By Elizabeth Dugan, PhD, Associate Professor of Gerontology, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston
The Healthy Aging research team at the Gerontology Institute of the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston is so excited to release our research reporting nearly 100 indicators for 367 communities in Massachusetts. For the first time ever, every city and town, plus the 16 Boston neighborhoods, have a unique report of healthy aging and can compare their scores to state averages.
This will allow community members to see where they are doing well and what areas need work. One thing that struck me was the variability that we see across the state. There is no single pattern that seems to explain how and why some are doing well on one indicator but poorly on another. We are eager to explore this variability more fully in this next year.
I want to introduce our research team: Frank Porell PhD, is a Professor of Gerontology and leader of our quantitative analyses core. He was assisted by two outstanding doctoral gerontology students: Chae Man (Jay) Lee and Joo Suk Chae. Jay also created the maps of the indicators that help tell the story of our data. Nina Silverstein PhD, is Professor of Gerontology and led our preliminary research and dissemination efforts. Nina also helped with our environmental scan and in selecting indicators. Nina and I were assisted by two fantastic doctoral gerontology students: Kristina Turk and Brittany Gaines. We were also assisted by my cousin, Amanda Cox – who happens to make charts and graphs for The New York Times. Amanda created the interactive maps of the chronic disease indicators, which are such a dynamic way to view the data. I can’t express how proud I am of the team and grateful for their skills and extraordinary effort. I also want to thank the Tufts Health Plan Foundation for its leadership and support. The project wouldn’t have happened without the foundation’s commitment to healthy aging.
Our dream is that this effort will spawn a healthy aging revolution in Massachusetts. Through greater awareness, focused effort, and smart policy making we hope to push Massachusetts to being a national leader in healthy aging. Please join us.