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About

A Clearinghouse of Resources for People to Connect and Engage

Commit to Connect is a cross-sector initiative, launched by the Administration for Community Living, to fight social isolation and loneliness by helping people connect and engage to build the social connections they need to thrive. The initiative is led by organizations that are dedicated to improving engagement, well-being and access to services for older adults and people with disabilities across the United States. This includes: AARP Foundation, ADvancing States, AT3 (the state Assistive Technology Act programs technical assistance resource center), Georgia Tech Pass it On Center, LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technology (CAST), Meals on Wheels America, Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), The Coalition to End Social Isolation and the Foundation for Social Connection, The Colorado Center for Inclusive Design and Engineering, The Consumer Technology Association Foundation, The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging and The National Council on Aging.

As the Coordinating Center for the initiative, AARP Foundation is organizing these efforts.

The Commit to Connect Clearinghouse is an online platform with information of accessible, affordable and easy to use resources to fight social isolation and loneliness.

Two stakeholder groups inform the governance and maintenance of the clearinghouse of resources:

  • The Scientific Advisory Group is responsible for data analysis, strategic assessment of interventions, and best practice solutions.
  • The Clearinghouse Council supports the development of the clearinghouse focused on the dissemination of relevant interventions. Furthermore, the Council ensures the clearinghouse flourishes and continuously evolves in its ability to assess and match needs to resources that are accessible, affordable and easy to use.

The Commit to Connect Nationwide Network of Champions is a group of passionate leaders and innovators dedicated to the Commit to Connect vision and to advancing solutions to end social isolation and loneliness. We are actively recruiting Champions at the local, state and national levels. Apply to join the Network here.

Current Phase of Development

The Clearinghouse, and CommitToConnect.org overall, are currently in alpha testing. The Coordinating Center is leading the ongoing development of the site with continuous learning and improvements from user feedback.

Questions, comments and critiques about the Clearinghouse may be submitted to [email protected]

Commit to Connect Site Feedback

Dissemination of Proven Interventions to Address Social Isolation Nationwide

The Steering Committee will be led by AARP Foundation and be comprised of representatives from a diverse group of organizations that are dedicated to the goal and related initiatives to reach individuals who are socially isolated. The Steering Committee will inform shared principles to guide initiatives across organizations. To start in the Fall of 2020, the Steering Committee will consist of interim planning members who will focus on developing a project charter and selecting longer-term membership.

The Steering Committee will be comprised of 10- 14 organizations from diverse background and with a wide range of content expertise to inform solutions to decrease isolation throughout the three main efforts: Challenge, Clearinghouse, and Campaign.

Members

Rigorous Vetting Process for Programs and Technological Solutions

The Scientific Advisory Group will be responsible for data analysis, strategic assessment of interventions, and determining tiers of inclusion for social isolation solutions, which will then be communicated to the Clearinghouse Council for decision-making around implementation and scale.

The charge of the Scientific Advisory Group will be to help provide clearinghouse users with transparency regarding the level of evidence associate with the programs and technologies suggested. The Scientific Advisory Group will Identify innovative/emerging technologies and programs addressing social isolation; determine criteria for inclusion in Clearinghouse, particularly for those that have not yet been rigorously tested/fully evidence-based; recommend a screening mechanism/tool for people coming into the clearinghouse and ways to monitor and build on it.

The Scientific Advisory Group will be comprised of up to 10 individuals from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of expertise in evaluation and evidence-based programs related to social isolation. Members will serve 2-3-year terms, with the option to renew membership.

