and psychosocial needs of those older adults. She also is developing a comprehensive library of resources about and for elders of color.

Patricia Edmond is a research assistant at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center in Chicago. …

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