This spark session will feature the early results from a three-year study on how peer-to-peer companion programs support older adults aging at home.

The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and three member organizations, is nearing the end of a three-year research study examining the effect of peer-to-peer companion programs on supporting older adults aging at home. The study examines the effect of these programs in reducing hospital utilization, postponing movement to higher levels of care, and older adults’ mental well-being. Members of the project team will share the early results from the study.

Through this presentation by the project team, learn about early results and issues related to the research project, such as:

  • How organizations can build human and social capital in communities through peer networks, with consideration of local factors impacting aging populations
  • The benefits of peer-to-peer programs for both volunteers and older adults
  • Implications for integration with health systems
  • The role of community-based organizations in supporting healthy aging

Learning Objectives

  • Early results of the research study
  • Alliance network examples of low-cost, community-based methods for aging services

Presenter: Elizabeth Jacobs, Chief of Primary Care and Value-Based Health and Associate Chair for Research Internal Medicine, Dell Medical School, University of Texas at Austin; Jenny Madlof, Research Specialist at the AJFCS for the Aging in Place Study; Vivian Sauer, Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

Elizabeth Jacobs
Chief of Primary Care and Value-Based Health 
Associate Chair for Research Internal Medicine
University of Texas at Austin

Elizabeth A. Jacobs is the chief of primary care and value-based health and the associate chair for research at Dell Medical School. Prior to her appointment in Austin, Jacobs was a professor of medicine and population health sciences and vice chair for health services research in the Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Her career has been dedicated to investigating and reducing disparities in health care and promoting healthy aging. Jacobs’ research interests include access to and cultural specificity of medical care delivered to minority and rural populations, the impact of interpreter service interventions on the cost and quality of health care, health literacy and numeracy, the role that trust in health care plays in racial/ethnic disparities in health care, and the impact of community-based interventions on promoting aging in place.

Jenny Madlof
Research Specialist
Alpert Jewish Family and Children’s Service

Jenny Madlof is a graduate of the University of Cape Town, South Africa where she received a BA in Education. She taught for a number of years in Cape Town and thereafter immigrated to Israel. There she worked at the South African Zionist Federation (Israel) for nearly 20 years, assisting new immigrants from South Africa by meeting them at the airport on their arrival and helping them through all the procedures there. She was also responsible as Property Manager in this organization assisting ex-South Africans in their accommodation needs. In 1999 she moved to Las Vegas, NV where she married her husband. In the USA she continued educating others being a teacher at the Hebrew Academy in Las Vegas as well as teaching English as a second language. On moving to Overland Park., KS she was employed as the Members Services Coordinator at Kehilath Israel Synagogue and also continued her educational role as the Religious School teacher at this Synagogue.

For the past seven years she has worked at the Alpert Jewish Family and Children’s Service (AJFCS) in West Palm Beach, Florida. Her first role as the Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute’s Workshop in Business Opportunity (WIBO) introduced her to the agency and to the population that they served. Later on she became the Program Director of the Community Health Peer Support Initiative (CHPSI) through Stanford University, recruiting peer facilitators and participants for the 6 week Workshops for seniors with chronic illnesses. Currently she is the Research Specialist at the AJFCS for the Aging in Place Study. This project is directed by the University of Wisconsin, Madison and supported by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Her responsibilities in this current role are to recruit participants and administer surveys. She is also partnering with the other research specialists in the writing of a manuscript describing the experiences of an embedded research specialist working with the at-risk older adult population.

Vivian Sauer
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles

Vivian Sauer, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, was an executive staff member of Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles and held a variety of positions in the agency, in her 32 year tenure. As Chief Program Officer of JFS, Vivian supervised all programs areas, including Older Adult Services, Domestic violence and Shelter Services and Food and Hunger. In that role, she secured the first contract for the agency with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and developed a new model of care transition for psychiatric patients being discharged from a medical setting. Vivian was responsible for providing strategic leadership to the agency as well as program and grant development and recently coordinated the effort that led to CARF accreditation for the agency. She enjoys a reputation as an innovative social services professional with extensive experience in implementing and directing strategic program development, integrating service delivery and developing effective partnerships and alliances. She has expertise in serving older adults and their caregivers, survivors of the Holocaust and people living in poverty.

Vivian has a consultation practice in the areas of training and supervision, grant and program development, strategic planning, and quality management She provides training in the areas of trauma informed care, paraprofessional development, resilience and self-care and sustainable health care partnerships.

Vivian holds a Bachelors from Hunter College and a Masters in Social Work from the Hunter’s College School of Social Work in New York, with a B.A. degree in political science and sociology.