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The Social Work Leadership Institute (SWLI) at The New York Academy of Medicine is a national initiative that supports healthy aging through coordinated care provided by an appropriately trained workforce. SWLI’s primary goal is to ensure that America’s older adults and their caregivers are able to navigate complex systems of care and gain access to high quality health and social services within a home and community based setting. To accomplish this goal, SWLI focuses on overcoming fragmentation and improving the manner in which care is delivered to older adults, especially those with multiple chronic conditions. SWLI supports initiatives that expand the workforce of professionals trained in aging care, with a focus on the important role of social work in addressing the needs of older adults. This work is accomplished through policy advocacy, education and training, leadership development, and research and evidence building.
The Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education (HPPAE, formerly the Practicum Partnership Program) is transforming how geriatric education is taught at Masters of Social Work programs nationwide. Founded on the conviction that strong partnerships must be developed between academia and community agencies serving older adults, the program aims to increase the number of graduate students specializing in gerontology and develop new sites for aging-related fieldwork. Its unique fieldwork model rotates students through different agencies so they can gain a rich perspective of the full spectrum of aging. In 2009, NYAM began an expansion effort to implement HPPAE at all US schools of social work.
The Leadership Academy in Aging was developed in partnership with the National Association of Deans and Directors (NADD) to foster leadership in aging care. Engaging administrators of social work schools and programs across the country, the Academy aims to build participants’ capacity for addressing the needs of America’s aging population. Participants develop leadership skills, strengthen their knowledge of the field of aging, and emerge from the year-long program in a better position to advance the Hartford Partnership Program’s educational model and to advocate for policies that enable older adults to stay in charge of their lives as they age. The third annual Deans and Directors Leadership Academy in Aging began in October 2010.
The Center for Aging Policy aims to solidify initiatives in public policy that will strengthen health and support services for older adults. The Center also works to articulate evidence-based research in support of comprehensive care coordination and document the need for a competent workforce in order to educate and inform the development of appropriate policies in support of older adults. CAP is currently building awareness on the need to implement evidence-based policy on the state and federal level, in concert with national and local leaders in aging, health and medical care, long-term care and various professional groups including physicians, nurses, social workers and other care managers, as well as family and personal caregivers and consumers. CAP produces publications including policy bulletins, white papers, and other background materials that focus on workforce issues, the importance of care coordination in linking health/ medicine with community and long term care services, and the role of social work in providing services to older adults.
The National Coalition on Care Coordination (N3C) was formed by SWLI in partnership with the American Society on Aging (ASA). The Coalition uses evidence-based research and best practices to advance public policies in support of comprehensive care coordination for older adults. The Coalition was successful in making certain that the new federal law, the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, incorporates access to care coordination. N3C also builds consensus among stakeholder organizations and advocates for enactment of public policies that support care coordination which effectively link health and long-term care on behalf of vulnerable populations – with particular focus on older adults. Commissioned papers include “The Promise of Care Coordination: An Analysis of Care Coordination Models that Can Reduce Hospitalization and Expenditures among Medicare Beneficiaries and Improve Quality of Care,” authored by Dr. Randall Brown of Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
SWLI is building evidence to support a stronger aging care workforce and better care coordination by maintaining the searchable online Evidence Database on Aging Care. The database comprises a catalogue of professional journal articles on the latest research and innovations in aging care including health care and social services; a glossary; and links to relevant websites and databases including a Grey Literature search engine developed by the NYAM Library staff.
SWLI is a member of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance, a group of 28 national organizations working together to address the crisis in caring for an aging America. EWA works aggressively in the policy and advocacy arenas in order to effect change through legislative and regulatory actions. The Alliance is funded through both private foundation funding (The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John A. Hartford Foundation) and member organization donations and is a project of the Tides Center and the Tides Advocacy Fund.
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