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HHS Announces $15 Million Collaboration on Prevention for Older Americans

Resource type: News

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services |

WASHINGTON, July 5 /PRNewswire/ — HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced a $15 million collaboration with The Atlantic Philanthropies to improve the health and quality of life for older Americans at the community level. “This collaboration, led by the Administration on Aging (AoA) and involving several HHS agencies, states, and various public and private organizations at the community level, will empower older people to take more control of their own health through life style and behavioral changes that have proven effective in reducing the risk of disease and disability among the elderly,” Secretary Leavitt said. “Simply put, this collaboration will put the results of our research investments into the hands of older people so they can use it to improve the quality of their lives.”

Older Americans are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases and conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and heart disease, as well as by disabilities that result from injuries such as falls. Chronic conditions currently limit activities for 12 million older persons living in communities. These conditions collectively account for seven out of every 10 deaths, and more than three-quarters of all health expenditures in the United States. The HHS research has generated a growing body of scientific evidence on the effectiveness of interventions that can help older people to improve their health status by better managing their chronic diseases, improving their nutrition and diet, exercising more, and avoiding injuries such as falls.

Building on that knowledge base and subject to the availability of funding, HHS will support efforts over three years in up to 12 states to mobilize public/private collaborations that will support the delivery of evidence-based programs for seniors at the community level. These programs will be administered at the community level through non-profit aging services provider organizations, such as senior centers, nutrition programs, senior housing projects and faith-based organizations. At least 30 local communities will have programs up and running within a year. HHS is providing support to the Center for Healthy Aging at the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to provide technical assistance to the state grantees and local projects.

In addition, through a grant of up to $5 million to the Center for Healthy Aging, The Atlantic Philanthropies will provide additional financial support and technical assistance in up to five states that show significant potential in developing systems to reach large numbers of older adults. “The Atlantic Philanthropies are pleased to partner with HHS, NCOA and others in this important project that highlights our goal of empowering older people to play a greater role in their own health. We believe this important work will enable our older citizens to live better lives and will reduce health care costs,” said John R. Healy, chief executive officer of The Atlantic Philanthropies. In praising the announcement, Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina G. Carbonell said, “Aging services providers are in a unique position to recognize and ensure that effective prevention programs are available to older people, including under-served populations who often need the programs the most.” She added, “This exciting new initiative will once again mobilize AoA’s national aging services network, in collaboration with public health partners and other health care providers, to work with seniors in their own communities to help them adopt lifestyle and behavioral changes that can improve the quality of their lives.”

This collaboration will give special emphasis to implementing the Chronic Disease Self- Management Program developed by Stanford University and funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. It also expands on an existing grant program launched by AoA in 2003 in collaboration with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the National Institute on Aging, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, NCOA and several private foundations including the John A. Hartford Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to begin the deployment of evidence-based prevention programs for older people in over a dozen communities.

The HHS/Atlantic Philanthropies collaboration advances President Bush’s HealthierUS Initiative and Secretary Leavitt’s Prevention priority. It also supports and complements the department’s ongoing efforts to highlight the importance of preventive care and chronic disease management through Medicare.

The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic makes grants through its four programme areas – Ageing, Children & Youth, Population Health, and Reconciliation & Human Rights – and through Founding Chairman grants. Programmes funded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam. To learn more, please visit

For more information and a program announcement about the Empowering Older People to Take More Control of their Health through Evidence-Based Prevention Programs: A Public/Private Collaborative, please visit or call 202-357-0136. Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site:

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National Council on Aging, NCOA, senior citizens