About Us

As the federally designated State Unit on Aging, the Department of Aging serves as the sole state agency to coordinate Older Americans Act programs and services, as well as other services to meet the needs of Ohio’s elders. We are a cabinet-level state agency with a director appointed by the governor. The structure of the Department is tied directly to its funding sources. We receive $65 million in federal funding, primarily from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which supports services for older Ohioans as well as the administration of Medicaid funded services. We also apply for and use grants from federal and state sources to support and expand our work.

Our Mission: To deliver practical, person-centered strategies and services that will strengthen and support Ohio's elders and their communities.

Core Values:

  • Promote Independence - Provide resources that foster independence and autonomy throughout the lifespan.
  • Empower Communities - Deliver sustainable, relevant solutions that empower communities to act within the best interest of their elders.
  • Challenge Ageism - Promote new perspectives of aging that challenge the traditional declinist narrative.
  • Advocate for Excellence - Advocate with and for Ohio's elders to ensure their voices are heard and their needs are met.
  • Engage in Innovation - Engage the aging network by staying innovative, flexible and attentive to the evolving needs of our partners and stakeholders.

Director Ursel J. McElroy

Ursel McElroy, Director, Ohio Department of Aging

Ursel J. McElroy was appointed by Governor Mike DeWine in January 2019 to direct the Ohio Department of Aging and administer the State Plan on Aging. Ursel represents the interests of older adults in Ohio’s executive branch of government and oversees the coordination of long-term services and supports funded by the federal Older Americans Act, Medicaid, and other federal, state, and local dollars. Ursel has more than 25 years of experience in local and state government, holding key positions at the Ohio Department of Youth Services, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

She served as deputy director of education and policy at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for a decade, during which she managed education, policies, programs, and initiatives impacting victims of crime, such as domestic violence, sexual violence, victim notification, and crimes committed against children, older adults, and people with disabilities. She chaired the Attorney General’s Elder Abuse Commission and managed the establishment of the Ohio Elder Justice Initiative.

Prior to joining the Ohio Attorney General's Office, Ursel was chair of the Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services, a supervisor and investigator for adult protective services, and a case manager for a senior services levy program. She is a leader and visionary in the field of aging, hosting and planning Ohio’s first Summit on Aging, the state’s first Elder Abuse Research Symposium, and the Elder Financial Exploitation Symposium. She has presented at prominent events such as the White House Conference on Aging, and is the recipient of the Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services Outstanding Service Award. 

Ursel’s deep sensitivity and concern for older Ohioans and their caregivers is clear. She is committed to upholding the fundamental principle that older adults can live where they choose, with the people they choose, and with the ability to participate fully in their communities.

She received a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in public administration from The Ohio State University.

Past Directors

  • Beverley L. Laubert (2017-2019)
  • Stephanie M. Loucka (2016-2017)
  • Bonnie K. Burman (2011-2016)
  • Barb Madden-Petering (2011)
  • Barbara E. Riley (2007 - 2011)
  • Merle Grace Kearns (2005 - 2007)
  • Joan W. Lawrence (1999 - 2005)
  • Judith Y. Brachman (1991 - 1999)
  • Kenneth M. Mahan (1991)
  • Anne Harnish (1990 - 1991)
  • Carol D. Austin, Ph.D. (1988 - 1990)
  • Joyce F. Chapple (1984 - 1988)

The Department of Aging’s legacy goes back more than 50 years.

  • In 1965, responding to the economic and social needs of America’s elders, Congress passed the Older Americans Act. OAA not only provided the first dedicated funding sources for older adult services, it also set the groundwork for a national aging network, organized at the state level, to respond to the needs of our elders.
  • In 1966, Ohio responded by creating the Division of Administration on Aging (within the Ohio Department of Mental Hygiene and Corrections), which began working on several initiatives funded by the Act, most notably, establishing the first congregate housing sites for older adults.
  • In 1973, the Division was elevated to the Ohio Commission on Aging and began expanding the array of programs and services Ohio offered its elders and their families, including the first senior center (1979) (The Martin Janis Center on the State Fairgrounds), long-term care ombudsman programs (1975) and the venerable Golden Buckeye program (1976).
  • In 1984, the Commission was promoted to full, cabinet-level state agency status as the Ohio Department of Aging. The director of the Department became the chief advisor to the Governor regarding issues and concerns affecting older Ohioans, and changes in national policy by the federal Administration on Aging.
  • Since then, the Department has worked to create increasingly innovative programs to address the health, social and economic needs of our elders, as well as raise awareness of the vital role elders play in our state and its communities.

The Ohio Advisory Council for Aging was created to provide guidance to the director of the Ohio Department of Aging on issues and opportunities affecting older Ohioans. Members represent the interests of older adults and serve as ambassadors for the department at local events and with community organizations. They gather information and ideas from their neighbors and share them with the director of the department, along with recommended administrative and legislative actions. The council also reviews agency plans, budgets and issues.

The Ohio Advisory Council for Aging includes governor-appointed members and the directors (or their designees) of the state departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Developmental Disabilities, Health and Job and Family Services. The council also includes four legislative members.

The Ohio Advisory Council for Aging is designated in ORC 173.03.

Advisory Council Members
Advisory Council Bylaws | Authorizing Legislation

The Ohio Advisory Council for Aging conducts at least six council meeting annually, and additional meetings can be called by the chairperson.

Meeting Location
Ohio Emergency Management Agency
2855 West Dublin Granville Road
Columbus, OH 43235

Meeting Time
10 AM – 12 PM

Meeting Dates
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

 

Divisions

The Department of Aging is organized into eight divisions, each of which performs or supports a critical function of the agency or the aging network.

