The Aging in America Conference: A Model of Successful Collaboration

Article excerpt

This issue of Aging Today went to press shortly after our 2009 asa-ncoa Aging in America Conference in Las Ve- gas. I am pleased to report that the con- ference was a great success, with more than 3,500 partic- ipants, presenters and exhibitors at- tending this dy- namic education- al and networking opportunity. With more than 700 sessions offered, we focused on providing the very best possible conference expe- rience. Judging from die feedback we received, I believe we did just that. Though some of you might have missed this year's conference, I hope everyone will note the dates of our 2010 annual meeting, which will be held March 16-20 in Chicago (visit our website, www.asaging.org, for the 2010 Call for Presentation Proposals announcement).

COLLABORATION IS KEY

This year's ASA conference was designed to feature nine "conferences-within-a-conference." These intensive educational programs, some developed in partnership with ASA, represented a bold and successful program experiment: nearly every one of these smaller conferences reached capacity enrollment. In two unique collaborations, ASA and the National Center on Senior Transportation designed a full-day conference, "Senior Transportation: Putting the Pieces Together" and, together with the National Council on Aging, ASA presented a National Forum on Civic Engagement, a day showcasing the best practices in civic engagement (see stories on pages 5 and 12).

The daylong National Forum on Care Coordination, a collaboration of ASA and the New York Academy of Medicine, N. Y., drew more than 125 participants who discussed strategies and approaches to making coordination of care efficient and universal. More than 400 social workers attended the National Association of Social Workers' two-day Annual Practice Conference, "The Aging Boom: Is Your Clinical Practice Ready?" Offered in collaboration with the Archstone Foundation, this gathering was a platform for research-to-practice models and featured many best practices dealing with fall prevention, and elder abuse and fraud. The conference, which was underwritten by the Foundation, featured national leaders in the field of social work, and Sandra Lopez, clinical associate professor at the Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston, Texas, gave the excellent keynote address.

Often, state-of-the-art practices are in use long before they appear in textbooks. The planning and development for the elder abuse program illustrated this truth, with effective content provided by the Center of Excellence in Elder Abuse and Neglect, University of California, Irvine. A cornerstone of best practices is that they are multifac- eted: the fall pre- vention program was a collabora- tion of the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence, a public-private partnership of leading experts from the Univer- sity of Southern California's drus Gerontology Center; California State University, FuIlerton's Center for Successful Aging; the Veterans Administration's Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center; the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine; and me California Department of Public Health, State and Local Injury Control Section. I list these partners to show diat it "takes a village" to bring die best knowledge, information, practices and standards to the field of aging.

A CORNERSTONE OF CARE

This year's conference featured individual workshops on caregiving, as well as three major, full-day caregiving conferences, which attracted hundreds of participants. "Supporting Sustainable Caregiving Coalitions," presented by the National Alliance for Caregiving and led by its president and CEO Gail Hunt, started off a day of programming on March 18. Speakers included Lynn Friss Feinberg, former ASA Board member and, until very recently, deputy director of the National Center on Caregiving at the Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA). Lynn leaves FCA to direct the Consumers for Better Care Campaign, a national program dedicated to improving chronic care for older adults and their families, led by the respected National Partnership for Women & Families. …