COOKEVILLE, TENN—August 30, 2018 – Congressman Diane Black will be honored for her continued advocacy for older adults with the National Aging Impact Award from the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging (SE4A). Nominated by the Upper Cumberland Area Agency on Aging and Disability (AAAD), Congressman Black will be recognized at the 2018 SE4A Conference in Louisville, Kentucky on October 1, 2018.

Congressman Black was nominated for the award for her continued support of the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP), a program which offers local, personalized counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their families.

As threats of losing funding for the SHIP program nationwide became a serious concern for fiscal year 2018, Congressman Black and her staff worked hand-in-hand with the Upper Cumberland AAAD, Upper Cumberland Development District and the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability to gather information about the program and see how they could help. Congressman Black and her field staff advocated strongly and successfully for the SHIP program. “Michael Detwiler and Bonny Warren from Congressman Black’s office are also tremendous advocates for our senior,” said Patty Ray, Upper Cumberland Development District Director of Area Agency on Aging and Disability.

Because of the support of Congressman Black and others, SHIP funding was restored to the federal budget, assuring the opportunity to continue serving seniors by assisting them in navigating the very complex Medicare system. “With that in mind, we must continue advocating on behalf of our senior,” said Ray.  

For 2017, the Upper Cumberland SHIP assisted 8,652 seniors, saving them a total of $2,678,047 on their drug plans. This compares to $7,310,496 in statewide savings. Fiscal year 2018 results of the program have not been released.

Each year the SE4A gives awards in six categories, acknowledging exemplary service to older adults in the SE4A region.  Nominations are made by Area Agencies on Aging and submitted to the Awards Committee of the SE4A Board.

The purpose of the awards is to recognize outstanding contributions of public policy makers at the city-county level, regional or state level and national level who have made an observable and measurable impact on the quality of life of older adults by providing leadership in one or more of the following categories: advocacy, public policy, securing new or additional funding, program development or cultural enhancement.

The Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging was organized in 1973 by several Area Agencies in the Southeast region, which included representatives from Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida to encourage development of the network, advocate for increased visibility for the aging network and for older Americans and design and implement specialized training to strengthen the aging network.

The Area Agency on Aging and Disability (AAAD), a division of the Upper Cumberland Development District, connects older adults and adults with disabilities in the 14-county Upper Cumberland region with services and resources to improve their quality of life. Find AAAD on the web at and at


Pictured: Tommy Lee, UCDD Director of Economic & Community Development; Mark Farley, UCDD Executive Director; Congressman Diane Black; and Patty Ray UCDD Director of Area Agency on Aging and Disability