A Commitment to Elder Care
For decades, Tony Buividas, WG’79, has lent a guiding hand to the gerontological mission of Penn Nursing. When the School’s Living Independently for Elders program opened its doors in 1998, Tony volunteered to take on the role as chair of the finance committee - a role he continued until being asked to assume the position as LIFE’s interim CEO and overseeing with LIFE’s dedicated team, its successful transition to management by new ownership. His efforts will contribute to LIFE’s long-term viability for its members, their families, and the West Philadelphia community - while ensuring Penn Nursing continues to maintain a close relationship with the program as a research, teaching, and practice site. But Tony still felt he could do more.
With a recent gift to Penn Nursing, Tony Buividas has established the Advancement of Gerontological Nursing Fund, to support growth and innovation in the School’s gerontological efforts and its evolving partnership with the LIFE program. Part of this new fund will support a new term professorship at the School. The establishment of the Anthony Buividas Term Chair of Gerontology was instrumental in recruiting new faculty member Nancy A. Hodgson, PhD, RN, FAAN, to Penn Nursing. Dr. Hodgson is a nurse scientist nationally recognized in the areas of palliative care and dementia care for older adults.
“When the LIFE program was started almost 18 years ago, it was pioneering gerontological nurse faculty who had a great idea and took a lot of initiative and risk in promoting this new model of care,” said Buividas. “I want this fund to help enable the School to maintain that capability and cutting-edge entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to gerontological care.”
Despite LIFE’s new affiliation, it remains an integral part of Penn Nursing’s practice, education, and research mission. As a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), LIFE provides comprehensive health, recreational and social services in an effort to promote independence at home. Primary care is provided almost exclusively by nurse practitioners, which remains critical as the shortage of primary care practitioners continues to grow. Additionally, the nurse practitioners function as case-managers, coordinating health and other care so participants can stay in their homes.
“The model of care at LIFE is compelling,” said Buividas. “It’s the type of care cited by policymakers as to where we need to move in order to achieve ‘the triple AIM’ - improving patient experience, population health, and affordability. It accomplishes all of this because it utilizes interdisciplinary teams, a holistic approach to care and care management, and also importantly because it’s a nurse practitioner based model for care.”
As our population continues to expand and age, as we live longer with more co-existing conditions, the need for primary care only continues to grow. Penn Nursing’s dedication to gerontological nursing is more important than ever, as are investments in the field. For Tony Buividas, this commitment stems from more than just a professional history.
I come from a family where our elders live a long time - and so I have had a lot of experience taking care of family members. What struck me is that even in a family like mine, where we had healthcare experience, sibling support and financial resources, it was still challenging for us to provide good care for our parents and elders. These challenges are only multiplied across the larger community.