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Oct 20, 2022

The Department of Health and Human Services helps to guide billions of dollars in investment and direction in research, policy, and health care. The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), within the HHS, is the principal advisor to the Secretary of HHS on health policy, ranging from legislation to strategic planning to research. How does this relate to aging policy and research? How does coordination occur between the federal, state and local level in aging health policies? And, who within ASPE guides aging policy and connects policy to every day health challenges experienced by patients and clinicians? 
On today today’s podcast, we are joined by guest host and UCSF geriatrician Ashwin Kotwal as we welcome Dr. Tisamarie Sherry (Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Behavioral Health, Disability, and Aging Policy (BHDAP), appointed by the Biden administration). This office is tasked with providing aging policy research and recommendations within ASPE, including long term care and the National Alzheimer’s Project Act.  Dr. Sherry shares her expertise in aging health policy and helps us make sense of the role of her Office and how she coordinates with the multitude of federal agencies aligned around the goal of advancing aging research, policy, and health. For the policy buffs and policy newbies out there, we hope this podcast is an essential primer to government in action. 
We talk about: 
  • The structure of federal agencies and how they coordinate 
  • Priorities of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, and the unique role of ASPE and BHDAP in guiding the agenda and long-term goals
  • The recent focus on nursing facilities and long term supportive services during the pandemic, along with key gaps
  • How HHS and ASPE solicit input from clinicians, community leaders, and older adults and how much it impacts policy decisions (spoiler alert: this involvement is CRUCIAL) 
  • How to make your voice heard and get involved   
We also touch briefly on topics discussed in prior podcasts such as loneliness and federal responses to the pandemic in relation to long-term care. Tune to hear Alex’s rendition of 'With a Little Help from My Friends'!
- Ashwin Kotwal, MD, MS