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.