(Washington, DC – November 1, 2021) – Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) is pleased to announce that the Department of Health in Sarasota County, Florida is the first local health department to receive recognition as an Age-Friendly Public Health System. DOH-Sarasota completed ten significant action steps as part of TFAH’s Age-Friendly Public Health Systems (AFPHS) Recognition Program. The county’s achievement demonstrates its commitment to and support of the health and well-being of its older adults.

In July, the New York State Department of Health was the first state health department to achieve such recognition.

TFAH’s AFPHS Recognition Program is designed to encourage and support state and local health departments to embrace their role in improving and supporting older adult health. Action steps include data collection, listening directly to older adults to learn what matters to them, and collaboration across sectors.

To achieve Age-Friendly Public Health Systems recognition, DOH-Sarasota conducted several assessments including a citizens opinion survey, developed a county wide multi-agency program to provide food to residents during the pandemic, developed a multi-year Community Health Improvement Plan, and recently completed their fifth-year cycle as a member of AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States, Cities, and Communities.

The state of Florida has been deeply committed to improving the health and well-being of older Floridians. TFAH worked directly with two-thirds of Florida’s county health departments to pilot the framework for creating Age-Friendly Public Health Systems, through which the department staff explored and expanded their roles in healthy aging. This effort included creating and supporting collaborations between the public health and aging sectors, collecting data about the state’s older adult population, and ensuring all planning and programming is done with an aging lens.

“TFAH applauds and congratulates the Sarasota County Department of Health for its work championing age-friendly public health planning and programs. As the nation’s older adult population continues to grow, programs to support their health and wellness are critical. Public health practitioners, especially when teaming with their aging sector colleagues, can play a central role in supporting older Americans.” said Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, President and CEO, Trust for America’s Health.

“Sarasota County, Florida is on the vanguard of communities that are recognizing the importance of creating an age-friendly ecosystem across sectors to meet the unique needs of older adults,” said Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, President of The John A. Hartford Foundation. “Becoming the first local health department recognized as an Age-Friendly Public Health System shows a deep commitment to supporting healthy aging, which will benefit all of the county’s residents. We congratulate the Sarasota County Department of Health, under the leadership of Health Officer Charles H. Henry, for achieving this recognition.”

TFAH’s Age-Friendly Public Health Systems initiative is made possible with generous support from The John A. Hartford Foundation.

Trust for America’s Health is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes optimal health for every person and community and makes the prevention of illness and injury a national priority.  www.tfah.org  

The John A. Hartford Foundation, based in New York City, is a private, nonpartisan, national philanthropy dedicated to improving the care of older adults. The leader in the field of aging and health, the Foundation has three areas of emphasis: creating age-friendly health systems, supporting family caregivers, and improving serious illness and end-of-life care. https://www.johnahartford.org/