Date of Award
Master of Public Health (MPH)
Russell Toal, MPH
Lynda Anderson, Ph.D.
Sheryl Strasser, Ph.D., CHES
The purpose of this capstone project was to develop the content for an online training module entitled Promoting Older Adults’ Health through Policy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Aging and Health Work Group was interested in complementing their workshop, Promoting Older Adults’ Health: Opportunities and Resources for CDC Professionals with an online training module on aging and policy.
This project highlights significant pieces of U.S. legislation that promotes older adults’ health and draws attention to emerging policy, systems, and environmental changes on the horizon. An anticipated short-term outcome is a demonstrated sensitivity to population aging in all CDC centers, divisions, programs, and initiatives. Similarly, an anticipated long-term outcome is growth in the number, quality, and scope of collaborative efforts across CDC centers, divisions, programs, and initiatives that focus on older adults’ health.
Two perspectives, “Healthy Aging” and “Successful Aging,” provide the foundation for a discussion of legislation and policies oriented towards older adults’ health. Various policy frameworks, i.e., cost-benefit, problem, political, vision, and a futures policy approach frame the discussion of policy development. Significant legislation that promotes older adults’ health, i.e., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act of 1965 provide a historical context for a discussion of emerging policy, systems, and environmental changes that promise even greater advances. The mobility challenge for older adults as a population group in the U.S. provides the thematic thrust of this section of the module. Examples of CDC’s work exploring the link between older adults’ health and mobility, the built environment, and emergency preparedness are highlighted based on several criteria: burden of the problem, preventability, relationship to other CDC initiatives, and usefulness to practitioners are critical considerations.
The module also discusses how legislation and policies designed to promote health aging also improve the quality of life for all population groups. Policies focused on healthy aging lay the groundwork for an integration of a “health in all policies” approach (World Health Organization/ WHO, 2006), working in tandem with the “health for all” framework (WHO, 1998) and the “society for all ages” construct (United Nations, 1999).
Buckmaster, Pamela L., "Promoting Older Adults' Health through Policy" (2010). Public Health Theses. Paper 81.