Every year, the MacArthur Genius grant is awarded to a few American citizens who are working to better the world in the areas of U.S. programs (such as community and economic development), and media, programs, and special initiatives. This year, one of the winners of the grant is Maria-Therese Connelly--a lawyer who worked in D.C. for the Department of Justice and now spends her time working to raise awareness about elder abuse. One of her most harrowing cases involved a mother and son, in which the son literally allowed his mother to spend her final days confined to bed, covered in severe bed sores and her own waste.
Connelly has been trying for years to make elder abuse a prominent social justice issue in America through writing, lecturing, and even testifying before Congress. As a result, the MacArthur Foundation is giving her a $500,000 grant in which she may continue her good work. During her time at the Department of Justice in the Clinton administration, Connelly was put in charge of a new initiative to fight elder abuse, called the Elder Justice and Nursing Home Initiative. She was also part of the creation of the Elder Justice Act in 2007, the first of its kind in national history. Since that time, she has started an organization called "Life Long Justice" which works to fight elder abuse, and is in the process of writing a book on the same subject.
Attorney Doug Stoehr is a personal injury lawyer serving western and central Pennsylvania. He has litigated several claims involving elder abuse. For more on his career and firm, please click here.