Dr. Yanira Cruz is the President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging.
Dr. Cruz leads the work of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA), which is focused on improving the quality of life of Hispanic older adults, their families, and caregivers. In addition to her work at NHCOA to advance the adoption of policies and programs that equitably serve everyone, Dr. Cruz serves on the Board of Justice in Aging and is a member of the American Society on Aging and Leaders of Aging Organizations. Dr. Cruz is also a founding member of the Diverse Elders Coalition and serves in a federally appointed position on the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services.
Dr. Cruz has been a member of UnitedHealthcare Community and State’s National Advisory Board for over four years. When asked why she thinks it is important that UnitedHealthcare has this Board, Dr. Cruz responded, “To ensure the complex issues and needs of these [complex care] populations get addressed by informing the national conversation on effective policies and practices.”
The value of the Board is clear to Dr. Cruz. She notes that through the Board experts come together to provide up-to-date information, share knowledge, and network. “Collectively, as a Board, we can have bigger impact at the national level.”
The priorities of the Board very much align with NHCOA’s priorities. When asked what was one of the most significant deliverables of the Board, Dr. Cruz didn’t hesitate to identify the Board’s current work on access and cultural competency. “It is important to have services and programs that are accessible to every population, especially among older adults and persons with disabilities.”
Dr. Cruz also notes that the Board’s previous focus on family caregivers and professional caregivers has helped inform NHCOA’s own caregiving efforts. “Caregiving is a timely issue that must be addressed. Nearly every organization focusing on older adults is addressing caregiving because our population is aging and the need for caregiving increases every day.”