Federal Award Notes Tennessee’s Focus On Public Health For An Aging Population

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NASHVILLE  – The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) has received national recognition in its efforts to advance age-friendly, public health policies and practices statewide in communities and health systems.

Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) is designating TDH as an Advanced Age Friendly Public Health System, for its leadership and commitment to the health and well-being of the older adults.

The CDC is also awarding TDH another five years of grant funding through the Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (BOLD) to continue TDH’s efforts and programs in risk reduction, early diagnosis, and treatment for Tennesseans with Alzheimer’s.

“Our collaboration with many aging sector partners and stakeholders, such as AARP-TN, the Alzheimer’s Association- Tennessee Chapter, Alzheimer’s Tennessee, and TennCare is proving very successful as we advance efforts for the health and well-being of older Tennesseans,” Tennessee Health Commissioner Ralph Alvarado, MD, FACP, said. “We’re excited to continue our important work that’s helping older Tennesseans, and those facing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, along with their caregivers, access opportunities and resources to live their best lives.”

AFPHS Recognition

TFAH’s acknowledgement means TDH is making healthy aging a core public health issue in its health programs and services statewide. The AFPHS framework outlines roles public health is fulfilling in addressing challenges and opportunities for an aging population across multiple sectors, such as community and home-based services, workplaces, and in education and research.

“TFAH is thrilled to recognize TDH with our Advanced Age-Friendly Public Health Systems Recognition,” Megan Wolf, TFAH senior policy development manager, said. “TDH has clearly demonstrated leadership and commitment to improving the health of older Tennesseans and is championing the effort to align healthy aging policies and programs.

BOLD Grant Award

On Sept. 30, 2023, the CDC will make official its next five-years of BOLD grant funding with Tennessee joining 42 other local and state government entities as grant recipients. TDH will expand on progress the department has made in expanding dementia and Alzheimer’s care capacity since 2021. The BOLD grant funding over the next five years will be devoted to improving dementia and Alzheimer’s care linkages among community health systems and services, public health agencies, and community-based organizations.

By 2025, there could be 140,000 Tennesseans over age 65 living with Alzheimer’s, with an additional 400,000 family members and loved ones providing unpaid care for them. Furthermore, older African-Americans are twice as likely in Tennessee to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and older Hispanics are 1.5 times as likely to receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis as older non-Hispanic whites.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in Tennessee, including the importance of advance care planning for patients and caregivers, visit tn.gov/memoryloss.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee.

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