The Change AGEnts Community supported and connected thousands of John A. Hartford Foundation associated researchers, clinicians, and health system leaders to build their capacity to improve the care for older adults. This support included a variety of career and leadership development activities and resources, such as skills-building trainings, consultancies, and webinars, as well as grant programs, the Action Awards and the Action Communities, which supported promising ideas in practice change. In addition, the Change AGEnts Connect online platform allowed healthcare professionals to collaborate, share knowledge and resources.
The Change AGEnts Practice Change Networks were two interprofessional workgroups that brought together experts with diverse perspectives and experiences to address complex challenges in the care of older adults. Each network developed its own practice change and advocacy agenda and drew upon members’ knowledge and their extensive connections to inform the work and help press for needed improvements. The two networks focused on caregiving for persons with dementia and patient-centered medical homes.
The Change AGEnts Initiative included a variety of leadership development, community building, and practice change-supporting activities including:
As a result, the Change AGEnts Initiative not only pursued change from the bottom up, but actively and deliberately linked with existing efforts and organizations to accelerate practice change. The Change AGEnts represent a new kind of health care professional—one charged to tackle practice change on the frontline and effect better management of health outcomes for older adults. In doing so, these health care professionals have proven the power of collaborative, interprofessional approaches for implementing evidence-based models of care, incubating practice change ideas into best practices, using human capital to create a movement toward change in the practice environment, and shining a light on practice change opportunities in various care and support systems.
Built a Platform for Change Change AGEnts Connect provided a source of information exchange and resource sharing within the Change AGEnts Community. Change AGEnts Connect assisted Change AGEnts in disseminating learnings and impact from their practice change work to a broad network of individuals and organizations and helped connect Change AGEnts working on similar practice change projects.
Built Skills for Leadership and Practice Change Skill development in key areas such as communication, business development, interprofessional leadership, science, and policy emerged as priority issues for Change AGEnts. Together, these skill building opportunities assisted Change AGEnts in demonstrating, producing and articulating the value of their work to stakeholders and the impact of their work on older adults. Between the Policy Institute, Communications Institute, Action Awards Institute, and Change AGEnts Conference, more than 300 Change AGEnts improved their leadership and practice change skills.
Created Action The 34 projects funded through the Action Awards grant program showcased the improvements that interprofessional teams can bring to light by implementing evidence-based programs into targeted care settings in local environments. These project teams precipitated practice change by engaging new and emerging leaders in the field of aging using evidence-based tools and collaborative perspectives to accelerate change. Together, these projects facilitated collaboration between and across professions to overcome silos, share their experiences with their fellow Change AGEnts, and learn and support one another in exploring new ways of transforming care delivery.
Inspired Senior Thought Leaders in the Field to Collaborate and Share Approaches to Practice Change The two Practice Change Networks (focused on caregiving for persons with dementia and patient centered medical homes) exhibited the collaboration and leadership that can advance change when health care system leaders, providers, researchers, and policy makers align interests, build a network of collaborators, and devote remarkable energy to addressing a complex problem. Both networks created outward-looking organizations whose members embraced collaboration, let go of individual ego, and nurtured each other as leaders. The results have been the creation of foundational tools and resources for the field, improved care and care delivery, and increased attention and awareness of these issues.
A Diverse Leadership Team The Change AGEnts Initiative was guided by a leadership team consisting of representatives from The John A. Hartford Foundation, representatives from the GSA, SCP, a socially responsible communications consulting firm, and three national experts in interprofessional practice change: Laura Gitlin, PhD, director of the Center for Innovative Care in Aging at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Nancy Whitelaw, PhD, a former GSA President, and Alan Stevens, PhD, Director, Center for Applied Health Research at Baylor Scott & White Health.