In recognition of Healthy Aging Month, the Pennsylvania Health Literacy Coalition would like to highlight the President and CEO of Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA), Mr. Najja R. Orr, MBA. Healthy Aging Month is an opportunity to promote the positive aspects of aging, which naturally aligns with the PCA’s mission of improving the quality of life for older Philadelphians or people with disabilities and supporting them in achieving their maximum level of health, independence, and productivity. Mr. Orr also sits on the Health Care Improvement Foundation’s (HCIF) Board of Directors after working for many years with HCIF as a collaborative partner. We had the opportunity to ask Mr. Orr about the way his work advances and promotes health literacy, and what motivates and inspires him.
Najja R. Orr, MBA
President & CEO of Philadelphia Corporation for Aging
Board member, Health Care Improvement Foundation
What are the ways that your work advances health literacy?
PCA’s mission is to improve the quality of life for older Philadelphians and those with disabilities and to assist them in achieving their greatest possible levels of health, independence and productivity. This includes looking at the intersection between our programs and the Social Determinants of Health, providing services and supports that can improve the health outcomes of older adults and allow them to live in their homes and communities as long as possible. Health and wellness programs that educate consumers regarding managing chronic and acute health issues is one of many programs that support these efforts.
What’s a quote or experience that inspires you in your work?
As an alumnus of Morehouse College, I’ve always been inspired by the late great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of my (many) favorite quotes attributed to Dr. King is “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Finish the sentence, “Health literacy matters because…”
…..it improves the quality of life by allowing people to make the most informed decisions regarding their health-related issues.
What’s one thing you think is important for everyone to know about health literacy?
There are many options available to older adults to support their health literacy by calling their local Area Agency on Aging like PCA, senior centers, and insurance companies.
If you could motivate people in your field to tackle one issue or address one challenge, what would it be?
While the Area Agencies on Aging prioritize our Older Adult Protective Service Units as one of our top priorities, I would want to significantly increase federal and state resources for this program with the vision of eliminating elder abuse. Unfortunately, reports of suspected abuse of older adults have gone up substantially over the years. I’d love to see additional resources support protection services, community education, research and collaboration to share best practices in order to eliminate abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and abandonment.
What’s something that you do when you’re not working?
I’m currently working on my doctorate in business administration at Temple University. When I’m not deep into the final stages of my dissertation research, I enjoy spending time with my wife and four children. I’m still not too old to beat my son in a game of basketball, but those days won’t last too much longer.
Where’s one place you’d like to travel to in the future?
One day I’d love to travel to Egypt to see the pyramids and Sphinx.
If you would like to keep up with the work of PCA, feel free to follow them on Facebook (PCACares.org), LinkedIn (Philadelphia Corporation for Aging), and Twitter (@pcacares_org). You can reach Mr. Orr a firstname.lastname@example.org.