United Hospital Fund's Fredda Vladeck Receives M. Powell Lawton Quality of Life Award for Transforming Communities into Good Places to Grow Old
Ms. Vladeck Presents Conference Keynote “Community Matters: Rethinking an Aging Society”
Fredda Vladeck, director of the Aging in Place Initiative at United Hospital Fund, today received the 2012 M. Powell Lawton Quality of Life Award from the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging for her pioneering work in transforming communities into good places to grow old. The award was presented as part of a Philadelphia Corporation for Aging conference on urban aging.
In accepting the award, Ms. Vladeck delivered the conference’s keynote address, “Community Matters: Rethinking an Aging Society,” in which she raised issues that need to be addressed in order to make more communities in which older adults live in America good places to grow old.
In explaining the choice of Ms. Vladeck as the 2012 honoree, the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging announced: “As founder of the nation’s first NORC Supportive Service Program, she developed a national model for a collaborative, community-based service delivery system for seniors.” “NORC”—short for naturally occurring retirement community—is a demographic term used to describe a community that, while not originally built for seniors, is home to a significant proportion of older residents.
In her current position at United Hospital Fund, Ms. Vladeck works to advance new service delivery models—especially ones that bring together health care and community service providers—for the growing number of people who are aging in place in their communities. She has overseen NORC Blueprint, a Web-based guide to developing more effective NORC supportive service programs; the Health Indicators in NORC Programs Initiative, a project to create interventions to improve the health of seniors; and the NORC Health Care Linkage Project, an initiative to link NORCs and key health care providers serving their communities.
Named in honor of the late M. Powell Lawton, PhD, behavioral psychologist and international authority on aging, the Lawton Award honors an individual who is nationally recognized for professional accomplishments in his or her field, demonstrates commitment to improving the quality of life for others, and who has exemplified an active lifestyle.
“M. Powell Lawton was one of my heroes in changing how we think of older adults,” said Ms. Vladeck. “Instead of defining them by their problems—a hip fracture, demented, a wound care person, paranoid, and any other deficit-based diagnosis you can think of—Lawton gave us a framework with which to understand the transactional relationship between older adults and their environments—‘all that lies outside the individual.’ He taught us that, as the competencies of older adults change, the adaptations that are made can impact the quality of their lives. Because of his importance in shaping my career, I am especially flattered and humbled to receive the 2012 Lawton Award.”
Past Lawton Award honorees have included U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop, broadcast journalist Hugh Downs, and former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania Harris Wofford.
Among the issues Ms. Vladeck raised in her keynote were creating uniform definitions and terminology (“What metrics should be used to determine an aged-in community, and what boundaries should be used to define it?”), figuring out which program works for whom (“Not every community needs a NORC program, so how do we select what to pursue?”), measuring outcomes (“How do we know that what we are doing is maximizing or improving the health of a community?’), and guiding and motivating leadership (“Some national leaders may need to move beyond their comfort zone in contracting for specific services to make sure what they actually do match what they are trying to achieve.”).
“The United Hospital Fund is fortunate to have a number of nationally recognized thought leaders, and Fredda Vladeck is a prime example,” said Jim Tallon, president of the Fund. “We greatly value Fredda’s ‘outside the box’ thinking, which continues to shape positive change by bringing together health care and community services, and we are delighted that the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging recognizes what a talent we have in her.”
About United Hospital Fund: United Hospital Fund is a health services research and philanthropic organization whose mission is to shape positive change in health care for the people of New York.