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The de Blasio Administration, City Council and New York Academy of Medicine Announce Seating of Age-Friendly NYC Commission

September 8, 2015

Leaders from government, business, education, health care, law, architecture, housing, and social work will soon be seated for the 2015 Age-Friendly NYC Commission

NEW YORK-Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the seating of 22 new members of the Age-Friendly NYC Commission. The Commission grew organically from Age-Friendly NYC which was launched in 2007 as a partnership between the Mayor's Office, the NYC City Council and the New York Academy of Medicine. Age-Friendly NYC works closely with City government, businesses, and non-profit sectors, to assure the City is addressing the challenges and leveraging the opportunities posed by a rapidly increasingly population of older New Yorkers in four major areas - community and civic participation, housing, public spaces and transportation, and health and social services.

As approved by the Mayor's Office, the New York City Council, and the New York Academy of Medicine, the Commission is comprised of leaders from government, business, education, health care, law, architecture, housing, and social work. The Commission works to develop the overall strategy for Age-Friendly NYC and to engage the private sector in changing the culture of New York City to become more inclusive of older people. The Commission will be co-chaired by Audrey Weiner, President and CEO of New Jewish Home, and Edward Lewis, co-Founder of Essence Communications.

The additional 19 new members of the Age-Friendly NYC Commission include: Dr. Rafael Lantigua, Professor of Medicine of Columbia University; Dr. Joan Pastore, Director of The AMICO 59th Street Senior Citizen Center; Carol Reid, Director of Eileen Dugan Senior Center; Dr. Martha Sullivan, Executive Director of Gouverneur Health; Eric Mendel, CEO of Central Assisted Living, LLC; Christopher Kui, Executive Director of Asian Americans for Equality; Sheldon Fine, President of West Side Federation for Senior & Supportive Housing; Tom Kamber, Founder and Executive Director of Older Adults Technology Services (OATS); Beth Finkel, State Director of AARP NY; Jed Levine, Executive Vice President of the Alzheimer's Association; Deirdre Lok, Assistant Director and Counsel of the Wfeinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale; Reverend Eric J. Hall, President and CEO of Healthcare Chaplaincy; Igal Jellinek, Executive Director of LiveOn NY; Lisa Sorin, Executive Director of Westchester Square Business Improvement District; Tracy Welsh, Deputy Executive Director and CFO of SAGE; Wayne Ho, Chief Program and Policy Officer of Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies; Quenia Abreu, Founder and President of NY Women's Chamber of Commerce; Deirdre Scott, Executive Director of the Bronx Council on the Arts; Nora O'Brien-Suric, Senior Program Officer of John A. Hartford Foundation.

The new members will join existing members: Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, President of the New York Academy of Medicine; Gordon Campbell, Professor of the NYU Wagner School of Public Service; Robin Willner, Director of the Leadership Council for NYS P-TECH; Linda Fried, Dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University; Helen R. Hamlin, Main Representative at the United Nations International Federation on Ageing; Edward I. Mills, Principal Architect of Edward I. Mills + Associates at Architects PC; Jacqueline Mondros,  Dean and Assistant Vice President of SUNY Stony Brook,; Carol Raphael, Board Chair of AARP; Denise Scott, Executive Vice President of National Programs, LISC.

As a public-private partnership, the Commission also includes the following ex officio members: Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services; Donna Corrado, Commissioner of the Department for the Aging; Melissa Mark-Viverito, Speaker of the New York City Council; Margaret Chin, Chair of the City Council Committee on Aging; Paul Vallone, Chair of the City Council Subcommittee on Senior Centers; Eric Adams, Brooklyn Borough President; Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President; Ruben Diaz, Jr., Bronx Borough President; Melinda Katz, Queens Borough President; and James S. Oddo, Staten Island Borough President.

The Commission is charged with monitoring Age-Friendly NYC's commitments, identifying best and innovative policies and programs, and providing dynamic and innovative leadership to engage the private and non-profit sectors in changing the culture of New York City to become more inclusive of older people.

