With U.S. Back in WHO, Decade Ahead Looks More Promising

The U.S. is back as a full-fledged member of the World Health Organization (WHO) — and that bodes well for bringing a quicker end to the pandemic, the success of the “Decade of Healthy Ageing,” and many other things.

One of the first acts of Joe Biden’s presidency was to retract the withdrawal from WHO enacted by the previous administration. And for the icing on the cake, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has been tapped to represent the U.S. on the WHO Executive Committee.

This is an auspicious start to the second year of WHO’s Decade of Healthy Ageing, which is billed as “an opportunity to bring together governments, civil society, international agencies, professionals, academia, the media, and the private sector for ten years of concerted, catalytic and collaborative action to improve the lives of older people, their families, and the communities in which they live.” While the first year of the Decade of Healthy Aging got off to a rough start, it showcased the deeply entrenched ageism that undermines our collective work to improve the lives of older people.

WHO, an agency of the United Nations, has set the bar for the world’s governments and other multi-national organizations. About a month ago, it released a new resource, “Decade of Healthy Aging: Baseline Report,” which brings together data available for measuring healthy aging, defined by WHO as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age.”

And it’s the research of GSA members that provides forward progress in this arena. I urge all of you to take a look at this new publication and envision how your work will contribute to the many successes the field will enjoy by 2030!

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