2019 Call to Justice Honoree: Mary Ablan

Marley Van Fossen, Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan

On August 7, 2019, Elder Law of Michigan will honor Mary Ablan with the 2019 Joe D. Sutton Call to Justice Award for her elder abuse prevention work.

The Joe D. Sutton Call to Justice Awards honor those that share the mission of Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. to advocate for, educate, and assist those in need, with a continued focus on older adults and persons with disabilities.

Ron Tatro, Vice President of Elder Law of Michigan, said, “As a community leader in the fields of aging and social science, she is recognized for both her science and non-science contributions to help advance better lives for seniors.”

Mary Ablan was the Executive Director of the Area Agencies on Aging Association for 32 years. Mary was responsible for leading advocacy efforts to increase the annual budget for in-home services by over $350 million. She had a key advocacy role in the creation of the MI Choice Medicaid Waiver and years later, when the Waiver was closed, led the advocacy campaign that reopened the program. She was involved in leading the advocacy effort for Michigan’s prescription drug program for older adults. She was also involved in the development of the Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program and the Nursing Facility Transition Program.

Mary was instrumental in reducing Medigap premiums. Beginning with Frank Kelley, she worked with Republican and Democratic Attorney Generals to reduce premium increases for the most popular Medigap policies in the state. She also fought against Blue Cross Blue Shield becoming a for-profit insurance company.

Mary has taught almost 1,000 college students about programs and services for older adults and people with disabilities. She also worked at an Area Agency on Aging in Kalamazoo, performing the first survey of Native American elders in the state, and counseled veterans with substance use issues at the VA Medical Center in Battle Creek.

She earned a master’s degree in Psychology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in Social Work from Western Michigan University.

Elder Law of Michigan is proud to honor Mary with the 2019 Joe D. Sutton Call to Justice Award. Join us in honoring Mary and her years of service in making a difference in the lives of older adults Wednesday, August 7th, from 6 pm to 8 pm at UrbanBeat in Lansing. RSVP for the Mid-Michigan event.

Marley Van Fossen is a Screening Integration Coordinator for MiCAFE at Elder Law of Michigan. She has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since October 2018. As a Screening Integration Coordinator, Marley assists seniors with benefit applications and develops relationships with community partners in Michigan.