McCormack Speaks

November 21, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

A Closer Look at Bulgaria’s Aging Population Challenge

This post originally appeared on the Gerontology Institute blog

by Natalie Pitheckoff, McCormack student

picture of Natalie PitheckoffMost Americans know very little about Bulgaria. Even fewer are aware of its aging population, which is creating great challenges (and opportunities) across the country. People often hear or read about aging in countries such as China and India due to their large projected increases in older adults. It seems like Bulgaria gets lost among the giants, even though the country’s current rate of population aging ranks fourth worldwide behind only Japan, Italy, and Germany (Karpinska & Dykstra, 2014; Velkovska, 2010).

As a Bulgarian citizen, I felt it was due time to shed some light on the country’s aging and demographic landscape. I decided to write a manuscript for The Gerontologist, published in the October edition, which describes in detail the factors that have led Bulgaria to its current circumstance and examines the serious implications for the years ahead. Continue reading.

Natalie Pitheckoff is a PhD candidate in the Department of Gerontology at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School.

April 3, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Rhode Island: The Test Case That Never Was for Medicaid Restructuring

by Edward Alan Miller, Professor of Gerontology and Public Policy

Although ultimately withdrawn before a vote, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) proposed by House Republicans would have radically restructured Medicaid by converting the federal government’s open-ended commitment to match state government spending with a per-capita cap on the amount of money a state could receive for each enrollee. An alternative to per-capita caps, Medicaid block grants, is also favored by some Republicans but was not included in this particular proposal. Block grants would replace the federal government’s open-ended financial commitment with a fixed up-front annual allotment for the entire covered population.

Advocates of per-capita caps and block grants invariably cite Rhode Island’s Global Medicaid Waiver as the poster child for block-granting Medicaid nationally. This continued with the most recent debate to restructure Medicaid (see, for example, National Review, The Hill). In the waning days of the George W. Bush administration, Rhode Island’s Republican administration negotiated the state’s global waiver which, beginning in 2009, included a $12.1 billion, five-year cap on total state and federal spending. Block grant proponents point out that Rhode Island was the first state to operate its entire Medicaid program under a global spending cap. In return, proponents claim that Rhode Island received unprecedented flexibility from burdensome federal rules that stymie innovation. They also claim Rhode Island achieved tens of millions of dollars in savings while spending several billion dollars less than the agreed upon cap.

The reality is quite different. Read more.

Edward Alan Miller specializes in aging and long-term care, telemedicine and e-health, intergovernmental relations, program implementation and evaluation, and Medicaid. He also serves as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Aging & Social Policy. He wrote about Rhode Island’s Global Waiver in Block Granting Medicaid: A Model for 21st Century Health Reform? (2013 hardcover, 2015 paperback, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group).


January 12, 2017
by justinmaher

Goodbye, Hello: Reflections on What’s Next for Public Service

by Justin Maher
McCormack Graduate School Dean’s Office

President Obama Delivers Address, 2016Tuesday night, President Obama took the stage to deliver his farewell address. In it, he painted an optimistic portrait of a nation filled with promise and people of all political stripes ready to continue to fight for an inclusive democracy. He also acknowledged that “our political dialogue has become so corrosive that people of good character aren’t even willing to enter into public service.” That frightening proposition, echoed by polls that show the steady and alarming decline of trust in government, deserves serious reflection.

As the assistant dean for academic programs at McCormack, I spend a good chunk of time talking to prospective students investigating graduate school. There are a myriad of reasons why they choose to pursue graduate study. Some are coming from a bachelor’s program and want to continue to specialize in a field they are passionate or curious about. Others are seasoned professionals ready for a career change or new skills. But, in addition to the personal and professional benefits, they are united by a commitment to improving their local and global communities.  Continue Reading →

November 4, 2016
by McCormack Speaks

Are Rhode Island Seniors Healthy?

Elder with health aideThe Tufts Health Plan Foundation and the Rhode Island Healthy Aging Advisory Council released the results of the Rhode Island 2016 Healthy Aging Data Report, prepared by the Gerontology Institute at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School, at a State House briefing on October 13.

The report details 120 healthy aging indicators for older adults in each of the state’s 39 cities and towns and shows how Rhode Island compares to other New England states.

This is the first time in Rhode Island that individuals will be able to compare communities within the state on healthy aging indicators–from chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and obesity to healthy aging behaviors like diet, exercise, and immunizations.

Continue Reading →

September 6, 2016
by McCormack Speaks
1 Comment

Policy Matters

by David W. Cash, Dean
John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies

ivanova-and-students-blogDig beneath the headlines that track the presidential campaigns and you find policy proposals, each of which has real and lasting impact on people–their jobs, communities, livelihoods, and security.


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