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Thursday, October 16, 2003 Contact: AoA Press Office
(202) 401-4541

AoA and FDA Focus Disease Prevention Initiative Toward Older Hispanic Americans

The Administration on Aging (AoA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) --agencies in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - - today announced a collaboration to reduce health disparities among older Hispanic Americans. To kick off this effort, the agencies will host a panel on these issues at a National Hispanic Leadership Round Table in Washington, D.C., on October 16.

“This new effort represents another step toward our goal of closing the health gap affecting racial and ethnic minorities,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. “By focusing the efforts and resources of these two important agencies, we will strengthen our efforts to reach older Hispanic Americans with health messages that can help them stay healthier and live longer.”

As part of the new initiative, AoA and FDA will identify issues that affect the health of older Hispanic Americans and develop culturally sensitive messages that resonate with older Hispanics. In this effort to reach older Hispanic Americans, the agencies will cultivate and expand partnerships with national Hispanic organizations, Hispanic electronic and print media, and other private organizations to support education and outreach to Hispanic communities.

In the first of several forums, AoA and FDA will meet with Hispanic leaders to discuss areas of concern affecting senior Hispanics in America and to share perspectives on approaches for reaching this audience.

“We are very pleased that we could meet with national Hispanic leaders to talk about the health of older Hispanics and to roll out our new partnership with the Food and Drug Administration,” said Assistant Secretary for Aging, Josefina G. Carbonell. “Working together with Hispanic leaders, we hope that we’ll be able to increase the quality and years of healthy life and eliminate health disparities faced by older Hispanics,” she said.

“We are committed to helping protect and advance the health of all Americans,” said FDA Commissioner Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D. “Older Hispanic Americans and their families need to have the best health information available and in a language and format they can best understand and use.”

The agencies will also work with community partners to develop educational materials and caregiver tool kits on the safe use of medicines, nutrition and healthy eating, drug interactions, reporting side effects, antibiotic overuse, dietary supplements, and health fraud.

The Hispanic population over age 65 was two million in 2002 and is projected to grow to over 13 million by 2050. Hispanics comprised 5.5 percent of the entire United States’ older population in 2002; by 2050, the percentage of the older population that is Hispanic is projected to account for 16 percent of the U.S.’s older population.

AoA provides financial support to develop comprehensive, coordinated home and community-based care for older people and caregivers. AoA’s mission is to promote the dignity and independence of older people, and to help society prepare for an aging population. Created in 1965 to carry out the Older Americans Act (OAA), AoA is part of a federal, state, tribal and local partnership called the national Network on Aging. This network serves about seven million older people and over 250,000 of their caregivers each year.

The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety and effectiveness of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices; and the safety of foods, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information it needs to use medicines and foods to improve their health.

For more information about AoA, please visit and for more information about FDA, please visit

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