San Diego County will soon have an executive focused on the health and wellbeing of its older adult population, as Dr. Lindsey Yourman begins the job next week.
Yourman will become the county’s first chief geriatric officer on Nov. 4 when she joins the county’s Health and Human Services Agency Medical Care Services department.
HHSA Director Nick Macchione said the region’s growing senior population made the time right for the position to be created — in 2010, the region had about a half million residents 60 years of age or older, but since then, the county has added about 250,000 more.
By 2030, he estimated that the older adult population will surpass 900,000. The number of San Diegans 85 years of age and older is expected to grow 40% in the next eight years.
“The need is here, and we are excited to add Dr. Yourman to the team, which already includes a child health officer,” Macchione said.
Yourman said her 16-year career of health advocacy, improving care systems and studying the needs of older adults is motivated by her close relationship with her grandparents.
“I see the creation of the county’s chief geriatric officer position as a victory for older adults and for us all as we age in San Diego County,” she said. “For me, personally, it means the opportunity to apply my life’s passion, the soul and science of geriatric medicine, to support the health, dignity and connectedness of all of us we age.”
The Harvard graduate continued her education as a health advocacy fellow at the Medicare Rights Center in New York City and later attended UC San Francisco Medical School. She went on to complete her internal medicine residency at Scripps Mercy and a geriatric fellowship at UC San Diego, where she worked across the county.
Yourman joins the county from UCSD, where she worked as a primary care geriatrician, served as the medical director of geriatrics quality improvement, and launched their Age-Friendly Health System’s Initiative.
“Dr. Yourman brings the county an immense wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise surrounding the unique needs of older adults,” said Dr. Eric McDonald, the chief medical officer who heads HHSA’s Medical Care Services department. “We are thrilled to have her join our team and lead the county’s vision to better serve this growing population.”
The new position is part of county efforts to support the needs and celebrate the contributions of older adults through the Aging Roadmap, which launched in 2019 with direction from the county Board of Supervisors.
The Aging Roadmap is San Diego County’s regional vision and framework for “supporting healthy aging” and “ensuring the needs of older adults are met when it comes to care and support, affordable housing, accessible transportation and opportunity to work and volunteer.”
— City News Service