SHARE Awards in Improving Health for Minority Elders

Penn's Institute on Aging and SmithKline Beecham announce the first multi-national awards program aimed at improving the health status of racially, ethnically and culturally diverse elders in the U.S. and Canada.

The SHARE Awards will "foster healthy aging across cultures by recognizing community-based programs that meet these groups' unique cultural, ethnic and linguistic needs," its press release says. The program is now accepting applications and nominations for the up to $1.5 million in funds it will award in 1999. A total of $4.5 million will be awarded over three years. Community-based, non-governmental health care and social service organizations that have the primary mission of improving health care access and outcomes for elders are eligible for the awards, of which two types will be given: Leadership and Innovation Awards.

Leadership Awards will be given to organizations that have had a positive, measurable impact on the well being of diverse groups of elders through culturally competent approaches to health care. Candidates for these awards must be nominated by organizations or individuals familiar with the nominee, and up to ten of these $50,000, one-year awards will be given in 1999.

Innovation Awards will be granted to organizations proposing new approaches to improving health care access and outcomes for racial, ethnic and cultural minority elders. Candidates for the Innovation Awards must apply for this award through a formal application process, and up to five of these $200,000, two-year awards will be given in 1999-2000.

The Institute's director, Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, said the number of people over age 65 in the U.S. has more than tripled since 1900 and is expected to increase another 56% by 2030--while in Canada, by the year 2016, the number of people age 80 and older will increase by more than 80%. This warrants a "call to action," she said, so the SHARE Awards will "reward community-based organizations that address the issue and catalyze others to do the same."

The SHARE Awards are administered by the Institute on Aging and sponsored by SmithKline Beecham's philanthropic arm, which focuses on building partnerships with non-profit organizations to support projects with clear health benefits.

"We are supporting the SHARE Awards as part of our overall commitment to improving health care in the U.S. and Canada and because the awards focus on a substantial and growing problem that previously has not been addressed on a multi-national level," explained Howard Pien, president of SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals. In addition to its financial support, SmithKline Beecham will encourage its employees throughout the U.S. and Canada to volunteer their time and expertise to help awardee organizations carry out their cultural competency programs.

Nominations for Leadership Awards are due at the Institute by June 1, 1999, and applications for Innovation Awards by June 15, 1999. Awards will be announced in September. For more information or forms, contact the Institute on Aging at (215) 573-5532 or by e-mail at Application information is also on the Institute's web site at

Almanac, Vol. 45, No. 30, April 27, 1999