Category: Social and Community Context

25 - Innovative Community-Based Partnerships: Linking Affordable Senior Housing And Academia To Support Healthy Aging

The United States spends roughly $725 billion per year from all sources on long-term services and supports
(LTSS). As people live longer and baby boomers grow older, the need for and spending on LTSS will increase
significantly. People with functional limitations and chronic conditions often encounter systems that are not
coordinated to meet both their medical and social support needs. In order to prevent social isolation and
better serve seniors, some affordable housing communities have formed connections with universities. These
organizations support positive aging-in-place by providing services and programs that support the needs of
residents in affordable housing communities. This partnership promotes social engagement through health
education and personal empowerment. Evidence from two affordable housing communities in MD and VA will
show that the addition of services and programs can improve quality of life for low-income seniors. Academic
partners, in turn, can gain practical knowledge from community-based seniors to inform their research and
provide students with the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom.


Karon Phillips

Adjunct Assistant Professor
UMBC, Maryland

Dr. Karon Phillips is a public health gerontologist working in the Washington, D.C. area. Her leadership capacity includes overseeing the senior portfolio of a leading affordable housing non-profit. She focused on conducting and coordinating a variety of coalition building and programmatic activities to promote healthy aging. She also supported the real estate team on applications for new property acquisitions and promoting community engagement throughout the development process. One of the accomplishments she is most proud of is the successful creation and implementation of programming and partnerships for two new senior communities, Highland Park in Richmond, VA and Hollins House in Baltimore, MD. Her current research interests focus on the study, and ultimate elimination, of health disparities among older minority populations through cultural competence, improving health literacy, and community-based interventions.