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Diversity Training Can Help Break Down Racial Disparities Among Older Adults

Last week, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memorandum ceasing federal funding for certain diversity trainings that address topics such as white privilege and critical race theory at executive agencies. This policy moves the federal government backwards in addressing and dismantling systemic racism, and improving health and economic security for older adults across the country.  

Older Americans who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color experience structural racism that compounds over their lifetimes. Federal agencies administer programs that are essential to older adults, yet massive racial disparities exist among older adults participating in these programs. For example, dual eligible older adults of color have disproportionately high rates of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Older adults of color experiencing long-standing health inequities may be denied life-saving treatment under discriminatory Crisis Standards of Care. Chronic homelessness and limited access to housing prevents older adults of color from accessing Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS), leading to unnecessary institutionalization in nursing homes.  

Justice in Aging recognizes the value of comprehensive training to identify systemic racial biases and seek solutions. We are committed to learning about the historical, persistent, and structural racism that shapes all of our experiences so that we can identify and advocate for solutions that will break down systemic barriers and improve health and economic outcomes among older adults of color. We call on the aging advocacy community to join us in this learning and to work with us to build more equitable systems. 

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