It sounds simple: to fix American health care we just need to spend less on ineffective treatments and invest more in high quality medical care. And like solutions that sound simple, getting this balance right can be devilishly difficult.
Groups like the Alliance for Aging Research and the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) have long been calling attention to the looming crisis that we face with extreme current and projected shortages in our geriatric workforce. According to recent data from AGS there are currently only 7,029 certified geriatricians in the U.S. —half of what we currently need—and those numbers are in steep decline. Just imagine what these numbers will look like when our 65 and older population grows from 40.3 million now to 72.1 million in 2030.
We are very excited at the Alliance for Aging Research to announce that Linda Fried, MD, MPH, Dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, is the recipient of this year’s MetLife Foundation Silver Scholar Award. Dr. Fried is a well-respected and well-known scholar and was selected in honor of her innovative work contributing pragmatic solutions to address the rising cost of health care associated with the aging of our nation, preventive strategies aimed at keeping aging populations healthier longer, and thought leadership on the positive contributions that greater longevity brings to society.
TEDMED left its home in San Diego this year to debut at the Kennedy Center in DC, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The speaker line-up was full of big names like Francis Collins, Katie Couric, and Billie Jean King and the big ideas ranged from designing new DNA, to using mathematics to personalize cancer treatments, to the shift of the scientific method in the face of a data-dominated world. One particularly interesting talk came from our own President & CEO Daniel Perry, who spoke about whether or not “Cells Have a Mid-Life Crisis.”
Last Wednesday the Alliance for Aging Research released the 7th volume of The Silver Book series. This latest volume focuses on vision loss and was released in partnership with the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (AEVR) during their Decade of Vision: 2010-2020. This is the second vision loss volume and includes updated data on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma—which along with cataract are the eye diseases that disproportionately impact older Americans. This new volume also highlights the exciting changes and discoveries in vision research and treatment from the past five years.
This week’s press event announcing an immediate $50 million infusion of NIH funding to Alzheimer’s research—along with commitments to include an additional $80 million in research dollars and $26 million in services and supports in the President’s FY 2013 budget—was monumental on a number of fronts.