Retooling for an
Aging America

For much of the past 30 years, the Hartford Foundation and its grantees have recognized that our healthcare workforce was insufficiently prepared for the growing number of Baby Boomers entering older adulthood. Of course, many of our philanthropic partners understood this looming crisis as well. In 2007, with nine other funders who shared our vision (see box) the Foundation commissioned a national research report, sponsored by the Institute of Medicine.

The result was Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, released in 2008, which outlined the critical need to enhance the geriatrics competence of all doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals; increase the recruitment and retention of geriatrics specialists and caregivers; and expand the use of evidence-based models of care that yield better health outcomes for older adults.

The breadth of funding we were able to coalesce in support of this essential report demonstrates how the field of aging and health came together to recognize a common opportunity.” Corinne H. Rieder, EdD
Executive Director and Treasurer
The John A. Hartford Foundation

“The breadth of funding we were able to coalesce in support of this essential report demonstrates how the field of aging and health came together to recognize a common opportunity,” says Dr. Rieder, who played a key role in recruiting the report’s sponsors.

The Foundation worked with all of the report’s partners and the Foundation’s grantees to disseminate the results of the report to help translate its recommendations into reality.

One of the key partners in this process was the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), the oldest not-for-profit organization of health professionals devoted to improving the health, independence, and quality of life of all older people in the United States. AGS had run (and in some cases continues to run) several Foundation-funded workforce initiatives to increase the geriatrics expertise within the surgical and related specialties, and in the subspecialties in Internal Medicine, as well as to enhance the leadership of academic geriatrics programs around the country.

Following the release of the Retooling report, AGS along with the Paraprofessional Healthcare Insititute became instrumental in the founding of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA), funded by Hartford and The Atlantic Philanthropies, which includes representatives from 28 national organizations, and continues to advocate for many of the reforms articulated in the report.

“The IOM report really laid out the current readiness of the health care workforce to care for older adults,” says AGS CEO Jennie Chin Hansen. “The report continues to anchor much of the work we do in partnership with others as we look to transform graduate medical education, payment, and workforce policies to assure that older adults receive safer and more knowledgeable care in more logical and aligned care systems.”

retooling for an aging americaFunders

“Retooling for an
Aging America”

• The Atlantic Philanthropies
• Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation
• Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
• The Retirement Research Foundation
• The California Endowment
• The Archstone Foundation
• AARP Foundation
• The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels
Foundation, Inc.
• The Commonwealth Fund
• The John A. Hartford Foundation

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