Innovation Award given to Long Beach Aging Services Collaborative
With a deeply rooted commitment to serving the aging population in the local community, the Long Beach Aging Services Collaborative (LBASC) was given the Leadership Innovation Award from the Los Angeles Alliance for Community Health and Aging (LAACHA).
Born out of the joint efforts of the Long Beach Health Department Healthy Aging Center (HAC) and the Center for Successful Aging (CSA) at Long Beach State, the Long Beach Aging Services Collaborative has helped connect service providers, community organizations, and advocacy groups to work towards increasing access and improving health equity for older adults in Long Beach.
“I am excited about [the LAACHA Leadership Innovation award] because it highlights what universities can be doing with community partners to support people to age well in their communities,” says Iveris Martinez, who chairs the Long Beach Aging Services Collaborative and who also is the director of the Center for Successful Aging at CSULB.
When stay-at-home orders were issued on March 19, 2020, the collaborative -- which comprises members of local community groups, senior centers and aging advocacy groups -- established weekly meetings to discuss and implement ways to help older adults during the pandemic. Members of the LBASC came together to address food insecurity, technology exclusion, social isolation and to become a support to local service providers.
Martinez, who received a post doctorate degree in Community Health from John Hopkins University, gained her first faculty position at John Hopkins at the Center of Aging and Health. She later came to work for her undergraduate alma mater, Florida International University at the Wertheim College of Medicine, where she helped develop the Medicine in Society curriculum. She has a passion for training students to be active participants in their community.
Each semester at Long Beach State’s Center for Successful Aging, Martinez has a group of interns who help with the collaborative as well.
“One of our primary goals is getting students exposed to working with aging populations because there’s not a lot of training out there,” Martinez says. “One of the goals of the center and, now the collaborative, is to better develop the future workforce for working with older adults.”
THE LAACHA Innovation Award will be presented to the Long Beach Aging Services Collaborative at a virtual ceremony June 15. In addition to her students, Martinez gives credit to her partners at the collaborative, including Dr. Barbara White, director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CSULB, as well as Cynthia Howell from the Long Beach Health Department.
“I think this [LAACHA Innovation] award hopefully will help us gain recognition, and [obtain] more financial support so that we can do even more for our aging population in the community.”