Living Well Training Academy deemed success

The Living Well Evidence-Based Training Academy had a successful set of forums at the Living Well Education Center at MAC Inc., the Area On Aging in Salisbury.

The event served as the transition of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Education program leadership from the Maryland Department of Aging to the Maryland Living Well Center of Excellence, according to Leigh Ann Eagle, executive director of the Center of Excellence.

“We are pleased to partner with the Center of Excellence in this innovative public-private partnership,” said Rona Kramer, secretary of the Maryland Department of Aging.

MAC “will officially take the reins of the chronic disease self-management education program for Maryland,” Eagle said.

Self-management workshops are evidence-based classes which have been proven to reduce health care expenditures and improve people’s quality of life.

“Right now we should be extending health span, not just life span,” Kramer said. “It is assumed that health has to decline as we age. There is a great deal of thought that it doesn’t have to.”

“Exercise and nutrition is what we all know is the only way to delay aging, which is what delays disability,” she said.

The guest speaker on the final day of the academy was Tim McNeill, a consultant with the National Council on Aging.

“Prevention and wellness are essential in the new health care landscape,” McNeill said. “To keep older adults healthy in the community, we need partners that can prevent the fall before the fall occurs.”

The training academy was held in MAC’s new Living Well Education Center, which, together with MAC’s Richard A. Henson Health and Wellness Center, comprises the Maryland Living Well Center of Excellence.

As the Center of Excellence, MAC will hold the statewide license for chronic disease self-management education as of Sept. 1.

The center will oversee all the fidelity, data management and program development of the chronic disease self-management classes, as well as oversee the workforce development and maintain a data base of all chronic disease self-management education trainers in the state.

The academy also introduced MAC’s Center of Excellence hospital partners: Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Meritus Health in Hagerstown, and Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury.

This will be the first statewide Center of Excellence to manage and coordinate evidence-based health promotion programs across the state, according to Judy Simon, nutrition and health promotion programs manager for the Maryland Department of Aging. “The Center of Excellence will offer these programs in an innovative and sustainable way by partnering with our Area Agencies on Aging across Maryland to deliver the programs.”

In addition to Kramer, dignitaries attending the training academy also included, directors of other Area Agencies on Aging in the state, and representatives from the National Council on Aging and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

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