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National Hispanic Council on Aging Urges Healthcare Reform and Geriatrics Training for Health Professionals as Older Americans Reach 20% of Population

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National leaders are meeting in Washington for the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) conference Oct. 6-7 to urge Congress to support healthcare reform and address the growing need for geriatric care as two of the nation's largest populations -- baby boomers and Hispanics -- reach a critical level.

Congressional and local decision-makers, experts and academic leaders will meet for the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) conference, "Working Together for a Common Aging Agenda," Oct. 6-7 at the Marriott at Metro Center, 775 12th St. NW, Washington.

The nation's older population will double by 2030 and make up 20% of all Americans -- 71.5 million people.

"By 2050, there will be 2 billion older people in the world. That means that for the first time in human history, older adults will outnumber the young. This is a total population shift, and societies throughout the world will struggle to support this dynamic change," said Dr. Yanira Cruz, president and CEO of NHCOA, "Resources, workforces, and services must accommodate the new reality."

Because older adults have specific health issues, healthcare professionals -- beyond general practitioners -- need training to diagnose and treat them, said Cruz. "That, coupled with a growing older population, highlights the urgent need to train them in geriatric care," she said. "This is the tip of the iceberg of a huge public health challenge."

NHCOA is the premier national organization dedicated to understanding the needs and securing the wellbeing of Hispanic older adults and their families. Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.

The conference will focus on ensuring that aging issues remain a high priority in complex times. NHCOA is a resource for those working with older adults and their caregivers. NHCOA works with U.S. legislators as they address health, economic security, education and civic engagement, and housing policy -- helping those leaders craft solutions of benefit to all older adults, including the most rapidly-growing sector within that population, the Hispanic elderly (projected at over 15 million by 2050).

Oct. 6, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34), chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Health and a member of the Appropriations Health Subcommittee, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at NHCOA's Awards Dinner.

"As legislators we have a moral imperative to ensure that the policies and programs we develop will protect our older Americans from harm, safeguard their prosperity, and promote their health and wellness," said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard.

Invited speakers include Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee; Tina Tchen, Director, White House Office of Public Engagement, HHS; Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA); Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); DC Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D); Raul Yzaguirre, executive director of the Center for Community Development and Civil Rights at Arizona State University; Gara LaMarche, president and CEO, The Atlantic Philanthropies; Karyne Jones, president and CEO, National Caucus and Center on Black Aged; Christine Takada, acting president and CEO, National Asian Pacific Center on Aging; Louis Colbert, American Society on Aging; and Randella Bluehouse, executive director, National Indian Council on Aging.

To address that growth and care for this older population, healthcare reform must include affordable access to care and medication; a workforce that is culturally and linguistically competent, as well as age sensitive; programs that increase the number of gerontology professionals; and a focus on prevention, said NHCOA Chairman Raul Yzaguirre.

"It is important that we work together to eliminate the health disparities that exist for Hispanic elders in this country," said Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee, who will speak during a morning session Oct. 7, on "A Conversation on Healthcare: Our Nation's Priority." "By helping people better understand and manage their health, and by giving caregivers the support they need, our elders can live longer, healthier and more independent lives."

NHCOA is the premier national organization dedicated to understanding the needs and securing the wellbeing of Hispanic older adults and their caregivers, the fastest-growing segment in the U.S. population. For information, visit

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SOURCE National Hispanic Council on Aging

SOURCE National Hispanic Council on Aging
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