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Background material for a AAUWNC health education program

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In the Advocacy Committee Draft Report for the July 15th meeting there is a short paragraph about a healthcare study done by the NC Center for Public Policy Research and how AAUWNC could be a leader in educating the public about the current definition of aging…a lifelong process that begins at birth and ends at death.  We would advocate for the changes needed to provide North Carolinians excellent healthcare from birth to death. 

Mr. Ran Coble, Executive Director of the NC Center for Public Policy Research, and the Center’s Board of Directors made a decision to undertake a “New Study of Aging Issues in NC including the Study of Nursing Shortages,” This research is unique in that it views aging as a life long process
starting at birth and continuing throughout one’s life span. Another concept is consideration of the needs and opportunities for education about “aging issues” are a continuing feature of life long learning experiences. AAUW’s mission statement states that the organization promotes life long learning. Helen and I view this as AAUWNC’s opportunity to be a leader in lifelong learning. This research study will involve the state’s academic leaders: Ersking Bowles, President, UNC; Martin Lancaster, President, NC Community Colleges; Sec. of Education of NC, Chairman, NC Board of
Education, Mr. Howard Lee; the Leader of NC Association of Educators; the Public School Forum. The General
Assembly and local governing bodies will be involved with the impacts and implications of demographic trends on legislative priorities. Where does AAUW play a role? We would be the lead with other organizations such as NCWU, BPWNC, LWVNC, Women’s Forum of NC, working to change public attitudes and views about “Aging”.

For instance, many believe that the term “aging” refers mainly to “old people”. We envision being a part of an education program that serves a diverse population. I’m quoting Florence Solyts, “With the aging of the baby boom generation, now more than ever, it is critical to infuse
gerontology education (from grade school to graduate school) with intellectual rigor, practical relevance
and passion. This track will emphasize innovations including novel forms of intergenerational sharing, distance learning technologies and cutting edge instructional strategies as approaches to enriching education in the South”. 
Dr. Helen Martikainen and I feel this is a  “made for AAUWNC” opportunity to be involved.  The key people involved are “movers and shakers” and we think we can make a real difference. Many of you will remember that at our state convention at Black Mountain several years ago Dr. Solyts discussed some of the infrastructure that will be needed for healthcare of our growing population in NC.  The medical community has defined aging as a birth to death process and we have an opportunity to work on the cutting edge in educating the public to this concept and in advocating the implementation of the needed changes.