Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the College of Medicine at The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, has been selected by Representative Chet Edwards to attend the 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA), to be held December 11-14 in Washington, D.C. Dr. Colenda will bring insight and knowledge to the conference, based on his medical specialization in geriatric psychiatry.
“I am deeply honored to be nominated by Congressman Edwards and I appreciate the confidence he has placed in me to represent his district at the White House Conference on Aging,” Dr. Colenda said. “As an individual who has been involved in geriatrics for my entire career as physician, I believe this conference will help set an agenda for priorities and needed public debate regarding our aging population. This is especially important for health policy, Medicare and quality of life as we age.”
A total of 42 delegates will represent Texas at the conference, with eight delegates named by Governor Rick Perry and 34 named by members of Texas’s Congressional delegation. Twelve hundred delegates from throughout the country will participate in the 2005 WHCoA, the fifth such conference in United States history. Delegates will vote on resolutions and develop implementation strategies that will help the President and Congress shape aging policies for the next decade and beyond.
The theme for the 2005 WHCoA is “The Booming Dynamics of Aging: From Awareness to Action”, which reflects the changing face of aging in America. The 2005 WHCoA, mandated by the Older Americans Act, will focus on the interests and needs of current seniors, as well as the 78 million baby boomers who will begin to turn 60 in 2006.
Previous White House Conferences on Aging were held in 1961, 1971, 1981 and 1995. Although the 1961 White House Conference on Aging was the first to be designated White House, several national conferences held in the 1950s laid the foundation for this important event. In 1950, President Truman directed the Federal Security Administration to hold a national conference on aging to assess challenges posed by the changing demographics of the nation. The 1950 event served as an initial exploratory forum for addressing concerns of older people.
Past White House Conferences on Aging have contributed to the establishment of many key aging programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, the Supplemental Security Income Program, Social Security reforms and establishment of the National Institute on Aging. Past Conferences also led to creation of a national nutrition program for older persons, and establishment of the national aging network.

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