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When it Comes to Conversations About Older Patients…We Need to Talk (Differently)
Original Program Date :
Length: 1 Hour, 1 Minute


More of us are looking forward to living longer, healthier lives than ever before—and the diverse health specialties our members represent have played a critical role in that milestone. But as more and more of usage, are our conversations within healthcare matching what we all want (and need) “aging” to be? The short answer: Not yet — but that can change! In this session, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) will share key learnings from its work with the FrameWorks Institute and the Leaders of Aging Organization to reframe how we all think about and act upon aging as a social construct. By looking critically at how communication strategies—even down to individual word choices—can activate positive (or negative) frames for our members and the people they serve, we hope to help all health specialties adjust to the reality of providing care that not only meets but also embraces the needs of us all as we age.

Educational Objectives and/or Takeaways:

  • Identify perceptual gaps that may impede colleagues, executives, policymakers, and even the public from seeing “aging” as an important socio-biologic construct that impacts us all.
  • Explore ways that a discipline like geriatrics has shifted its self-description to reframe how we talk about the people who benefit from our care (and our members' expertise by extension).
  • Build an understanding of the value of new narratives (specifically those grounded in empowerment and social justice) to move communication about how your specialty is prepared to meet the needs of our aging population.

Daniel E. Trucil, MA, MPH, Assistant Director, Communication, American Geriatrics Society

Daniel E. Trucil, MA, MPH, is Associate Director, Communication, for the American Geriatrics Society and its Health in Aging Foundation. In this role, Dan develops and executes engagement strategies for raising geriatrics profile among older adults and caregivers, members of the media, public and private funders, and the diverse spectrum of health professionals responsible for expert elder care. Dan previously worked on global advocacy and communications for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, collaborating with colleagues in Africa, Europe, India, and the U.S. to ensure sustained commitment to ending the AIDS pandemic through preventive public health. Before focusing his attention on nonprofit health communication, Dan spent several years as a public relations consultant for Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies with leading product portfolios covering infectious diseases and diabetes management. Across his career, Dan has led or co-managed a range of international awareness campaigns, from crisis communications addressing antimicrobial resistance to peer-to-peer advocacy on health care reform. Dan earned a Master of Arts in Strategic Communication from Villanova University, where he worked as a fully funded research assistant for the first scholarly project funded through the Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society. Dan’s research explored both communicative interpretations of healthcare reform in the wake of the 2008 presidential election and the role of diversity in the digital domain. Dan previously pursued a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications at Villanova, and recently completed studies for a Master of Public Health degree from the State University of New York.

Helen M. Fernandez, MD, MPH, Professor; Director, Geriatrics Fellowship Program; Co-Director, Geriatrics-Palliative Care Fellowship Program; Associate Director, Division of Medical Education, Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine

Dr. Fernandez completed her residency in Internal Medicine/Pediatrics at Saint Vincent's Medical Center in New York. She then completed her fellowship in Geriatrics, where she also served as a Chief Fellow, and a Masters of Public Health degree at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. In 2002 and 2007, she received Geriatric Academic Career Awards.  Her career interests include faculty development, evidence-based medicine, learner assessment and medical education.

Dr. Fernandez has presented Annual Updates in Geriatric Medicine at national and regional venues including the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) and American Geriatrics Society (AGS).  She has presented on topics including geriatric models of care, career and curriculum development development at national and international meetings including the World Gerontology Conference, the ACP International Meeting and the International Association for Medical Education Annual Conference.  She is a Course Director for the annual “Intensive Update with Board Review in Geriatric and Palliative Medicine”, in addition to the “Master Clinician-Educator Program in Geriatrics” and “Physician Mini-Fellowships: Geriatrics for Non-Geriatricians” programs.  In 2010, she became a National Hispanic Medical Association Fellow and is working on policy recommendations for workforce diversity. In 2010, she received the Leo Tow Gold Humanism Award and appointed as a HRSA Advisory Committee member by the Secretary of Health. In 2010, she was named a Master Educator in the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Institute of Medical Education. In 2011, she served as chair of the IME Faculty Development and Primary Care Track Working Groups. In 2013, she was awarded the first American Geriatrics Society Mid-Career Clinician Educator Award. In 2014, she has published several articles in competencies and entrustable professional activities for geriatric fellows and leads the development of a geriatric fellowship assessment toolbox. In 2015, Dr. Fernandez has appeared in several media outlets including CNN, CCTV and NY I discussing issues of aging. Since 2011, she has been a master educator for rural interdisciplinary training which in 2016 was disseminated to Indian Health Services in Washington State, New Mexico and Anchorage, Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.


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