Health and aging policies and systems are typically designed from the perspective of people who run systems, rather than from the point of view of consumers. Even when advocates, policymakers, and providers do seek to learn from older adults, those engagements often have significant limitations: existing datasets and surveys do not adequately focus on priority populations or capture the lived experience of older adults, and their insights often remain siloed within commissioning organizations and agencies.
To address these limitations, the Public Policy Lab is partnering with The SCAN Foundation to conduct human-centered research in six to eight communities nationwide. While we’ll be speaking to people from all sorts of backgrounds, we’re especially interested in hearing from Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), low-income, and geographically underserved or rural communities. Our goal is to highlight actionable findings and insights about older adults’ health and wellbeing needs.
Over 10 months, we’ll conduct human-centered research with a cohort of 65 older adults. Small teams of researchers will conduct interviews in participants’ homes or at agreed-upon community spaces.
When choosing research locations and participants, we aim to prioritize and overrepresent low-income older adults, particularly those who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Moreover, we intend to focus on individuals from populations that encounter barriers to health access and good outcomes based on (often intersectional) factors of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, primary language, and/or geographic location.
We aim to visit locations that reflect a diverse array of geographic regions, population densities, political leanings, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) regions, and states in which more than 10.7% of the population is dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
We’re recruiting our cohort of 65+ older adults by reaching out through community organizations and community members in each of our locations. Completed and potential future research locations are marked on the map above. Recruiting materials are being distributed on social media and also printed and posted at high-traffic areas at CBOs’ physical locations and other community hubs.
All participant-facing materials are written in plain language to ensure they are accessible to a wide range of participants. Key materials will also be translated into Spanish and Chinese (both traditional and simplified) in order to reach participants whose primary language is not English.
You can use the links below to download flyers and project one-pagers in a variety of languages.
To address the problem that health and aging policies and systems are not designed, foremost, to respond to user needs and preferences, we’re planning to create resources and products that elevate what older adults actually want from the systems they use, as well as how they find value and support in their lives. The project’s three major outputs are described below.
A research pool of older adults—representative of all older Americans, but over-sampled on marginalized populations — with the intention and related infrastructure to be able to return to that pool regularly over time, both to conduct follow-up research related to this project and also to address other specific research questions.
A repository of tagged research data, including both synthesized insights from research and direct quotes, transcripts, photographs, audio and video recordings, and/or other artifacts from research with — or created by—members of the pool of older adults, all categorized per a taxonomy to be developed by the project team.
An online platform to publicly share out findings and insights generated with those older adults regarding their healthcare access and delivery experiences, designed to highlight opportunities for national policy change and nationwide healthcare-systems improvement.
The SCAN Foundation and the Public Policy Lab intend to launch the project publicly, with reporting and briefing events, in mid 2024.
To deepen the value and utility of this project, PPL and the foundation have assembled a diverse advisory committee to bring their expertise and perspective to this work. The committee—composed of two dozen leaders from government, advocacy organizations, academic centers and think tanks, and industry—will be convened virtually four times over the course of the project. Committee members will be asked to provide input on project inquiry areas, research locations, research methodologies that will fill gaps in existing datasets, and how to best organize and frame findings to accelerate equitable policy change and health-system improvements.
I commend The SCAN Foundation and the Public Policy Lab for engaging in this project. This project will result in a valuable asset for researchers and policymakers that will fill an important gap in our resources."
— Federal Policymaker