Health Impact: Making a Difference in Health Care Today

A research collaborator with Brown for nearly 40 years, Hebrew Senior Life is Brown’s partner in a new $53.4 million NIA grant to improve health care and quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, as well as their caregivers.

In Partnership: Hebrew SeniorLife

Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL) is a nonprofit, non-sectarian, mission-driven organization founded in 1903 to honor our elders and care for the most vulnerable among us. Since then, HSL has steadily evolved and expanded its reach to meet the changing needs and expectations of seniors and their families both locally and nationally, as well as internationally. Today, HSL is unique in the breadth of services it offers to seniors of all religions, cultures, races, socioeconomic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender expressions.


HSL works to redefine every aspect of the aging experience.

Vibrant senior communities: HSL is a pioneer in the movement to develop living communities with supportive services for older adults as an alternative to nursing homes. HSL communities demonstrate how the integration of health care and other support services helps residents enjoy healthy, independent, and socially engaging lives well into their advanced years.

A full spectrum of personalized, holistic health care services: HSL’s continuum of health care services reflects best practices informed by the latest geriatric research, including its Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research studies. Care is personalized according to the goals of the seniors it serves and their families with a focus on maximizing independence, quality of life, and dignity. Care is tailored to help each patient optimize their activities of daily living and functional mobility. Medical care is provided by clinicians from HSL’s Department of Medicine, which is one of the largest geriatric practices in Massachusetts. Many of HSL’s physicians are affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and the practice includes geriatricians, geriatric nurse practitioners, and geriatric psychiatrists.

Influential research that continually advances the quality of life for seniors and informs public decision-making: For more than 50 years, HSL’s Marcus Institute has conducted hundreds of studies that challenge health-related assumptions commonly associated with aging. The Marcus Institute’s mission is to conduct research that discovers the mechanisms of age related disease and disability; leads to the prevention, treatment, and cure of disease; advances the standard of care for older people; informs public decision-making; and develops the next generation of leaders in aging research. The Marcus Institute is the largest gerontological research facility in the U.S. based in a clinical setting, and a research affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Study areas include: the Aging Brain, Musculoskeletal Health, Palliative Care, Mobility and Falls, Geriomics, and Biostatistics and Clinical Trials.

Multidisciplinary teaching programs that help grow the ranks of geriatric care specialists: HSL is committed to teaching the next generation of geriatric care providers to address a shortage of clinicians who are trained in the special needs of older adults. HSL serves as a major training site for the Harvard Medical School Multi-Campus Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine, one of the oldest and largest graduate programs in geriatric medicine in the country. HSL trains more than 800 students, interns, residents, and fellows each year in multiple disciplines, including nursing, physical therapy, social work, and pharmacy.

With 2,600 employees aligned around a common mission, goals and cultural beliefs, HSL is one of the largest employers in Massachusetts. It cares for more than 3,000 seniors each day at nine Boston area campuses and communities, and it has reached untold more seniors, families, caregivers, and senior care professionals around the U.S. and the world through its research and teaching mission.