Pioneer Institute Announces Winner of 26th Annual Better Government Competition

MIT AgeLab Founder, Massachusetts Governor to Headline Awards Gala

BOSTON – Pioneer Institute is pleased to announce that Boston-based Hebrew SeniorLife is the winner of the 26th annual Better Government Competition. The contest received nearly 100 entries from agencies and organizations across the U.S. on the topic, “Aging in America.” The winner, together with five runners-up and three special recognition recipients, will be honored at the Institute’s awards gala on June 19th at the Boston Harbor Hotel in Boston.

The Keynote Speaker at the awards gala is Joseph F. Coughlin, Ph.D., Founder and Director of the MIT AgeLab, a research program that works with business, government, and non-profits to improve the quality of life of older people. Coughlin is a prolific author and internationally renowned expert on demographic change, technology, and innovation. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker will deliver remarks at the event. His administration recently established a 24-member council that will make recommendations to promote “healthy aging.”

“From 1930 to 2010, life expectancy in the United States rose from 60 to 79 years,” said Jim Stergios, executive director of Pioneer Institute. “Given the Commonwealth’s and the country’s changing demographics, our 2017 Better Government Competition seeks to address big housing, transportation, and healthcare challenges that our older populations face, and to unlock their talents, so that they can continue to lead independent and fulfilling lives.”

The winning entry, Hebrew SeniorLife’s “The Right Care, Right Place, Right Time: Effectively Integrating Senior Care and Housing,” is a senior housing model in which teams embedded in residential complexes serve as links between housing and healthcare, establishing relationships with residents, collaborating on wellness and prevention efforts, and reducing medical costs. The entry was submitted by Kim Brooks, Chief Operating Officer for Senior Living at Hebrew SeniorLife.

HebrewSenior Life will receive a $10,000 prize. The runners-up, each of whom will receive a $1,000 prize, are:

Loren Colman and Krista Boston, J.D., Minnesota Department of Human Services and Board on Aging: A partnership that has helped 4,500 private paying nursing home residents transition to a community setting and saved $9.6 million.

Amy Schectman and Rimma Zelfand: A replicable, affordable housing model that will enable older adults with developmental disabilities to age in communities where they are respected, supported, and positively engaged.

Ben Schutzman, Director of Transportation Innovation, MBTA: A collaboration between the MBTA’s paratransit service and ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft that has reduced costs per trip from $59 to $9, saved customers an average of 34 minutes per trip, and increased user satisfaction rates.

David L. Weimer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Mark Sager, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute:

Proposal that states create incentives for early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease by reimbursing primary care physicians and county health departments for the costs of administering tests, slowing the disease’s progression and reducing long-term care costs.

Doug Dickson, Encore Boston Network: Replicable model for leveraging the skills and experience of older adults leaving the workforce by engaging them as volunteers for under-staffed government agencies such as the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

The 2017 winners were selected by a distinguished panel of independent judges with backgrounds in medicine, government, law, and business:

  • Charles Baker, Sr., Professor Emeritus, Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration
  • Nick Dougherty, Program Director, PULSE@MassChallenge
  • Gary P. Kearney, M.D., F.A.C.S., Board Director, Pioneer Institute
  • Robin Lipson, Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer, Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • James F. Seagle, Jr., President, Rogerson Communities
  • Joanna Weiss, freelance journalist, former Boston Globe columnist

In addition, Pioneer Institute staff selected three entries for special recognition, as follows:

Eileen O’Brien, Boston Medical Center, and Samantha J. Morton, MLPB: Joint program that provides specialized, legally informed case management to assist with transitions to affordable permanent housing and prevent homelessness among Greater Boston’s most at-risk older residents.

Rachel Goor and Noelle Marcus, MIT’s City Planning Program: Online marketplace that connects renters willing to assist with domestic tasks to older adults with spare bedrooms, addressing affordable housing concerns as well as social isolation and declining income among adults 55 and older.

Kevin Coughlin, Executive Division of Medicaid Services: A collaboration among government agencies, assisted living providers, and others that uses surveys and performance measures to increase resident satisfaction while improving health outcomes.

The winner, runners-up, and special recognition awardees will be recognized at an awards gala in Boston. After the event, a compendium of winning entries will be distributed to attendees, policy makers, and opinion leaders in Massachusetts and across the country.

Pioneer Institute’s Better Government Competition, founded in 1991, is an annual citizens’ ideas contest that rewards some of the nation’s most innovative public policy proposals. The Better Government Competition Awards Gala attracts hundreds of leaders in business, government, and the non-profit sector. Past speakers have included: The Right Honorable James D. Bolger, New Zealand Ambassador; John Stossel, former ABC News correspondent; U.S. Senator Alan Simpson; Massachusetts Governors Mitt Romney, William Weld, Paul Cellucci, Deval Patrick, and Charlie Baker; David Gergen, advisor to four presidents; Michelle Rhee, head of StudentsFirst; U.S. Senator Scott Brown; financial publisher Steve Forbes; Boston Mayor Martin Walsh; former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis; and Pennsylvania Congressman Tim Murphy.


Pioneer Institute is an independent, non-partisan, privately funded research organization that seeks to improve the quality of life in Massachusetts through civic discourse and intellectually rigorous, data-driven public policy solutions based on free market principles, individual liberty and responsibility, and the ideal of effective, limited and accountable government.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *