Amy Plant

Youngstown State University
Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging

Spring 2013

“I have experienced not only a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how summits and conferences are organized, but have also gained first-hand knowledge of some of the preparations and collaborations necessary to organize such an endeavor and research project involving multiple organizations and data collection sites.”

The purpose of my ODA/OAGE internship was to assist Gerontology Director and Coordinator, Dr. Daniel J. Van Dussen with the planning, implementation and coordination of the 2013 Youngstown Regional Respite Summit. This summit, which was held on March 21, 2013 at Youngstown State University, was a networking and information-gathering event that included a wide range of shareholders in respite across the lifespan. The purpose of this summit was to address key respite concerns, including the successes and challenges of respite care, as well as the major barriers of service.

Following the summit, priorities were set for future work to be done in our area of the state. Our findings were then coordinated with prior summit information gathered by the Ohio Respite Coalition as they continue to develop a lifespan respite system across the state of Ohio. Findings from the summit were also shared with the ODA and the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (BRIA), and suggestions were made regarding ways to coordinate care more effectively.

Through further collaboration through BRIA, we were also able to expand our project and access the raw data and findings from various other summit locations throughout the state of Ohio. By obtaining this information, we were able to pull keywords, concepts and themes to compare and integrate with our findings and develop a rubric system for the analysis of both the qualitative and quantitative respite data from each summit location. Ultimately, our aim is to not only compare our regional findings to the rest of the state, but to compare our findings from the state of Ohio to other state respite initiatives. Our findings are expected to be presented both at conferences and hope to be published in the future.

Over the course of this project, my involvement and knowledge in respite research has continued to increase, and I have been fortunate to have made several new contacts through my endeavors as an ODA/OAGE intern. I have experienced not only a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how summits and conferences are organized, but have also gained first-hand knowledge of some of the preparations and collaborations necessary to organize such an endeavor and research project involving multiple organizations and data collection sites. I have also had the privilege to oversee and manage multiple student volunteers. Some of our greatest obstacles involved encouraging stakeholders to participate in the summit and receiving necessary information and timely responses from various organizations.