James Firman, EdD

James Firman, EdD, has been a leading force for innovation in services, programs, and public policies for older persons for more than 30 years.

Under his leadership, NCOA has developed many nationally acclaimed programs to improve the health, independence, and economic security of older adults. NCOA has also developed core competencies in collaborative leadership, fostering and scaling evidence-based innovations, and advocacy.

Prior to joining NCOA as president and CEO in January 1995, Firman was, for 10 years, founder and CEO of the United Seniors Health Cooperative (USHC), a nonprofit consumer organization. At USHC, he directed the development of the early versions of BenefitsCheckUp®, now one of NCOA’s core bodies of work.

Also at USHC, he oversaw the development of one of the nation’s first insurance counseling programs for older adults, which helped lead to the development of the national Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). As an advocate, he significantly influenced the development of federal Medigap legislation and long-term care insurance regulations throughout the United States.

From 1981 to 1984, Firman served as a senior program officer at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, where he helped develop initiatives in aging and health care finance, as well as the Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers program.