Session: Community-Engaged Research to Advance Social and Health Equity Among Diverse Older Adults (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

329 Community-Engaged Research to Advance Social and Health Equity Among Diverse Older Adults

Sunday, January 19, 2020: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Marquis BR Salon 10, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Aging Services and Gerontology (A&G)
Symposium Organizer:
Daniel Gardner, PhD, Hunter College
Nancy Giunta, Hunter College
The U.S. population is rapidly aging, and this trend is expected to continue well into the 21st Century. By the year 2020, for the first time in history there will be more Americans who are age 65 years or older than children five or under, and by 2030, 20% of the nation will be over the age of 65. In addition to living healthier, longer lives, older adults are growing more diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), economic security, national origin, and residence. Research aimed at understanding the distinct needs of these populations and of inequities affecting diverse older communities is critical to enhancing their health and wellbeing.

This symposium highlights the innovative scholarship of Silberman Aging: A Hartford Center of Excellence in Diverse Aging, as the Center begins its sixth year. Through community-based research and academic-community collaborations, Center researchers examine inequities and develop interventions and policies that reduce barriers and promote justice for marginalized communities of older adults.

The first paper describes the development and evaluation of a Community-Based Participatory Research initiative that developed, piloted, and evaluated an intervention utilizing Natural Helpers to increase capacity around Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias in an urban Latino community. The second study analyzed data from a national survey to examine financial hardship and cost-related coping among older adults living with cancer. The third presents results of the evaluation of a pilot telehealth intervention with mixed online and telephone participation designed to provide psychosocial support to rural elders. The fourth paper describes the development and results from a six-year evaluation of a nation-wide training initiative that promotes cultural competencies among aging services providers working with LGBTQ elders. Finally, the fifth presents preliminary results from a federally-funded mixed-methods study that explored barriers and facilitators to palliative care among older Latino and African American elders living with serious illness.

Although substantively and methodologically varied, these studies all explore social and health disparities facing diverse communities of older adults. These research projects explore the micro, mezzo, and macro causes of inequities, and reflect the complexities of intersecting differences related to age and race/ethnicity, gender, economic status, sexual orientation and gender identity, nationality and residence, among other dynamics. As is proposed in the AASWSW's Grand Challenges, Social Work is at the forefront of research, practice, and advocacy on inequities in health, economic security, and access to social services and resources in marginalized populations. The community-based research and engagement conducted by Silberman Aging over the past six years has examined inequities and helped to develop innovative interventions, policies, and change strategies. The research presented in this symposium contributes to the scientific discourse on social justice in later life by advancing our understanding of social problems and helping to promote social and health equity among diverse older adults and their communities.

* noted as presenting author
Reducing Inequalities in Access to Knowledge and Resources Addressing Dementia in a Latino Community
Caroline Gelman, PhD, Hunter College; Nancy Giunta, Hunter College
Increasing LGBT Cultural Sensitivity in Aging Services: Service Providers Baseline Knowledge and Training Needs
Austin Oswald, MA, The Graduate Center, City University of New York; Nancy Giunta, Hunter College
Promoting Community Access to Palliative and Supportive Care Among Diverse, Medically-Underserved Older Adults
Daniel Gardner, PhD, Hunter College; Meredith Doherty, LCSW, Hunter College
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