Policy Analyst/Legislative Point of Contact/International Point of Contact: Melinda Kelley, Ph.D.
In addition to the general public, the NIA interacts with a number of other constituent groups, including members and staff of Congress, associations and advocacy organizations, and academic and professional groups. NIA staff monitor and analyze proposed legislation and scientific policies that directly affect the Institute’s mission, and senior NIA staff are frequently called upon to testify before and brief Congress on topics such as Alzheimer’s disease, chronic diseases, genetics of longevity, and healthy aging.
These efforts are coordinated by a senior staff member within the NIA Office of the Deputy Director. In addition to serving as the NIA legislative point of contact for Congressional staff relating to aging public health policy issues, this individual provides outreach to outside organizations that have an interest in the NIA mission, including advocacy groups, professional societies, and non-profit organizations. Activities include responding to inquiries and preparing and reviewing materials for use by various constituencies.
By 2050, more than 20 percent of the world’s population will be over age 60, and the number of very old — those over 85 — will increase six fold. As an effect of global aging, non-communicable chronic diseases likely will replace communicable, perinatal, maternal, and nutritional conditions as the world’s leading causes of death and disability. These epidemiological predictions highlight a worldwide need to separate chronic disease states from healthy aging and to develop effective preventive and treatment strategies against the chronic diseases and disabilities often associated with aging.
International activities at the NIA are coordinated by a staff member in the Office of the Deputy Director who serves as a liaison with international agencies, foreign organizations, and foreign scientists involved in aging research. She also coordinates aging research activities under agreements between the U.S. and other countries, promotes strategies to build global aging research capacity, and supports collaborative research projects.