Han and Learn Groups Help Advance Asa's Strategic Plan

By Cavanaugh, Gloria | Aging Today, November/December 2005 | Go to article overview

Han and Learn Groups Help Advance Asa's Strategic Plan


Cavanaugh, Gloria, Aging Today


Each of the American Society on Aging's (ASA) eight constituent groups bring together professionals in the field of aging with particular interests through targeted newsletters, conference sessions, Web pages and more. In the last issue of Aging Today, we profiled the Business Forum on Aging and the Forum on Religion, Spirituality and Aging.

In this issue, we highlight two constituent groups that are working to promote key initiatives that advance ASA's 2005-2010 strategic plan. ASA has long been a leader in research, practice and policy linkages, due in large part to the network of healthcare professionals from a variety of service settings who comprise a large number of ASA members. Despite 30 years of effort, Healthcare providers are still searching for optimum models to apply in integrating preventive, acute and long-term care and for a favorable public-policy environment. ASA seeks to be the leader in integrating research, practice and policy to address issues in aging in an increasingly diverse society-and ASA's constituent groups will play a key role in this task.

ASA also seeks to reflect a strengthsbased approach to aging in its publications, member services and leadershipdevelopment activities. Strengths-based approaches affirm what older adults have to offer in improving quality of life for themselves and their communities. Critical to this approach are fostering opportunities for creative aging, lifelong learning, civic engagement and the pursuit of deeper meaning through religion or spirituality, hi coming issues of the "ASA Update" column, I will continue to focus on activities of ASA constituent groups in advancing ASA's strategic plan.

HAN

The Healthcare and Aging Network (HAN) is a professional community of individuals and organizations working to promote innovative, high-quality approaches to meeting the healthcare needs of older adults. The network facilitates information exchange and collaboration among policymakers, researchers and service providers. HAN members are interested in a variety of issues affecting diverse populations, including managing high-risk populations of older adults; coordinating care across the continuum of home, community and institutional settings; promoting maximum health and functional independence for elders; and strengthening consumer involvement in healthcare. With nearly 1,500 members, HAN continues to be the largest constituent group within ASA.

HAN's quarterly newsletter, Healthcare and Aging, provides leading-edge information about the special health needs of older adults, as well as identifying and promoting best practices. Recent issues of the newsletter included a focus on health disparities and chronic conditions'(spring 2005) and on culture, health and aging (summer 2005). Future issues will examine innovative programs on caring for family caregivers (fall 2005) and concerns about palliative and endof-life care (winter 2006). In addition, HAJST members receive the monthly enewsletter HealthWord, which provides education and resources to help professionals in the field of aging improve health promotion and disease prevention efforts aimed at older adults.

In collaboration with Pfizer Medical Humanities Initiative, HAN sponsors the annual Healthcare and Aging Awards program. This year, more than 30 projects have been nominated for offering innovative approaches that enhance functioning and health-related quality of life for older adults. Up to six programs will be selected to receive a $2,500 cash award and will be honored at the 2006 Joint Conference of ASA and the National Council on the Aging in Anaheim, March 16-19.

INTEGRATING CARE

Also planned for the Joint Conference is the HAN special program "Integration and Long-Term Care: Where Are We? Where Are We Going?" This daylong program, sponsored by SCAN Health Plan, will address the need for seamless integration of health and social services to help older adults and others with disabilities. …

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