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Multi-Million Grant from the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation Will Fund National Implementation of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing’s Aging-in-Place Program


The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) will receive the largest grant ever given by the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation to a single nurse-driven innovation, marking JHSON’s leadership in transformative models of care that focus on social determinants of health. The grant, totaling nearly $3 million, will fund large-scale, national implementation of JHSON’s Community Aging in Place Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) program. The five-year award will allow the potential for millions of lower-income older adults to improve function, lesson disability, and age in the comfort of their homes. In addition, it will fund robust, on-demand CAPABLE training for health care agencies across the country and new JHSON staffing dedicated to furthering CAPABLE’s reach.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity this grant provides us to scale CAPABLE,” says Sarah L. Szanton, PhD, ANP, FAAN, principal investigator of the grant and JHSON endowed professor for health equity and social justice. “CAPABLE is already in 25 sites in 12 states with growing demand. This generous gift will allow us to solve the two barriers that have stopped CAPABLE from scaling even faster – lack of ability to train new CAPABLE clinicians and senior staff to develop new approaches to scale it.” 

As an evidence-based program, CAPABLE increases strength, mobility, and safety of older adults through home visits from a nurse, occupational therapist, and handyman. The program was developed by Szanton, in collaboration with colleagues, to address health and environmental factors that often fall outside the realm of traditional care. Patients set their own functional goals, like bathing or walking to church, and are afforded home renovations like installing hand rails or lowering shelves to help them live more safely in their home.

Documented in extensive research studies, the program improves participants’ function, decreases hospitalization, nursing home admission, disability, and depression, and improves self-care. It has also provided a six-to ten-fold return on investment through trial and evaluation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

CAPABLE is already eligible for Medicare and Medicaid coverage in some states, and when scaled nationally, could save Medicare an estimate of $6.8 billion annually. The program costs less than $3,000 per participant while yielding at least $20,000 in Medicare savings over two years and $10,000 to Medicaid.

“We believe that CAPABLE has the potential to have a major impact on millions of lives,” commented Ahrin Mishan, Executive Director of the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation in its announcement. “Having supported CAPABLE through earlier phases of its growth and development, we feel privileged to help this exceptional innovation take a critical next step.”

The grant will fund high-fidelity simulations and evidence-based instructional design as part of the turnkey CAPABLE training, and staff who will foster strategic relationships, proactive scaling, and help build capacity within the adopting organizations.

CAPABLE has been funded in the past by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Weinberg Foundation, and the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation. It was most recently implemented by Habitat for Humanity in six new areas across the United States.


Located in Baltimore, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is a globally-recognized leader in nursing education, research and practice and ranks No. 1 nationally among graduate schools of nursing and No. 2 for DNP programs in the U.S. News & World Report 2019 rankings. In addition, the school is ranked by QS World University as the No. 3 nursing school in the world and is No.1 by College Choice for its master’s program. First opened in 1889, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is celebrating throughout 2019 its 130th anniversary as a school and leader in nursing education and excellence. For more information, visit www.nursing.jhu.edu and www.hopkinsnursing130.org.

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