Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 3 » Professional Organizations - Professional Organizations, U.s. Professional Associations, Canadian Professional Organizations, Professional Organizations In Other Nations

Professional Organizations - Professional Organizations

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This entry centers on associations of academics and practitioners in gerontology and geriatrics, primarily mainstream age-based organizations. However, other organizations, such as the National Association of Social Workers, American Bar Association, and American Psychological Association, also address issues related to older adults. They have special sections that explore the responses of their respective professions to the needs of elders.

The major organizations representing academic researchers and practicing professionals are the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), the American Society on Aging (ASA), the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), and the National Council on Aging (NCoA) in the United States, and the Canadian Association of Gerontology (CAG) and the Canadian Geriatric Research Society (CGRS) in Canada. Some (GSA and CAG) primarily have a research constituency, while others (AGS and CGRS) are oriented toward medical school researchers and physicians. The ASA and NCoA, by contrast, draw members primarily from a wide range of practitioners and volunteers engaged in service delivery (Maddox).

These groups reflect the usual characteristics of professional organizations, including a post-baccalaureate educational requirement. They hold annual conferences for members and others, such as the lay public; conduct research, faculty development, or continuing education workshops; produce and disseminate peer-reviewed publications (e.g., journals of basic and applied research); and give awards for meritorious service to the organization and to the field of aging. They also have a special membership category and activities for students (professionals-intraining). They are concerned with enhancing the dialogue between researchers and practitioners so that research results can lead to better practice, and also with promoting communication among practitioners to strengthen "best practices." They engage in advocacy and the shaping of public policy to benefit their members and the older adults whom they serve. The ASA, GSA, and NCoA accomplish this goal through their own efforts and also through an umbrella association comprising both professional and consumer groups, the Leadership Council on Aging, located in Washington, D.C.

Most professional organizations in aging were created during the 1940s and 1950s, in comparison with consumer groups, which proliferated during the 1970s and 1980s (Liebig). As shown in Table 1, the U.S. groups were established earlier than their Canadian counterparts; the geriatric societies were created first in both nations.

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