Ann Sutton Burke, MPA, CMC, Jewish Family Service Director of Aging and Caregiver Services, was honored as the 2012 Outstanding Professional in Aging by Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio (COA) at its annual meeting Wednesday March 7, 2012. Commissioner Greg Hartmann, Board of Hamilton County Commissioners, presented the award before an audience of 500 professionals and volunteers in aging.
This COA award honors a person who has made a significant contribution of professional service to older adults and their families in southwestern Ohio and who has had a profound and lasting impact. Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio is one of our region’s largest non-profit organizations and is designated by the state of Ohio to be the Area Agency on Aging for the five southwestern Ohio counties. COA is responsible for planning, coordinating and administrating local, state and federally funded programs and services for older adults.
Ann has been a leading contributor in the field of Aging in Cincinnati and nationally for over 30 years. Her background includes program planning and organization in senior centers, care management, home health, adult day services, corporate elder care, and caregiver services.
Ann has been with Jewish Family Service since June 2003 when she arrived to direct the agency’s newly-funded Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) program. NORCs, which are neighborhoods where residents continue to live independently in their homes and communities where they are familiar, was at that time an emerging field and has since evolved into a national movement to encourage aging friendly communities. In 2006, Ann testified about older adult issues at a United States Senate Subcommittee on Retirement Security and Aging hearing on the importance of providing supportive services to NORCs. She was appointed as the Director of the Aging and Caregiver Services Department that same year.
“Through her leadership we have seen this department grow and prosper,” said Beth Schwartz, Jewish Family Service Executive Director. “Ann is highly respected by JFS staff, colleagues within the Jewish Community, and peers in the professional network of Aging Services in our region. Ann honors all of us with her passion for her work, her knowledge, expertise, and professionalism.”
As the Director of Aging and Caregiver Services at Jewish Family Service, Ann oversees six broad program areas and supervises a staff of 16. She also serves on the Board of the Association of Professionals in Aging (as President-Elect), the Planning Committee for the Forum on Aging, and the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Cincinnati Chapter Symposium. She is a past President and current member of Home Health Professional Advisory Committee, City of Cincinnati Health Department. The Planning Partnership-Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission selected Ann as a panelist for its Sustainable Hamilton County Workshop. Ann is a Nationally Certified Geriatric Care Manager who has her undergraduate degree from Miami University in Sociology with a concentration on Gerontology, and a Masters in Public Administration from Xavier University.
“Passion and heart,” said Liz Tassone, a gerontologist and owner of Tassone Consulting. “I still see in her the same passion for the field of aging that she had as a young college student thirty five years ago. And I still see in her the same heart for serving a population that continues to need a strong advocate. She has continued to serve this community for over thirty years with her dedication to improving the lives of older adults. There is no other person I know who is more deserving of this Council on Aging award than Ann Sutton Burke.”
Ann showed that passion in her acceptance speech, saying, “What we were really passionate about (when I started as a COA intern), and still are, is helping everyone age successfully. Things have changed in the past thirty years but I routinely see evidence still of ageism, exploitation, patronizing, and created dependency. Please wake up and realize you are creating your own future. You are the role models in how you treat your clients and your aging parents. You are the role models for how your own children will treat you as you age. I challenge each of you to design and deliver services and care that not only are efficient and sustainable, but are what you would want for your loved ones and for your own future.”