Influencing public policy to improve the lives of older Americans

Gregory A. Hinrichsen, Kathryn G. Kietzman, Gretchen E. Alkema, Elizabeth J. Bragg, Brian K. Hensel, Toni P. Miles, Dorry L. Segev, Judy Zerzan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Aging of the U.S. population raises numerous public policy issues about which gerontological researchers, policy experts, and practitioners have much to contribute. However, the means by which aging-related public policy is influenced are not always apparent. Drawing on experience working in the U.S. Senate and other settings as Health and Aging Policy Fellows, the authors outline the formal and informal processes by which public policy is shaped in the U.S. Congress. Many who seek to influence public policy do so by telling legislators what they want. A less obvious path to policy influence is for gerontologists to offer their expertise to legislators and their staff. The authors provide specific recommendations for how gerontologists can establish productive and ongoing relationships with key legislative players. The authors also emphasize the importance of collaboration with advocacy groups and with local and state stakeholders to advance aging-related public policy to improve the lives of older Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)735-743
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Advocacy
  • Political science
  • U.S. Congress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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