Tom Kamber, PhD, Executive Director of Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) from AARP, is the 2022 recipient of the John and Jane Shalam Award to Combat Social Isolation. The award, which recognizes essential and innovative work being done to combat social isolation, was presented to Kamber at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation’s Hall of Fame Dinner, on Tuesday, November 15th in New York City.
Award recipients are selected based on criteria including innovation, impact, and the degree to which they have increased awareness around social isolation. In presenting the award to Kamber, CTA cited his founding and leadership of OATS and its flagship program, Senior Planet, as well as its affiliation with AARP in 2021 to increase opportunities for expansion in efforts to reach more older adults.
CTA said in a statement, “With Tom’s leadership and dedication to this initiative older adults from around the country have benefited from their programs, facilities, and new social contacts. Tom has been awarded many notable awards and appeared in many media reports for his work helping older adults combat isolation and learn technology and continues to be a sounding board for older adults around the nation.”
“I am honored to be recognized as the second recipient of this award from CTA Foundation,” Kamber said. “Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen, and especially to the hundreds of thousands of older adults who have participated in Senior Planet programs.”
Social isolation is a major societal problem, affecting nearly one-quarter of older adults—about 22 million people. Without access to broadband services, older Americans are cut off from essential public health information, social services, and digital healthcare services like telehealth and apps that manage chronic conditions. Social isolation has been linked to negative health outcomes, reduced quality of life, and premature death.
The John and Jane Shalam Award honors John and Jane Shalam for their contributions to the consumer technology industry, CTA, and the CTA Foundation. Serving as the Founding Chair, John worked with CTA and the initial Board of Trustees to stand up the CTA Foundation, set its mission, and build it to help many people facing social isolation challenges.