Members

John Tschida, Executive Director, Assoc. of University Centers on Disabilities

Dr. Matthew Smith, Co-Director, Texas A&M University Center for Population Health and Aging

Dr. Eden Litt, UX Researcher, Facebook

Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Researcher, Brigham Young University

Larry Goldberg, Head of Accessibility, Verizon Media

Dr. Louise Hawkley, Senior Research Scientist, NORC at the University of Chicago

Dr. Tracey Gendron, Chair / Assoc. Professor Gerentology, Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Thomas Cudjoe, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Verena Cimarolli, Ph.D., Senior Health Services Researcher, LeadingAge LTSS Center

Dr. Linda Burnes Bolton, DrPH, RN, FAAN, SVP and Chief Health Equity, Cedars-Sinai

A Diverse Group of Organizations Dedicated to Reaching and Engaging Socially Isolated Individuals

The Clearinghouse Council will support the development of a clearinghouse focused on the dissemination of relevant interventions to address social isolation at a community, state and national level.  The Council will direct the governance and maintenance of technologies and inform the continued evolution of the Clearinghouse’s ability to assess and match needs to accessible, affordable and easy to use resources, as well as long term sustainability of the website.   There will be continued information flow between the Council and the Scientific Advisory Group, the Council will focus on translating scientific findings to a more general audience.  They will work to identify gaps in the interventions housed within the clearinghouse so that there are robust offerings that meet the needs of our target populations.

The Council will focus on providing a comprehensive inventory of solutions and manage the overall direction of the project.  Initial efforts will focus on providing a comprehensive online platform with expectations to eventually encompass building an evidence-base clearinghouse for social isolation.  The clearinghouse will aim to help users learn to address social isolation and identify gaps where interventions are needed.

Members

Cristen Reat, Co-Founder & Program Director, BridgingApps.org

Carla Perissinotto, MD, MHS, Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, UCSF

Tim Connor, Contracted Evaluator, UW Population Health Institute in support of the Wisconsin DHS

Stephen Ewell, Executive Director, CTA Foundation

Sara A. Link, Director, No Wrong Door Virginia Department for Aging & Rehabilitative Services

Sandy Markwood, Executive Director, N4A

Mustafa Kapadia, Global Practice Leader, Digital Transformation & Innovation, Google

Dr. Alison Bryant, SVP Research, AARP

Majd Alwan, SVP of Technology & Business Strategy / Executive Director, LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST)

Joshua Pederson, Director, United Way Worldwide

Dr. Mav Decapua, DNP, PMHNP, Design Researcher, Microsoft

Noa Ghersin, Product Manager, Microsoft

About the Commit to Connect Nationwide Network of Champions

The Commit to Connect Champions are a nationwide network of passionate leaders and innovators at the local, state and national level dedicated to ending social isolation and loneliness. Champions work together to increase awareness of social isolation and loneliness, connect people who are/or at risk of social isolation to social connection programs and technologies, and create more socially connected communities inclusive of all people including older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers. This network of peers supports collaboration through shared learnings and open communication across sectors and perspectives.


Learn more about the role of Commit to Connect Champions here.

The Commit to Connect Nationwide Network of Champions Subcommittee is comprised of advisors and those with expertise on network engagement and community outreach, who will support the network’s development and coordination. Members Include:

  • Marty Blair, Executive Director, Rural Institute of The University of Montana
  • Adrienne Bradley, Director of Community Impact, ProMedica
  • Larry Curley, Executive Director, NICOA
  • Nanette Relave, MSW, Senior Director, National I&R Support Center, ADvancing States
  • Meredith Hanley, Director of Community Capacity Building, N4A
  • Sandra Harris, Volunteer State President, AARP Massachusetts
  • Susan Stiles, Senior Director of Product Development and Strategy, NCOA

How to Join the Commit to Connect Nationwide Network of Champions:

Joining the Commit to Connect Nationwide Network of Champions includes three steps:

  1. Review, complete and submit the application and champion commitment statement. The application outlines instructions on how to submit the form.
  2. After submitting your application, you’ll receive an email that confirms receipt of the application. We will review and process your application.
  3. Once the application is approved and processed, new champions will receive an email with access to the online network hub that includes resources and opportunities to network with other champions.

Apply to Join

FAQ:

What is Commit to Connect?

To address the growing public health issue of social isolation and loneliness, the Administration for Community Living established a public-private partnership to reach socially isolated older adults and people with disabilities to help them connect with services and supports to build the social connections they need to thrive.


Who can be a Champion?

Champions come from many different backgrounds, communities and perspectives. At the core, Champions are leaders and innovators at the local, state or national level dedicated to ending social isolation and loneliness.

