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Chair’s Corner: A Shout-out to Aging Network Professionals

Audience Applauding Speaker After Conference Presentation

You may not be surprised to hear me give a shout-out to the professionals at Aging and Disability Services—the Area Agency on Aging for Seattle-King County. After all, I chair the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services (ADS). But let me tell you a little bit about how they shared their expertise last month and give you some links to great information about the Aging Network.

(l-r) Audrey Buehring, Cathy Knight, Karen Heeney, Jon Morrison Winters, Allison Boll, and Angela Miyamoto

ADS director Cathy Knight, four ADS staff members, and Seattle Human Services Department deputy director Audrey Buehring participated in the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) conference in Chicago. Here’s a sample of their activities:

  • Cathy presented three times! First, while relatively new to ADS but a longtime veteran of the Washington Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Cathy served as a panelist in a “boot camp” for new Area Agency on Aging (AAA) directors and staff, along with directors of agencies in Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, and “the other Washington,” DC. This session highlighted governance, finance, relationships, and leadership.
  • Cathy joined Lynn Kimball, her counterpart at Aging & Long Term Care of Eastern Washington, in presenting “Supporting Caregivers through Medicaid Waivers” Cathy and Lynn described how Washington is implementing a Medicaid Transformation 1115 waiver to show that offering evidence-based caregiver support services to individuals who have not yet “spent down” to Medicaid and offering new options to current Medicaid-eligible clients will help divert and delay people from needing full Medicaid long-term care.
  • Finally, Cathy was one of the presenters in “Advocacy in 2018: New Truths & Techniques to Up Your Game,” which helped advocates learn what it takes to avoid feeling overwhelmed and fatigued, and be at the top of their game during challenging times. Inspiration for all! (Check out slide #13 in the visual presentation—the photo from a meeting that ADS Advisory Council member June Michel and Cathy had with U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell last spring.)
  • ADS planner Angela Miyamoto presented “Building a No Wrong Door System to Serve Diverse Populations,” sharing her expertise gained from developing Community Living Connections, the “no wrong door” system in Seattle-King County that streamlines access to programs and services. Community Living Connections provides a central access point complemented by an integrated network of culturally and linguistically diverse community-based agencies, each contributing a unique approach and capacity to serve diverse community members. Over the past two years, our model has enhanced access to services, client choice, and coordination.
  • ADS primary care liaison Allison Boll joined a team from University of Washington, Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities of Southwest Washington, and Direction Home Akron Canton (a AAA in Ohio) in presenting “AAA-Based Practicums for Health Care Trainees: Transforming Clinical Training Environments.” The team described the work of the Northwest Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Center (GWEC), a partnership that is responding to a shortage of geriatrics-trained primary care providers by providing the health care trainees with first-hand exposure to the Aging Network. The Northwest GWEC utilizes several educational formats, including team-based discussions, self-paced learning, and job shadowing, and emphasizes patient referral to local resources.
  • ADS Case Management Program supervisor Karen Heeney joined colleagues from Illinois and California in presenting “Increasing Your Elder Justice Footprint,” helping AAA staff from around the country do more to build support systems for those at risk of abuse or those who are experiencing it. This session emphasized public awareness, victim services, and interdisciplinary collaborations such as our elder abuse case management and vulnerable adult program partnerships with Seattle Fire, Seattle Police, King County EMS, Adult Protective Services, and the Office of the King County Prosecuting Attorney. (Learn more about these programs by watching a Seattle Channel video from a presentation in early July.)
  • ADS planner Jon Morrison Winters joined colleagues from Portland, Oregon and from the Metropolitan Center for Applied Research and Extension here in Washington to present “Senior Housing in Age-Friendly Communities,” which showcased our agency’s experience in building partnerships and developing solutions to address the critical need for affordable senior housing and housing-related services. Much of this work is included in “Moving Toward Age-Friendly Housing in King County,” a report commissioned by the City of Seattle Human Services Department in partnership with City of Seattle Office of Housing and King County and “Age-Friendly Housing Plan Stakeholder Involvement Summary,” a consultant report that summarizes community involvement in the age-friendly housing report.

There is a wealth of information about Aging and Disability Services’ work available in the links above. If you have questions about anything you see or about the topics in general, please feel free to reach out to ADS staff by sending e-mail to

Kudos to (left to right) Danny Maxson, WellCare Health Plan; Dr. Kate Bennett, Northwest Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Center; David Kelly, director of the Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities of SW Washington (AAADSW); Allison Boll, ADS primary care liaison; and Melissa Ensey, AAADSW primary care liaison, along with n4a president Kathy Boles!

In other good news from the conference, the N4A recognized one of our sister agencies with a 2018 Innovation Award for Workforce Development due to the success of their Primary Care Liaison program, a collaboration with the Northwest Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Center (NWGWEC), which reflects well on ADS primary care liaison Allison Boll (see the NWGWEC presentation, above). Both liaisons help older adults and caregivers manage their health and healthcare, using evidence-based programs and approaches that support self-efficacy, positive health outcomes, and quality of care for older adults.

I’m proud of all the members of the Aging and Disability Services staff—case managers, social service aides, caregiver support specialists, contract specialists, planners, coordinators, administrative staff, and their leadership—and delighted that so many have had the opportunity to partner with colleagues from around the country, share knowledge, and be recognized at the national level.

Contributor Ava Frisinger chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services, which publishes AgeWise King County. She welcomes input from readers via e-mail ( as well as applicants for open positions on the council. For more information, visit

AC Group Picture 2018

Following are some of the events that ADS Advisory Council members will participate in this month:

The next Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services meeting is on November 9, due to September forums listed above and both a W4A | State Council on Aging meeting and the Washington State Senior Citizens Lobby fall conference in October.

Advisory Council meetings are open to the public. Agendas are available within a week of the meeting. For more information or to request an accommodation, contact Lori Sanford at or 206-684-7581.