Policy Series

GSA’s 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting offers a unique opportunity to learn how GSA members are applying research findings and analyses to generate solutions to the most pressing aging-related policy issues facing policy makers today. Known as the popular “Policy Series,” these sessions and symposia feature researchers from a range of disciplines as well as congressional staff and policy analysts. 

Follow @aging_society on Twitter and visit GSA’s Policy Center to subscribe to the free bimonthly e-newsletter for updates on aging and policy issues throughout the year.

Wednesday, November 13

Women's Planning Decisions and Choices Affect Financial Wellness in Later Life
2:30 to 4 p.m.
Chair: Cindy Hounsell
Moderator: Brian Lindberg 
Panelists: Carol Bogosian, Ted Goldman, Beth Almeida
Today's older adults are spending more time in retirement than in the years planning for it. Panelists will present research on retirees 85 and over and how they are managing their finances, on how residents in the U.S., U.K., and Australia are (or are not) preparing for their retirement, as well as on the barriers to saving that exist for Latina workers. 

Policy Update: Older Adult Nutrition and Malnutrition
4:30 to 6 p.m.
Chair: Meredith Whitmire 
Co-Chair: Robert Blancato
This federal policy update will include discussion of the Older Americans Act nutrition programs and their reauthorization progress, older adult programs under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and advances in nutrition services being made in healthcare programs such as Medicare Advantage and managed long-term care services and supports. 

Thursday, November 14

Reefer Madness, Sadness, or Gladness? The Cannabis and Older Persons Study
8 to 9:30 a.m.
Chair: Brian Kaskie
Discussant: Julie Bobitt
Panelists: Namkee Choi, Julie Bobitt, Sara Qualls, Freddi Segal-Gidan 
This session will feature a study conducted by an interdisciplinary team that examined a range of issues including: (a) life-span attitudes toward cannabis, (b) clinical perspectives on counseling and certifying older persons for medical cannabis, (c) provider perspectives on state cannabis policy and program implementation, (d) cannabis use among dementia caregivers, and (e) outcomes experienced by older persons who use cannabis for medical or recreational purposes.

Older Americans Act: Reauthorization Process and Outcomes
12 to 1:30 p.m.
Chair: Brian Lindberg
Discussant: Patricia D'Antonio
Panelists: Bob Blancato, Grace Whiting, Andrew MacPherson, Amy Gotwals
The Older Americans Act (OAA) reauthorization looks like the perfect bipartisan bill supporting older adults to move forward in 2019. This session provides a DC-insiders look at the proposed revisions to the law, and the roles of the House, Senate, and the presidential administration. Key players in the process make up the panel and will share their insights and predications on the OAA’s future.

The HRSA Geriatrics Education Initiatives: A Policy and Program Update
5 to 6:30 p.m.
Chair: Catherine Carrico
Discussant: Brian Lindberg
Panelist: Catherine Carrico, Leland Waters, Marla Berg-Weger, Kathryn Hyer, Tara A. Cortes, Jennifer J. Severance, Thomas V. Caprio
This session will address the evolving work of Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Programs (GWEP). The return of the Geriatrics Academic Career Award program indicates the success of advocacy efforts to increase programs to support geriatric training and the development of geriatric academic professionals. Presentations will explore the policy priorities reflected in the GWEP notice of funding opportunity, including the use of technology for training and care delivery, the age-friendly healthcare and dementia-friendly community initiatives.

Friday, November 15

Interdisciplinary Public Policy Discussion Session
8 to 9:30 a.m.
Chair: Linda K. Harootyan
Discussant: Brian Lindberg
Panelist: Linda K. Harootyan, Scott Leiser, Robert Harootyan, Karl Pillemer, Stephen Kritchevsky
This interactive session is an interdisciplinary look at policy issues in aging with the speakers representing the four sections of GSA. This session, organized by the GSA Public Policy Committee, will provide both GSA section leadership and attendees an opportunity to have an open dialogue on important public policy issues of significance in the field of aging. 