First seated in 2010, the Commission is guided by the following underlying principles that are aligned with the World Health Organization's Framework for Age-Friendly Cities:

  • An aging population is an opportunity, not a crisis;
  • Older people must be involved in all phases of problem identification and resolution within a community;
  • Initiatives should address the full diversity of a community's older population with respect to functional capacity, economic resources, and demographics;
  • Initiatives should be grounded in evidence;
  • All sectors (public and private) must be engaged in developing solutions to eliminate barriers to older adults' full participation in society.  

From 2010 -2013, the first Commission's accomplishments included the creation of the website, the Aging Improvement District model, the Age-friendly Local Business Initiative, and the creation of a Design for Aging Committee within the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter.

"Age-Friendly NYC has successfully transformed our city into one that provides our growing senior community with equal access to a number of initiatives that improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "With the seating of the Age-Friendly NYC Commission, new members will continue this legacy and also identify more opportunities that will make our City into a healthier, safer and more active place in which to grow older."

"Seniors represent one of the fastest-growing populations in our city, and we must ensure that our older adults have the tools and resources they need to age with dignity and independence," said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "The Age-Friendly NYC Commission will work with seniors to innovate and improve senior access  to community and civic participation, housing, public spaces and transportation, and health and social services, ensuring that New York City  is a more inclusive place for our seniors to call home."

"Since 2009, when it was first created, Age-Friendly NYC has made the lives of older New Yorkers more sustainable and meaningful," said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. "The Age Friendly NYC Commission members will enhance existing services and programs and make New York even more friendly to seniors, and to all New Yorkers, by creating more opportunities throughout the five boroughs."

"The new Commission will continue to identify existing policies and programs that benefit older adults and look for ways to expand their reach, as well as to tap into nonprofit and private sector networks to adopt a similar "age-in-everything" approach to their planning and work," said DFTA Commissioner Donna M. Corrado.

"As an ex-officio member of the Age-Friendly NYC Commission, it is my goal to drive our city toward opportunities big and small that will make this one of the best places to spend one's golden years. We must become more accommodating to senior citizens that want to age in place, working on smart urban design and advancing elder healthcare outreach. There is also much work to be done in closing the gap between older New Yorkers and the rest of our population; cross-generational initiatives can better integrate seniors into everyday life in our communities. I Thank both sides of City Hall and the New York Academy of Medicine for this focus on critical aging issues," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

"In the last census, more than 20 percent of Manhattan's residents were 60 or older, a massive increase over the previous decade," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "This growing segment of our city's population has so much to contribute and to teach us - but only if we continue to break down barriers, increase accessibility, and make New York a truly age-friendly city. That's why this commission's work is so vital."

"It has been estimated that Staten Island's senior population will hit 100,000 by 2030, double the number of seniors in 2000, and we face challenges, including a great need for additional senior housing options. This shows how important the work of the Age-Friendly NYC Commission truly is for my constituents. As a city we must ensure we never forget our senior citizens and, in an innovative way, devise policies to ensure that they thrive," said Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo.    

"I am looking forward to being part of the Commission and excited to explore ideas about how to make our city a more friendly place for seniors. With our share of seniors expected to increase to 20 percent of the population by 2030, we urgently need to identify best practices and strategies to ensure that aging New Yorkers get the care and services they need," said Council Member Margaret Chin, Chair of the City Council Committee on Aging.

"The Age-Friendly NYC Commission is an incredible opportunity for our city to build upon the rich experiences and knowledge of its seniors," said Council Member Paul A. Vallone, Chair of the City Council Subcommittee on Senior Centers. "By taking advantage of the very characteristic that makes this community unique, we will be able to maximize the social and economic participation of older residents. As the senior population continues to grow rapidly, I applaud the Mayor for taking steps to ensure that we are able to make New York City a great place for seniors to live."

"For the past seven years, Age-Friendly NYC has provided significant improvements to the built, social, and economic environment that have enhanced the quality of life for older people," said The New York Academy of Medicine President Jo Ivey Boufford, M.D. "Age-Friendly NYC Commission members will continue that legacy by sustaining the public-private partnerships that are critical to making the City an even better place for healthy and active aging for all its residents."

The Commission will meet four times per year and each member will serve for one year after which they will be eligible for annual renewal.

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