History & Recognition


Healthy IDEAS was originally developed by Baylor College of Medicine’s Huffington Center on Aging as part of the Model Programs Project sponsored by the National Council on Aging and funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation. An extensive demonstration was subsequently funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) to further enhance and evaluate the program. The program was part of the Care for Elders Partnership based at Sheltering Arms Senior Services. Care for Elders, as champions of expanding evidence-based programming and the availability of mental health services, implemented the program to bring together community service providers, the mental/behavioral health community, and healthcare practitioners to achieve significant benefits for older adults and their families.

Baylor College of Medicine and the former Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies, affiliated with the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, evaluated Healthy IDEAS for the AoA demonstration.

Healthy IDEAS has been successfully integrated into the case management practice in 26 states, reaching elders with underserved mental health needs and high risk for depression, e.g., immigrant Hispanic populations and older women of all racial backgrounds living on low income. The dissemination of Healthy IDEAS to potential adopters was originally managed through Care for Elders and Baylor College of Medicine. Now the Healthy Living Center of Excellence at Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley provides the technical assistance and training to organizations interested in replicating Healthy IDEAS in their communities.


Healthy IDEAS received a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Science and Service Award for mental health promotion in 2008.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has included Healthy IDEAS in its publication, Addressing Depression in Older Adults: Selected Evidence-Based Programs, which is intended to draw attention to evidence-based programs for treating depression. The programs presented in this issue brief are all evidence-based and have been successfully replicated in communities. In May 2008 Healthy IDEAS was included in the “Effective Programs to Treat Depression in Older Adults” conference, which was organized by the CDC Prevention Research Center’s Healthy Aging Research Network and co-sponsored with the Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum.

CDC Issues Brief #2 – The State of Mental Health and Aging in America – Addressing Depression in Older Adults: Selected Evidence-Based Programs

Healthy IDEAS was featured in the Healthy Aging Action Brief series and guide to Healthy Aging and Depression from the University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center.