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Announcing the Launch of the Villages Healthy Aging Research Ambassadors Group

Screenshot of zoom meeting with matrix of attendees video thumbnails
Ambassadors at their first meeting in February 2024

The Villages Healthy Aging Ambassadors Group officially launched in February of 2024. The Rutgers University Hub for Aging Collaboration in partnership with Village to Village Network launched this new, nationwide group to collaboratively design and implement a series of virtual events on healthy aging research with Villages.  

 

The Ambassadors Group is a key component of the broader “Engaging Villages as Key Partners for Healthy Aging Research” project. The Ambassadors Group was formed after months of one-on-one conversations with interested Village members across the United States. The organizers’ goal was to intentionally balance diversity across individual backgrounds, organizational contexts, and geographic representation. 


Consistent with this goal, the Ambassadors represent Villages spanning nine states across the Eastern, Central, and Western United States. (Refer to list below.) According to findings from a survey of Ambassadors, most have been involved in the Village movement for just over six years, with the group representing long-time Villagers (over ten years) and several who are in their first year in their Village. Most of the group is involved in the leadership of their Village in some way, such as leaders or members of their Villages’ committees.  


The Ambassadors also bring to this work a wide range of professional backgrounds, including human and social services, business management and technology services, research and higher education, public health and healthcare services, and military and civic organizations. 


Bill Kincaid, Board President of the Village to Village Network and Co-Chair of the Ambassadors Group, stressed the value of the different perspectives the Ambassadors bring to this work. He stated:


“I am struck by the diversity of the workforce and the immense human capital that enable Villages to have such a meaningful effect on their membership. From coast to coast and from urban to rural communities, Villages have attracted a group of individuals who are willing to use their own life experience to improve and enrich the lives of their neighbors. I am delighted that this diversity is reflected in the Ambassadors group.” 


The Ambassadors will meet approximately twice a month through May 2024. Together, they will explore best-practices for participatory research and current topics in patient-centered health outcomes, with a particular focus on Villages and interventions for healthy aging.  

 

The group will channel these insights into designing and implementing six Virtual Summits during the summer months of 2024. These six summits will be regionally oriented to engage Villagers across the United States in a national conversation on how healthy aging research can strengthen the Village movement, including the types of metrics that matter to Villages and future research directions for the movement to pursue. 


The national conversation on healthy aging research the Ambassadors Group seeks to cultivate is vital to strengthening and expanding the Village movement. As Joan Kahn from Maryland reflected: 


“I am eager to contribute to our much-needed collective knowledge of Villages and their impact on the lives of older adults. I see this as an important building block to the future growth of the Villages movement and the public recognition of its importance.”


Meet the Ambassadors!  

 

  • LJ Bayliss, Community Connections at Findley Lake, NY

  • Ellen Berfond, Lancaster Downtowners, PA

  • Fran Brooks, Vashon Senior Center Village, WA

  • Linda Chandler, Carquinez Village, CA

  • Marvin Dainoff, Pasadena Village, CA

  • Katharine Danner, Ashland At Home, OR

  • Joan Kahn, Potomac Community Village, MD

  • Robin Anthony Kouyate, Strathmore Bel Pre and MoCo Mid-County Villages, MD

  • Angie Levenstein, The Village Chicago, IL

  • Jurie Lewis, Villages NW, OR

  • Anita Light, Fairfax Village in the City, VA

  • Ed Mervine, Pasadena Village, CA

  • Pat Murray, Cleveland Westside Village, OH

  • Dick (Richard) Myers, Pasadena Village, CA

  • Benjamin Nguyen, Westside Pacific Villages, CA


Ambassador Co-Chairs: Emily Greenfield, Professor, Rutgers Hub for Aging Collaboration & Bill Kincaid, Village to Village Network Board President


Join the project email list to stay up-to-date on the work of the Ambassadors and upcoming Virtual Summits! 


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