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On June 4, Msgr. Charles J. Fahey, the Marie Ward Doty Professor of Aging Studies (emeritus) at Fordham University, New York City, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) during ceremonies at the 2012 Catholic Health Assembly in Philadelphia.
Msgr. Fahey has worked in the university classroom, boardrooms and the halls of Congress. His message in each of these settings has been clear: The needs of the frail elderly are medical, economic and social.
According to Fahey, frailty in old age has consequences for individuals, families and society at large.
Msgr. Fahey has challenged health care providers and public policy makers to respond with solutions that are actually supported by the elderly.
He has advanced a patient-centric approach that underpins the support services and home health services that enable many frail elderly to remain at home throughout their lives, or at the very least, to delay nursing home placement.
"That will be his legacy: creating a vision of long-term care that is not institutional," said Kathryn Ruscitto, president and chief executive of St. Joseph Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, NY. "He took us down the path of thinking about home care, thinking about (the) independence," of individuals who are aged and medically compromised.
In1972 he was award LeadingAge's highest award, the Award of Honor. Msgr. Fahey has been with LeadingAge since nearly the beginning, serving as association chair of American Association of Homes for the Aging (AAHA). He has also served many other national aging-services organizations during his career.
"If the field of aging had its own cardinal, it would be Cardinal Charles Fahey. If the field of aging had its own U.S. Senator, it would be Sen. Charles Fahey," said Larry Minnix, president of LeadingAge. "Noone is more iconic or influential. He deserves all the honors bestowed upon him, especially this recognition by CHA."
The individual's leadership extends past the Catholic health ministry to influence and impact the local community and beyond.