Katie White is the Director of Age-Friendly Communities Columbus and Franklin County at The Ohio State University College of Social Work. Ms. White studied gerontology at The Ohio State University and has spent her career working and volunteering with older adults. Her experience in person-centered program development at the Alzheimer’s Association sparked an ongoing passion for elevating the voice of older adults in the community, which was further strengthened in her role as founding Executive Director of Village Connections. Her dedication to inclusive-planning served as the foundation for the Age-Friendly Columbus initiative within the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and continues to guide her daily work advocating with and for older adults.
Creative approaches to combating ageism: emerging interdisciplinary and intergenerational programs in Ohio
Age-Friendly Columbus began in 2016 at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and under the leadership of an Advisory Council, 50+Resident Council, and several topic-specific committees. A year-long research and assessment phase, followed by a year-long strategic planning phase resulted in two publications: The Age-Friendly Columbus Findings Report and The Age-Friendly Columbus Strategic Plan.
Through the 2016 Age-Friendly Columbus random sample mailed survey, we learned that forty-one percent of older adults in our city either agree or strongly agree that members of their community have negative stereotypes of older adults and only 21 percent disagree with the statement. This was cause of serious concern and motivated a number of creative ideas around how to engage individuals of all ages and backgrounds in programs to reduce negative stereotypes about aging. Four emerging and innovative programs will be featured through mapping, photos, videos and testimonials:
- Peer-exchange between Columbus, Ohio and New York City, New York
- Intergenerational training on Age-Friendly Cities with a Columbus Middle School
- Utilizing multi-media to influence cross-sector leaders through a mini documentary, “A day in the life of Karen”
- The Button Up Ageism Campaign