FOR RELEASE: November 13, 2018
Public Health Leaders from 37 Florida Counties Participate in Planning Forum
Washington, DC — Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) is pleased to announce the launch of the Florida Age-Friendly Public Health Collaborative and Action Network. Working directly with the Florida Department of Health and with generous funding from The John A. Hartford Foundation, the collaborative and action network will help Florida’s local health departments improve the health and well-being of older adults. During the launch with representatives of Florida’s 37 participating counties, TFAH President and CEO John Auerbach called this effort “a historic moment in public health and a crucial collaboration between the public health and aging sectors.”
There is growing momentum for public health to contribute to programs, policies, and innovative interventions to promote health as people age. Although public health efforts are partly responsible for the dramatic increases in longevity over the 20th Century, historically, there have been limited collaborations across the health and aging fields.
“Longevity and our growing older adult population is a remarkable success story, and it requires all sectors of society to prepare,” said Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, President of The John A. Hartford Foundation. “I’ve been extremely impressed with Florida’s commitment and creativity in pro-actively getting ahead of the curve, so that age-friendly public health solutions are in place for the state and as a model for the entire country.”
“Florida is excited about the opportunity to work with TFAH to advance age-friendly public health,” said Florida’s State Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip. “Addressing the needs of older populations is an important aspect of promoting health equity and the Department is committed to ensuring that every Floridian has the opportunity to be healthy in every stage of their life. The counties participating in this project represent two-thirds of our population, but we know that all our citizens will benefit from the policies and best practices this partnership will develop.”
Demographic changes now underway are spurring an urgency among all sectors and professions to focus on the comprehensive needs of our aging society. In 1900, about three million Americans—about four percent of the total population—were aged 65 and over. By 2014, that number had risen to 46 million—about 15 percent of the population. The oldest members of the baby-boomer generation turned 65 in 2011, launching a rapid increase in the number of older adults that will continue indefinitely—by 2030, about one in five Americans will be 65 or older.
In October 2017, TFAH brought together 30 experts in public health, aging, research, and policy to explore whether and how public health could contribute to the health of older adults. Convening participants all agreed that public health could play many unique and important roles in healthy aging and developed a Framework for Creating an Age-Friendly Public Health System to advance public health’s role at the local, state, and national levels.
Through the Florida Age-Friendly Public Health Network, TFAH is identifying and sharing case studies and best practices, developing tools and training resources, and offering expert technical assistance based on the variety of needs of Florida’s diverse communities. More than half of Florida’s local health departments have already identified issue areas that could be strengthened via the collaborative, including emergency preparedness, social isolation, chronic disease management, transportation, and housing. TFAH looks forward to sharing the results of this initiative with public health stakeholders and policymakers, and to work with state and national partners to advance the work nation-wide.
Trust for America’s Health is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes optimal health for every person and community and makes the prevention of illness and injury a national priority. WWW.tfah.org
The John A. Hartford Foundation, based in New York City, is a private, nonpartisan, national philanthropy dedicated to improving the care of older adults. The leader in the field of aging and health, the Foundation has three priority areas: creating age-friendly health systems, supporting family caregivers, and improving serious illness and end-of-life care. For more information, visit johnahartford.org and follow @johnahartford.