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Updates from Commit to Connect


Commit to Connect Updates

Addressing the Social Engagement Challenges of Older Adults Living with HIV/AIDS

Older adults living with HIV/AIDS are at high risk of experiencing social isolation and loneliness due to a range of factors, including a history of losing friends and partners to the disease and the negative impacts of social stigma and discrimination that limit social networks. Join Commit to Connect and engAGED: The National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults on Tuesday, February 27 from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM ET for a webinar exploring strategies and programs that promote social connection among older adults living with HIV/AIDS. Dr. Paul Nash of the Los Angeles County Commission on HIV and University of Southern California will share the latest research on HIV in an aging population. And the Detroit Area Agency on Aging will spotlight its Food & Friendship Connections program which provides social connection for older adults living with HIV. Attendees will also hear from a person with lived experience on the importance of developing social connection opportunities for older adults living with HIV/AIDS.

Immediately following, Commit to Connect and engAGED will host a 30-minute Office Hours session to allow for open discussion with the webinar speakers and participants.

The webinar and Office Hours will include CART closed captioning and American Sign Language interpretation. 

Register Now!

New Rural Resource from Commit to Connect

Nearly one-fifth of older adults live in rural areas and as a result of their geography are at higher risk of experiencing social isolation and loneliness. Commit to Connect recently released Rural Communities and Building Social Connection for Older Adults and People with Disabilities, a topical guide aimed at assisting staff and volunteer leaders from organizations serving older adults and people with disabilities in rural areas seeking to enhance or initiate social engagement efforts. Check out this publication and more on the resources section of the Commit to Connect website!

Connect with Peers to Discuss Partnerships and Strategies Focused on Social Connection and Public Health

“Our epidemic of loneliness and isolation has been an underappreciated public health crisis that has harmed individual and societal health. Our relationships are a source of healing and well-being hiding in plain sight—one that can help us live healthier, more fulfilled, and more productive lives,” - U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.

On Tuesday, March 19 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM ET, Commit to Connect will hold an Office Hours focused on strategies to advance social connection as a public health priority. Topics discussed will include partnering with public health departments around policy change and social connection, tips for initiating partnerships with public health agencies and more. Experts from the Building Resilient Inclusive Communities program will share information on how to reduce social isolation and loneliness through a policy, systems, and an environmental change approach. These networking opportunities are open forums for discussion, ensuring participants can connect with others, share ideas, and learn from each other. This event will include American Sign Language interpretation and CART closed captioning. 

Register Now!

Did You Miss It?

Did you miss the most recent Office Hours session on intergenerational engagement and social connection held in January? Find a summary of resources shared during this session shared on the Nationwide Network of Champions.

Aligning ACL-Funded Social Isolation Projects 

Promoting social connection is central to the Administration for Community Living’s (ACL) mission and vision. Along with Commit to Connect, which ACL launched in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ACL also funded The National Resource Center for Engaging Older Adults, or engAGED, to address this critical issue from 2017 through 2023. Commit to Connect is a broad cross-sector initiative aimed at the aging and disability networks that works across federal, state, and local levels to support the social connection of older adults and people with disabilities. Since 2017, USAging administered engAGED to focus on building the Aging Network’s capacity through training, technical assistance, and outreach to support the social engagement of consumers served by Aging Network organizations.

ACL and USAging are aligning both projects to leverage engAGED resources through the Commit to Connect initiative. Through this alignment, Commit to Connect will continue to grow activities and partnerships across sectors and populations to advance and build the capacity of the aging and disability networks to promote social connection in older adults, people with disabilities, and caregivers.

Meet a Commit to Connect Champion Tackling the Social Isolation of Veterans


Commit to Connect is so pleased to highlight another member of the Nationwide Network of Champions in our bi-monthly blog post series, Lori Murphy, Senior Social Worker with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Social isolation is a significant issue for veterans who may lose touch with friends due to multiple moves and deployments, as a result of physical and mental health issues resulting from their service, and difficulty veterans can experience when leaving military service.


Are you interested in having your organization featured in an upcoming blog post? Make sure you are registered for the Commit to Connect Nationwide Network of Champions.

Read the Blog Post

Highlights from the Nationwide Network of Champions

As a member of the Commit to Connect Nationwide Network of Champions, you can connect with leaders in your state, seek advice from other leaders engaged in social connection programming, or share information on upcoming social engagement events. Find Network highlights from 2023 in this post. Also, consider adding to recent community forum discussion threads on accessing virtual opportunities and uncovering the truth about social connection. This platform is a no-cost virtual space for passionate leaders and innovators at the local, state, and national levels dedicated to ending social isolation and loneliness. Become a Champion and join the discussion today!


  • News: USAging's CEO Sandy Markwood discussed the Eldercare Locator's Social Isolation Self-Assessment Checklist and the impact of social isolation and loneliness on older adults recently on an NPR special. Listen to the recording here or on Apple Podcasts.
  • Tip Sheet: NPR shared five tips on how individuals can create connections and combat loneliness. Check out the tips here.
  • Guide: The CDC released Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being in Schools: An Action Guide for School and District Leaders. This guide provides strategies for school leaders to promote students' well-being and mental health.
  • Research: A 2023 literature review of eight electronic databases and 22 studies identified interventions that have been successful in addressing loneliness in all populations. The review found that group sessions and interaction through active participation with a group or facilitator are successful, though a person-tailored approach is important.
  • Research: The Tellegacy program, an intervention pairing university students with older adults to promote wellness and combat loneliness, was developed to help prevent the negative impacts of social isolation and loneliness. This study tested the Tellegacy program as a behavioral intervention and exploring its effectiveness.
  • Research: Loneliness is a predictor of medical and psychiatric conditions, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, which are prevalent in Veterans. Using Veterans’ self-reported loneliness and post-traumatic stress symptoms, researchers explored possible associations.
  • Funding: A funding opportunity from the National Institute of Nursing Research will support research on the development and expansion of interventions and programs to address unmet needs and adverse social determinants of health. Letters of intent are due February 21 and full applications are due March 22.
  • Funding: The National Institutes of Health announced two funding opportunities related to research with community-based organizations on aging and issues of health equity. One focuses on utilizing place-based research to help advance health equity and the other opportunity addresses multi-sectoral preventive interventions that address social determinants of health.
  • Challenge: The U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is challenging Americans to build and strengthen their social connections with his “5-for-5 Connection Challenge.” Learn more about the challenge in this blog post.

Help Spread the Word!

Commit to Connect’s Nationwide Network of Champions continues to grow with 21 new members in the last month! The 373 Champions included on the Network represent 345 organizations and 44 states and the District of Columbia. Be sure to log in or sign up to stay up to date on new activities and resources. Help spread the word by:


1. Becoming a Commit to Connect Champion and inviting your friends and colleagues to join you.

2. Using #CommitToConnect on your social media channels when posting about social connection.

3. Visiting the Commit to Connect website to check out the latest events and resources.


Funding for this initiative was made possible by contract no. HHSP233201500088I from ACL. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.