New Developments Sharpen Asa's Focus on Serving Members

By Stein, Robert G. | Aging Today, May/June 2007 | Go to article overview

New Developments Sharpen Asa's Focus on Serving Members

Stein, Robert G., Aging Today


Change happens. Shortly after attending my first Joint Conference of the American Society on Aging (ASA) and National Council on Aging (NCOA) in Chicago this year and starting my new job as president and CEO of ASA, I learned that one of ASA's most effective and popular staff members had accepted a new job.

Paul Takayanagi, who had also long been involved in ASA as a member, directed ASA programs in diversity, education and training, as well as managed the 2007 Joint Conference program. However, Paul's first career love has always been providing direct services, so he couldn't pass up an offer to head a social service program across the bay from San Francisco in Alameda County, where he also lives. We will miss him.


Fortunately, we did not have to wait long to find a first-rate replacement for Paul. I am very pleased to announce that Carole A. Anderson has joined ASA as the new vice president of education, leadership and diversity. She brings more than 20 years of experience in executive education for the health professions.

Carole began her career as a nurse and served for 12 years with diverse groups, including older adults. After earning both a master's degree and a doctorate in education, she worked in adult leadership development with health associations and with major healthcare systems. Carole has created significant educational and leadership development programs and also has a successful track record in garnering the financial support needed to bring new programs to life.

At ASA, Carole will direct education programs and work with the executive management team to lead AS A's work in education program design and development, as well as leadership development. In addition, Carole will head a new diversity team at ASA that will include Valerie Jones, who serves as full-time diversity manager; Audrey Wong, senior coordinator for publications; and me as president and CEO.

I have spent much of my 30-year career in nonprofit management driven by a commitment to diversity and cultural competence, and I look forward to supporting Carole's enormous passion for this work. Carole, Valerie and I will attend the AARP 2007 Diversity and Aging Conference in Los Angeles, June 19-21. Diversity will remain a cornerstone of ASA's work for years to come.


Soon after the Chicago conference, ASA staff received a tremendous response to a survey given to this year's presenters and attendees. Based on your feedback, we have restructured the conference program to provide an even better experience. Your guidance already helped us hone the submissions process for proposals to make presentations at "Aging in America," the NCOA-ASA Conference set for March 27-30,2008, at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, D.C.

Those attending the 2008 conference will find a sharper focus and more streamlined presentation of what has long been the hallmark of these meetings: the latest research and public policy analysis, as well as model programs and skills building, for professionals in the field of aging.

New for 2008 are specific focus areas (formerly known as tracks), which will allow conference attendees to better identify sessions to serve their needs. Conference sessions will address four key questions, starting with What's new? Presentations will offer novel research, needs assessments, focus-group learning, survey outcomes, program evaluations, best or promising practices, and innovative ideas or emerging issues.

Conference-goers might well ask of a session, Why is it important? In response, we've asked presenters to identify specific populations served, elements essential for professionals in aging and learning objectives that are measurable and achievable.

Even more essential is being able to tell attendees What works? Sessions at the 2008 conference will highlight relevant goals in skills building, staff training and education while placing a new emphasis on case studies or related real-life applications that work well in diverse settings. …

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