Executive Division

The Executive Division (EXEC) directs the daily operation of the department, sets goals, guides policy and represents the agency to partners, constituents and decision makers. The division drafts budget concepts, proposes and analyzes legislative language and reviews testimony. Staff also supports the development of a comprehensive, integrated and coordinated system of elder friendly, person-centered programs and services, as well as explores opportunities to promote policy and systems change through strategic partnerships and monitors legislation that impacts older Ohioans and their families and provides information to legislators.
Director: Ursel McElroy
Assistant Director: Julie Trackler

Communications Division

The Communications and Government Outreach Division (CGO) coordinates public and media outreach. The division plans special events and recognitions and creates and distributes educational and informative publications, articles and audiovisual resources. Staff maintains the department's website and social media presences and operates the Golden Buckeye program.
Division Chief: John Ratliff

Division for Community Living

The Division for Community Living (DCL) develops and manages a comprehensive and coordinated system of community services for seniors and individuals with disabilities accessed through the Aging and Disability Network. The pre-admission review and long-term care consultation program administered by the division facilitates consumers' access to available options. Staff develops and furnishes operational oversight of services and programs funded through community-based Medicaid-related programs and services and programs supported through state funds and grants. Medicaid-related programs include the PASSPORT home and community-based waiver program, the Assisted Living Waiver program and PACE, as well as new Medicaid initiatives.
Division Chief: Matthew Hobbs

Elder Connections Division

Elder Connections Division (ECD) staff develop and manage a comprehensive and coordinated system of community services for older adults and people with disabilities. The services and supports they oversee are funded through the federal Older Americans Act along with other state, federal and local dollars. Older Americans Act services include meals, nutrition, transportation, caregiver support, disease self-management and other supportive services. In addition, the division collaborates with Area Agencies on Aging, other state agencies, providers and local partners to develop health, wellness and prevention programs throughout the aging network. Their focus is on evidence-based models of disease self-management, injury prevention and general health and wellness, such as the HEALTHY U and STEADY U initiatives.
Division Chief: Ashley Davis

Fiscal Division

The Fiscal Division (FD) monitors the programs, services and administrative entities that receive funding through the department. Fiscal staff ensure compliance with applicable regulations, statutes and policies; process payments to vendors and subrecipients, and manage the department's administrative resources, purchasing, revenue, travel and inventory. They also track spending, prepare and monitor the biennial budget, manage the grants process for funds passed through the department, and monitor the fiscal processes of the department's grant subrecipients.
Division Chief: Kevin Flanagan

Human Resources Division

Human Resources Division (HRD) performs all functions of workforce and human resources planning and management. Staff coordinate and lead statewide workgroups on civic engagement and workforce planning and development, and represent the Department on statewide human resources teams. Staff also hires new employees, processes payroll and manages benefits, as well as coordinates staff development, employee wellness initiatives, labor relations, equal employment opportunity (EEO) and employee policies and procedures. The division acts as a role model for implementing human resource solutions that ensure a qualified workforce.
Interim Division Chief: Joan Olivieri

Information Systems Division

Information Systems Division (ISD) provides for the technological needs of the department and the aging network. Staff design, implement and support the department's primary network as well as specialized information infrastructures (i.e., databases, applications, T1 communications) for agency programs and entities. They purchase, configure and maintain desktop and network computer equipment and software systems for the department and provide help desk services and specialized training programs for employees and partners. Staff also provides facility management, including maintenance of office space, furniture and equipment; and facilitates mail, reception, records retention and telecommunications services.
Division Chief: Terri Bettinger

Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman

The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman safeguards the rights of consumers of long-term care and other services throughout Ohio. The office's mission is to seek resolution of problems and advocate for home care consumers and residents of long-term care facilities, with the goal of enhancing their quality of life and care. Division staff coordinates legal and benefits assistance, and manages the Long-term Care Consumer Guide, which provides information about Ohio nursing homes and residential care facilities.
State Long-Term Care Ombudsman: Beverley Laubert
Deputy State Long-Term Care Ombudsman:  Erin Pettegrew

Performance Center Division

The Performance Center Division (PCD) helps the department and the area agencies/PASSPORT Administrative Agencies engage in continuous quality improvement through performance management and annual program compliance monitoring. Division staff ensure regulatory standards are met, provide data compilation and analysis, and use business intelligence to inform department and area agency decisions about the delivery and management of programs and services.
Division Chief: Eric Miller

 

In addition, the Ohio Department of Aging houses and supports the work of the Board of Executives of Long-Term Services and Supports.

 

Work With Us

The Ohio Department of Aging is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age (40 years or more), military status, veteran status or genetic information (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, i.e., “GINA”) in employment or the provision of services. In addition to the exceptional benefits offered by the State of Ohio, we offer a flexible work schedule and a smoke-free work environment.

Current Opportunities:


Explore other State of Ohio job opportunities.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The Ohio Department of Aging is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer. Human resources services for the Department of Aging are provided by the Ohio Department of Health. EEO Program information and contacts.

Find Services Where You Live

 

Area Agencies on Aging

Area Agencies on Aging coordinate local services and supports for older adults and people with disabilities in their communities. The Ohio Department of Aging provides funding to 12 area agencies, each serving a unique region of the state. Agencies use federal, state, local and community funds and contributions to provide supports to older adults living in their homes or in other settings of their choice. Through their Aging and Disability Resource Network call centers, the agencies help more than 300,000 Ohioans each year connect with needed resources. Learn more...

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Ohio Scholars in Aging

Ohio Scholars in AgingThe Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education (OAGE) offer the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program to provide students of all academic backgrounds with the opportunity to learn about and contribute to aging-related policy-making firsthand, establish career-long professional contacts, and gain valuable career knowledge and skills in the field of aging.