Research, Policy, and Practice: Impacts of Discrimination
10 to 11:30 a.m.
Chair: Patricia D'Antonio
Discussant: John Feather
Panelist: Charles Emlet, Tracey Gendron, Karen Frediksen-Goldsen
Aging crosses all domestic and international borders and affects everyone regardless of religion, race, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The main purpose of The Gerontological Society of America is “to advance the scientific and scholarly study of aging and to promote human welfare by the encouragement of gerontology in all its areas.” Yet in 2019, policies remain in effect that impact individuals in a discriminatory manner.

The program will highlight research in several areas that demonstrate the effects of these discriminatory practices.

Aging as Disease: Implications and Repercussions (Momentum Discussion)
3:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Chair: Linda K. Harootyan
Discussant: Scott Leiser
Panelist: Peter Boling, Tara L. McMullen, Jamie N. Justice, Joan Mannick
We are on the cusp of having treatments that slow aging in multiple model systems and are nearly ready for clinical studies. This session asks the question “is aging a disease?” (or “what if aging was a disease?”) from the scientific research, policy, and clinical perspectives, and addresses the overall benefits and drawbacks of considering the leading disease-causing process as a disease itself. The session will devote a significant amount of time for questions and discussion of this thought-provoking topic.

Congressional Update
5 to 6:30 p.m.
Chair and Moderator: Brian Lindberg
Panelists: TBA
This popular annual session will provide cutting-edge information on what the 116th Congress has and has not accomplished to date, and what may be possible during an election year. Speakers will discuss key issues such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act. Hill staffers, advocates, and lobbyists will present.

Saturday, November 16

Harnessing Social Networks to Optimize Environmental Contexts for Diverse Aging Experiences (Presidential Symposium)
8 to 9:30 a.m.
Chair: Philip Rozario
Co-Chair: Emily Greenfield
Discussant: Nancy Kusmaul
Panelist: Harry O. Taylor, Caroline Gelman, Sato Ashida
The three papers in this symposium draw on the convoy model of social relations and ecological model to examine and better understand the micro, mezzo, macro contexts that shape and influence how older people engage with and benefit from their networks in three contexts: low-income senior housing communities, urban areas specifically targeting older Latinos with dementia, and disaster preparedness in micropolitan counties in eastern Iowa. These papers will consider practice, policy and research implications in strengthening social networks and engagement to optimize older adults’ well-being in various settings.

Addressing Loneliness Among Older Adults Through Research, Community Programs, and a New Federal Policy Agenda
12 to 1:30 p.m.
Chair: Erica Solway
Discussant: Brian Lindberg
Panelist: Erica Solway, Catherine Spensley, Andrew MacPherson
A growing body of research has found that chronic loneliness can impact memory, physical well-being, mental health, and life expectancy and rivals the impact on health outcomes of obesity and smoking. Presenters will highlight results from a poll conducted among a nationally representative sample of adults age 50 to 80, will describe lessons learned in developing and delivering culturally and linguistically appropriate programs and services that foster social connections, and will describe stakeholder efforts to advocate for legislative and regulatory policies.

New Family Caregiving Research to Support Policy and Practice Change
3:30 to 5 p.m.
Chair: Jean Accius
Discussant: Heather Young 
Panelist: Susan Reinhard, Lynn Friss Feinberg, Ari Houser
This symposium highlights new research on the increasing complexity of the challenges facing family caregivers, new data on the economic value of the unpaid contributions of family caregivers, and the growing importance of family caregiving on the public policy agenda. It will identify potential drivers for developing a better system of family support at the federal and state levels.

Elder Abuse and the Opioid Epidemic in Rural America
5:30 to 7 p.m.
Chair: Pamela Teaster
Discussant: Robert Blancato
Panelist: Pamela Teaster, Karen Roberto, Brian Lindberg
Older adults are generally excluded from consideration of those who are affected by the opioid epidemic. Far too frequently, older people become easy targets for abuse by persons needing resources to feed their addiction. Using Adult Protective Services case notes, the session will characterize cases of elder abuse in rural communities and share recommendations on strategies for prevention, intervention, and policy.




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