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Innovations for Aging in New Jersey on Display at Rutgers University’s InnovAGING NJ 2024 Summit

The Hub for Aging Collaboration at the Rutgers University School of Social Work hosted the inaugural InnovAGING NJ 2024 Summit on March 22, 2024. This free virtual event served as a showcase of innovative programs, practices, and partnerships changing norms for aging in New Jersey. The 250 attendees spanned five states (and Washington, D.C.) and represented all but one of New Jersey’s 21 counties.

“At the Hub for Aging Collaboration, we have learned from age-friendly leaders the importance of collaborative events for spurring social change,” reflected Emily A. Greenfield, PhD, Professor of Social Work and Director of the Rutgers University Hub for Aging Collaboration. “We are thrilled that InnovAGING accomplished many strategic aims – a statewide networking event, a conference, a celebration, a call to action, and more. We are grateful to all of the people, groups, and organizations whose time and talents made this convening the success it was.”

Designed as a mini-conference, InnovAGING NJ 2024 featured presentations that highlighted the breadth of innovation on aging in New Jersey, from community programs and multi-sector collaborations to advocacy efforts and state policy initiatives. Speakers included age-friendly leaders, health and social services providers, and experts on social inclusion, disabilities, workforce development, housing, and technology. The event also featured remarks from the New Jersey Department of Human Services Deputy Commissioner for Aging and Disability Services, Kaylee McGuire, who credited summit organizers for showcasing efforts that embrace collaboration and approach aging as a “continuum rather than as a category.”

“It takes all of us to create a New Jersey that we want for ourselves, for our families and for all older adults,” McGuire said.

For both attendees and speakers, the summit was an opportunity to share new ideas and successful strategies and to learn from others in the field.

EJ Vizzi, Director of Senior Programs at the Bright Side Family/Age-Friendly Teaneck and presenter at InnovAGING NJ 2024, reflected on the value of being part of the event. “In every career, whether directly connected to gerontology or those seemingly unrelated, we can contribute to the well-being of our aging population,” she said. “As a social worker, I deeply value opportunities to work alongside leaders from diverse fields, from shaping inclusive policies to offering hands-on services. Rutgers stands out for initiating InnovAGING during Careers in Aging Month, fostering an invaluable space for these conversations.”

The InnovAGING NJ 2024 Summit also illustrated the feasibility of using standard Zoom technology, in addition to mobilizing partnerships across sectors, to create an online space for convening, connecting, and catalyzing people interested in and working toward advancing aging in New Jersey and beyond. To this point, 92% of attendees at this Rutgers-hosted event identified with a sector other than higher education.

To access recordings and other materials from InnovAGING NJ 2024, visit https://go.rutgers.edu/InnovAGING-NJ-2024.
To sign up for announcements regarding future events through the Hub, visit https://go.rutgers.edu/JoinHubEmail.