Ann L. Hartstein, the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Older Americans, was appointed today by Gov. Deval Patrick to be the new Secretary of Elder Affairs. She will begin work on July 1.
For Hartstein, well-known as a strong advocate in the elder community for over three decades, the appointment is a homecoming. She served in the office of Elder Affairs from 1998 to 2004, as a director of special projects and then as assistant secretary for policy and program development.
"Secretary Hartstein’s expertise and long-standing commitment to the elder community will serve Massachusetts’ seniors well," Patrick said in written statement announcing the appointment.
Seniors advocates had been anxious about the vacancy, after previous secretary Michael E. Festa resigned in January, reportedly over differences with the Patrick administration about a proposed reorganization of the office. Many advocates said they worried the administration was not focusing on issues important to seniors
But today's announcement appears to have calmed anxieties, and it elicited approval from a former state secretary of elder affairs, Paul Lanzikos, who is now president of North Shore Elder Services.
"Mike Festa was a good friend to elders and the aging network," Lanzikos said. "But Ann's appointment is definitely reassuring to us in the network.
"She is very grounded in knowing the needs of Massachusetts elders and how the aging system works and what is needed to keep it working."
Hartstein holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts in Gerontology, as well as a Masters in Management of Human Services from Brandeis University.
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|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
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