Examples of potential local Champions:

  • Staff and volunteer leaders from: community-based organizations, local foundations and philanthropic organizations, educational institutions, long-term care ombudsmen, senior centers, parks and recreation departments, respite providers, senior housing and long-term care (including CCRCs, nursing, assisted living), caregiver associations, food security (e.g. pantries) organizations, animal welfare organizations, faith-based organizations, educators, Centers for Independent Living, health care organizations, disability-focused organizations, veteran service organizations and elected officials/offices

Local Champions can also be self-advocates

Examples of potential state Champions:

  • Staff and leaders from: State government, or groups/initiatives within state governments/agencies (e.g. state aging and disability offices, Public Health, Mental Health, Departments of Education), State Colleges/Universities, Long-Term Care State Ombudsmen programs, Nonprofits, Associations and Coalitions and/or private organizations with statewide reach, statewide philanthropic organizations, statewide assistive technology (AT) programs, university centers for excellence in developmental disabilities (UCEDD) network.

Examples of potential national Champions:

  • Staff and leaders from: national associations, national organizations, national societies, national coalitions, foundations and philanthropic organizations, technology companies, national housing providers, national health and long-term care providers, national health systems, national health plans and insurance companies, national faith-based organizations, and federal agencies.


What is the benefit of becoming a Champion?

As a network Champion you are a part of a group of passionate leaders and innovators at the local, state and national level dedicated to ending social isolation and loneliness. You will have opportunities to connect to and gain support from a collaborative network via an online network hub and stay informed on the latest research, tools and public awareness efforts from Commit to Connect.

Champions will also be able to participate in opportunities, such as working groups and free networking events/learning opportunities.


What are Champion responsibilities?

Champions will support Commit to Connect’s vision to deliver appropriate, informed solutions to decrease isolation and loneliness among older adults and people with disabilities, and its goal to reach up to 10 million socially isolated people.

Read more about the Champion’s role here.


What is the time commitment?

While on-going engagement is encouraged, the amount of time dedicated to this initiative is dependent on each Champion in the network.

Champions will have opportunities to participate in relevant learning and professional development activities, such as discussion forums, working groups and events. Feedback will be fostered through invitations to participate in occasional brief surveys or polls to help inform the improvement of the network and the overall Commit to Connect Initiative

Champions will also help identify programs and technologies that address social isolation and loneliness and submit them for consideration to be included in the Commit to Connect Clearinghouse.


What information are Champions expected to share?

Champions will help measure success towards the goal of reaching up to 10 million socially isolated older adults and people with disabilities by tracking the total number of individuals reached periodically through their respective work (including through webinars, materials distributed in communities, social media messages etc.)

In addition, Champions will have ways to share feedback, input and thoughts through discussion forums, optional surveys & polls, and more.


What counts as a person reached?

A person reached includes older adults (age 65 and older) and people with disabilities (all ages) who are/or at-risk of social isolation or loneliness who a) join an event or workshop; b) participate in a program; c) receive public awareness materials (such as a post card, social media message or digital asset) that builds awareness of social isolation and loneliness, and helps connect individuals to social connection programs and technologies.


What if I don’t have this exact information or I’m unable to collect this information?

Champions are encouraged to share the most accurate or the best estimate of the total number of individuals reached. We do not require supplemental documentation to verify the person reached data.


How will this information be used?

These aggregate numbers will support efforts to measure success towards the Commit to Connect goal of reaching up to 10 million isolated or lonely people.

Feedback and insights shared through discussion forums and optional surveys and polls will help guide Commit to Connect strategies around how best to disseminate info, reach populations, assess if and how well interventions are working, and assess gaps.


What about measuring beyond reach?

Reach is only a baseline measurement as we evaluate the overall success of the Commit to Connect vision to deliver appropriate, informed solutions to decrease isolation and loneliness.

As Commit to Connect tools and resources evolve, we’re developing methods to measure outputs and/or outcomes at different levels to support the vision of Commit to Connect.


How do I join the network?

Apply to join the network here.

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