Ensuring Effective Leadership to Improve Care to Older Adults: The Practice Change Fellows Program


The Practice Change Fellows program is a two year opportunity for nurses, physicians, and social workers to develop leadership skills and content expertise in order to positively influence care for older adults. Fellows complete a project aimed at implementing a new geriatric program or service line integrated within their organization, allowing them to remain at their full time job throughout the two year program.

Our nation's health delivery system frequently does not meet the unique needs of older adults. Wide gaps remain between evidence-based approaches, nationally recognized best practices, and how care is currently delivered for many conditions that disproportionately affect this population. Strong leadership is needed to ensure that promising innovations are implemented to improve health and functional outcomes in older adults.

The Practice Change Fellows program is designed to expand the number of health care leaders who can effectively promote high quality care to older adults in a wide range of health and health care organizations. Building a cadre of health care professionals who possess the essential leadership skills and understanding of promising innovations in care for older adults will ensure that this country will be prepared to meet the challenges of an expanding aged population.

The short-term goal of this program is to transform health care professionals working within the broadly defined delivery system into effective leaders. These leaders will have strong management skills and content expertise to effectuate practice improvement within their organizations to better meet the needs of older adults. The long-term goal is to establish a vigorous network of health care practice change specialists with the capacity to influence care for this population on a national scale.

The Practice Change Fellows program is made possible by the generous support of The Atlantic Philanthropies and The John A. Hartford Foundation.

The mission of The Atlantic Philanthropies is to bring about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Through its Ageing Programme, The Atlantic Philanthropies aims to help transform how aging is viewed within society and improve the way older persons are treated by society. They focus on aging in Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and the United States. General aims include ensuring that older adults:

  • are treated with dignity and respect;
  • are fully empowered to shape their own destinies;
  • have access to health and support systems;
  • are represented by a strong cadre of leaders; and
  • are able to contribute actively their expertise and abilities for the good of society.

Founded in 1929, the John A. Hartford Foundation is a committed champion of training, research and service system innovations that promote the health and independence of America 's older adults. Through its grantmaking, the Foundation seeks to strengthen the nation's capacity to provide effective, affordable care to this rapidly increasing older population by educating "aging-prepared" health professionals (physicians, nurses, social workers), and developing innovations that improve and better integrate health and supportive services. The Foundation was established by John A. Hartford. Mr. Hartford and his brother, George L. Hartford, both former chief executives of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, left the bulk of their estates to the Foundation upon their deaths in the 1950s.