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Alana Officer - International Federation on Ageing. Geneva, , CH

Alana Officer Alana Officer

Unit Head, Demographic Change and Healthy Ageing | World Health Organization

Geneva, SWITZERLAND

Alana Officer coordinates the United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing (2021-2030) & oversees WHO's work on age-friendly environments.

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Spotlight: Ms Alana Officer - Ageism NewCities Summit 2017 - The Social Infrastructure of Healthy Cities World Report on Disability and Intellectual Disability

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Biography

Alana Officer is a native of New Zealand. She holds a diploma in Health Science (Podiatric Medicine) from the Institute of Technology in Sydney, Australia; a Master's degree in Applied Science – Exercise and Sports Science (research) from the University of Sydney, Australia; and a Master’s degree in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom.

Alana started her career as a clinician in Australia and England before holding a number of technical and managerial positions working on disability, health and development in West and Central Africa, Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and the Western Pacific.

Alana joined WHO in 2006 and was the Coordinator for the Disability and Rehabilitation Team (DAR) within the Department of Violence and Injury Prevention from 2007 – 2014 where she led the development of such landmark resources as the WHO global disability action plan 2014–2021: Better health for all people with disability (2014), The International Perspectives on Spinal Cord injury (2013), the World report on disability (2011) and the Guidelines on community-based rehabilitation (2010) amongst many others. She has earned a number of awards for her contribution to disability and rehabilitation and is a member of several editorial boards for scientific journals.

Alana joined the Department of Ageing and Life Course in July 2014 to lead the development of the World Report on Ageing and Health, which was published in October 2015 and to support the development of the Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health (GSAP). She was also responsible for the Organization’s work on age-friendly environments including the Global Network on Age-friendly Cities and Communities and the development of a Global Campaign to Combat Ageism.

In January 2020, Alana became the head of a new unit in WHO on Demographic Change and Healthy Ageing (DHA). In this role she coordinates, on behalf of WHO, the United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing – a global collaboration to improve the lives of older people, their families and communities - as well as the related knowledge Platform on ageing. Alana continues to oversee the Organization’s work on age-friendly physical and social environments, including the Global Network on Age-friendly Cities and Communities and the Global Campaign to Combat Ageism.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Disability and Rehabilitation

Public Health

Communications

Age-friendly Environments

Ageism

Exercise and Sports Science

Multisectoral Partnerships

Education (3)

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: Masters, Public Health

University of Sydney: Masters, Applied Science – Exercise and Sports Science

Institute of Technology: Diploma, Health Science (Podiatric Medicine)

Media Appearances (6)

The Decade of Healthy Ageing: a new UN-wide initiative

World Health Organzation  online

2020-12-14

"Today’s announcement is the culmination of many years of collaboration with partners across the world,” said Alana Officer, who leads WHO’s Demographic Change and Healthy Ageing team. “But it also represents a new beginning. If we are to be successful in delivering the change envisaged under the Decade, we need new ways of working”.

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How Japan is handling more ageing drivers

BBC  online

2019-10-27

“You can’t say at X point in someone’s chronological age, they are likely to experience specific declines,” says Alana Officer, a disability and rehabilitation coordinator at the World Health Organization.

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Ageism: Understanding the effects on seniors

Honolulu Star Advertiser  online

2019-08-20

“It’s an incredibly prevalent and insidious problem,” said Alana Officer, who leads the World Health Organization’s global campaign against ageism, which it defines as “stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination” based on age. “It affects not only individuals, but how we think about policies.”

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Ageism: A ‘Prevalent and Insidious’ Health Threat

New York Times  online

2019-04-26

“It’s an incredibly prevalent and insidious problem,” said Alana Officer, who leads the World Health Organization’s global campaign against ageism, which it defines as “stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination” based on age. “It affects not only individuals, but how we think about policies.”

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How IoT for Senior Care Promotes Autonomy and Social Inclusion

The Doctors Weigh In  online

2019-02-22

According to Alana Officer, WHO Coordinator of Ageing and Life Course, ageism can take many forms. These include these: - “Depicting older people as frail, dependent, and out of touch in the media - Discriminatory practices such as health-care rationing by age - Institutional policies such as mandatory retirement at a certain age.”

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Growing old: How ageism can shorten our lives

Global News  online

2016-10-05

“Ageism can take many forms,” said Alana Officer, WHO co-ordinator of Ageing and Life Course. “These include depicting older people as frail, dependent, and out of touch in the media, or through discriminatory practices such as health-care rationing by age, or institutional policies such as mandatory retirement at a certain age.”

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Featured Articles (5)

Ageism, Healthy Life Expectancy and Population Ageing: How Are They Related?

International journal of environmental research and public health

Evidence shows that ageism negatively impacts the health of older adults. However, estimates of its prevalence are lacking. This study aimed to estimate the global prevalence of ageism towards older adults and to explore possible explanatory factors. Data were included from 57 countries that took part in Wave 6 of the World Values Survey. Multilevel Latent Class Analysis was performed to identify distinct classes of individuals and countries. Individuals were classified as having high, moderate or low ageist attitudes; and countries as being highly, moderately or minimally ageist, by aggregating individual responses.

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A global campaign to combat ageism

Bulletin of the World Health Organization

2018 The World Health Organization (WHO) defines ageism as the stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination towards people on the basis of age. Ageism cuts across the life-course and stems from the perception that a person might be too old or too young to be or to do something.

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A life-course approach to health: synergy with sustainable development goals

Bulletin of the World Health Organization

A life-course approach to health encompasses strategies across individuals’ lives that optimize their functional ability (taking into account the interdependence of individual, social, environmental, temporal and intergenerational factors), thereby enabling well-being and the realization of rights. The approach is a perfect fit with efforts to achieve universal health coverage and meet the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Properly applied, a life-course approach can increase the effectiveness of the former and help realize the vision of the latter, especially in ensuring health and well-being for all at all ages.

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Healthy ageing: moving forward

Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Of the many current global challenges, one trend is certain: populations are rapidly ageing and this demographic transition will affect almost all aspects of society. Yet, while we are living longer, it is still unclear whether we live these additional years in good health.1,2 Indeed, older age is characterized by greater diversity in health and circumstances. Even in low-income countries, an 80-year-old person may still be robust and healthy, while a 60-year-old may need significant care and support.

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Stakeholders’ perceptions of rehabilitation services for individuals living with disability: a survey study

Health and Quality of Life Outcomes volume

The World Health Organization (WHO) was tasked with developing health system guidelines for the implementation of rehabilitation services. Stakeholders’ perceptions are an essential factor to take into account in the guideline development process. The aim of this study was to assess stakeholders’ perceived feasibility and acceptability of eighteen rehabilitation services and the values they attach to ten rehabilitation outcomes.

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