BOSTON, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ -– Governor Patrick today announced he has appointed Ann L. Hartstein as the new Secretary of Elder Affairs. She will begin her duties on July 1. Ms. Hartstein will oversee the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, which promotes the independence and well-being of Massachusetts’ elders, and supports elders and their families in need of social and other supportive services. Elder Affairs maintains a continuum of services responsive to the needs of its constituents, their families and caregivers.

Governor Deval Patrick“I am proud to announce the appointment of Ann Hartstein and look forward to working with her to provide the supports our elders and their families need,” said Governor Patrick. “Secretary Hartstein’s expertise and long-standing commitment to the elder community will serve Massachusetts’ seniors well.”

For the past five years, Ms. Hartstein has served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Older Americans. Ms. Hartstein returns to the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, having first served as Director of Special Projects and then as Assistant Secretary for Policy and Program Development between 1998 and 2004, during which time she received the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Citation for Outstanding Performance award.

“We are excited to have Secretary Hartstein at Elder Affairs to lead the agency in serving seniors across the Commonwealth, especially during this challenging economic time,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. “Her leadership and in-depth knowledge will ensure that we are successful in our continued efforts to support healthy aging and to serve Massachusetts’ elders.”

Ms. Hartstein has been a strong advocate for the elder community for over 30 years. In both 2003 and 2008, she was named as the “Advocate of the Year” by the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging and Senior Center Directors, and received the Manuel Carballo Award for Excellence in Public Service as a member of the Prescription Advantage Development Team in 2001. In 2009, she received the Betsy Ross Fliegel Award for Social Policy and Change from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

“I am thrilled to join the Governor and Secretary Bigby in insuring that elders have what they need to live, work and play in the Commonwealth,” Hartstein said. “Aging is a lifelong process and I look forward to working with the Governor and Secretary Bigby to make sure that all older residents— whether retired or working, healthy or ill, old or young—have every opportunity to live and age well in the Commonwealth.”

Ms. Hartstein holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts in Gerontology, as well as a Masters in Management of Human Services from Brandeis University.