The Fund supports several networks of state health policymakers to help identify, inspire, and inform policy leaders.
The Fund identifies and shares policy ideas and analysis on topics important to state health policymakers, particularly on issues related to state leadership, primary care, aging, and total costs of care.
Keep up with news and updates from the Milbank Memorial Fund. And read the latest blogs from our thought leaders, including Fund President Christopher F. Koller.
The Fund publishes The Milbank Quarterly, as well as reports, issues briefs, and case studies on topics important to health policy leaders.
The Milbank Memorial Fund is an endowed operating foundation that publishes The Milbank Quarterly, commissions projects, and convenes state health policy decision makers on issues they identify as important to population health.
August 22, 2019
The Health of Aging Populations
Back to The Milbank Blog
Our country’s public health system, which protects and promotes the health of communities, has contributed to much longer life expectancies. Today U.S. life expectancy at birth is 79 years compared to 55 a century ago. It’s now time for public health to work with aging agencies and other community partners to help our growing population of older adults remain healthy and independent.
Drawing on the skills and functions developed in public health education and practice, a public health system can help promote older residents’ health, including their physical, emotional, and cognitive health, and their ability to engage with their communities. After all, 80 percent of older people have at least one chronic condition such as diabetes or cancer and half have two or more. Managing these conditions is often complicated by isolation and loneliness, financial struggles, and limited access to transportation, healthy food, and affordable housing.
Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and The John A. Hartford Foundation have developed the “Framework for Creating Age-Friendly Public Health Systems,” which describes five key roles that the 3,000 public health departments across the country could fulfill to address the challenges and opportunities an aging society presents. Below, we outline these roles and include examples from state and county health departments in Florida, Oregon, and California that are building on the Age-Friendly Public Health framework.
Trust for America’s Health and The John A. Hartford Foundation are partnering to spread this model nationwide and will soon be offering training and support to help state and local health departments become Age-Friendly Public Health agencies.
Opportunities for public health to improve older adult health and well-being are many and each public health department can prioritize efforts to meet the specific needs of their communities. The five roles identified here offer a framework for public health leaders to pursue an important societal goal — helping our growing number of older Americans live healthily, independently, and productively for as long as possible.
John Auerbach is president and CEO of Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes optimal health for every person and community and makes the prevention of illness and injury a national priority.
Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, is president of The John A. Hartford Foundation, a private philanthropy dedicated to improving the care of older adults.
Aug 22, 2019
Jul 1, 2019
Nov 28, 2018
Get the Latest from the Milbank Memorial Fund
An endowed operating foundation that engages in nonpartisan analysis, collaboration, and communication, with an emphasis on state health policy.