American Society on Aging


About the Organization:

No other organization in the field of aging represents the diversity of settings and professional disciplines reached by ASA. We bring together researchers, practitioners, educators, business people and policymakers concerned with the physical, emotional, social, economic and spiritual aspects of aging. ASA is founded on the premise that the complexity of aging in our society can only be addressed as a multidisciplinary whole.

The ASA Learning Center is committed to being the premier resource for education, training and information on aging-related issues. The mission of the Learning Center is to continuously improve the knowledge and skills of individuals and organizations in all sectors of society concerned with older adults and their families. It carries out this mission through such programs as the Summer Series on Aging, through Web-enhanced teleconferences and computer-based training, and through an online store and searchable databases that provide a one-stop shop for education and training resources in aging.

ASA is committed to advancing a new standard of professionalism in aging, with diversity and cultural competence at its core. Within ASA are two groups–the Multicultural Aging Network and the Lesbian and Gay Aging Issues Network–that offer research, practice and policy perspectives on frequently underrepresented and underserved segments of the older population. Through special initiatives­New Ventures in Leadership, Serving Elders of Color and an online multicultural aging network–ASA strives to develop leadership in the field of aging that is representative of the racial, ethnic and cultural diversity of the populations we serve.

The very nature of work with elders challenges every one of us in personal as well as professional ways. ASA brings these perspectives together in ways that allow its members to explore opportunities for personal growth. Our largest Constituency Group is the Forum on Religion, Spirituality and Aging, which offers avenues to explore the spiritual side of aging and the quest for meaning in later life. Our Creative Aging Institute, conducted in partnership with Elders Share the Arts, melds the arts and creativity with community development and personal enhancement.

ASA is on the forefront of using technology to overcome the barriers of distance and cost in sharing information in the field. We are pioneering the use of online resource databases, Web-based training and Web-enhanced conferencing to deliver the information you need to you, where and when you need it. And all these initiatives are not just for those already online. In partnership with leading technology companies, we are offering our members both equipment and training to bring their organizations into the information age.

Contact Info:

News and Events:

ASA Gets Physical With Three New Initiatives
Three new health initiatives focus on physical activity for older adults.

ASA and CDC Partnership Promoting Steps to Better Health
ASA joined the Roybal Center on Applied Gerontology, California State University, to implement a five-year initiative, “Live Well, Live Long: Steps to Better Health.” Training modules in health promotion and disease prevention are available for local service providers. This website provides information about the ongoing project.

How did the American Society on Aging become involved in the Blueprint Initiative?

After participating in the October 2000 Blueprint Conference, The American Society on Aging was motivated to become more involved. Drawing on ASA’s education and training resources, we provided a forum for the National Blueprint to hold a Critical Issues in Aging Session presented by key Blueprint organizations at our April, 2002 Joint Conference with The National Council on the Aging. ASA’s desire to commit to greater involvement prompted staff to evaluate our strengths and seek collaborators. ASA has developed a very strong Diversity Programs Division and network, and is committed to a vision of multicultural aging.

In brainstorming with potential partners, staff realized that exploring physical activity promotion for ethnic and racial communities that are especially sedentary was an excellent fit with our interests and abilities as an organization, and presented a burgeoning area for further development in the Blueprint Initiative.

The Diversity Roundtable Project for Increasing Physical Activity (PA) Among Adults of Color Age 50 and Older

The Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health (1996) and Healthy People 2010 report especially low rates of physical activity among certain racial/ethnic population groups. The percentage of sedentary Latino (54%), African American (52%), American Indian or Alaska Native (46%), and Asian/Pacific Islander adults (42%) is considerably higher than white adults (38%). Physical activity declines with age, and older women of color are the least physically active. Since people with low levels of education and income have also been identified as least physically active in their leisure time, African American, Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native and Asian/Pacific Islander elders with low socioeconomic status are greatly in need of inclusion in physical activity programs.

ASA is very pleased that we will be working with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to develop a national roundtable on increasing physical activity among adults of color age 50 and older. The purpose of the roundtable is to form a national working group to focus on and promote PA and diversity research-to-practice among older adults. This will include identifying community-specific, evidence-based strategies, how to apply research to the community, barriers, resources, collaboration, and networking.

The National Blueprint took an important step by developing broad strategies to increase physical activity among older Americans. The Diversity Roundtable is a logical next step within that framework. The PA and Diversity Roundtable will mimic the original Blueprint process and seek to produce a document that highlights the issue and provides direction for action strategies.

Our first step is to implement Phase I, recruiting and convening a steering committee to assess the need and interest in developing a Physical Activity and Diversity Roundtable. We hope that this initial step will move all of us farther along this path and result in more opportunities for our organizations to develop strategies for action to promote PA in older adult communities of color.

For further information contact Chaya Gordon, MPH, Research Manager, American Society on Aging (415) 974-9604 833 Market Street, Suite 511, San Francisco, CA 94103

Resources on Aging and Physical Activity:

Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults of Color Age 50 and Older

Not Your Father’s Exercise: Aging Demands Multifaceted Approach
Article explores current research on exercise programs used in preventing falls.

Fitness for Elders with Intellectual Disabilities: A Health Promotion Demonstration Project
Article discusses a health promotion demonstration and research program for older adults.