DOA is Alive — Updated

Department on Aging

Department on Aging

Iowa lawmakers are moving to change the name of Department of Elder Affairs to the Department on Aging, or DOA. Legislation doing just that already cleared the House.

Cue the snickering/head-scratching.

Can a single acronym symbolize both state assistance for older Iowans and being declared dead on arrival?

Some lawmakers say no. Some are even offended.

Others say the word “elder” or “elderly” is outdated and inappropriate. But is it more offensive than dealing with a state agency that now sounds like it’s in charge of handing out toe tags?

This is not the first time a proposed acronym has caused some Statehouse angst. Several years ago Gov. Tom Vilsack tried to merge some agencies under a new Department of Administrative Management, or DAM. Although words like “damn” and “government management” go very well together, the idea was swiftly scrapped. Instead, we got the Department of Administrative Services, or DAS. 

The Iowa Department of Transportation prefers DOT, rather than IDOT, which is just one skinny letter away from an editorial comment on its road-building wisdom. Still, the Iowa Department of Economic Development has never batted an eye at using IDED, even when the pulse of Iowa’s economy weakens.

Lawmakers have introduced bills over the years that would seek to stamp out government jargon and drain an alphabet soup of bureaucratic acronyms. They didn’t go far.

You could say they were DOA.

UPDATERadio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports that elder affairs officials insist the department will be known as DA, not DOA.

Of course, an agency’s official name may be different than its real world moniker. Just ask the Board of Regents how successful they were in convincing Iowa media to refer to them by their official name: Board of Regents, State of Iowa. Not very.

The “O” may be tough to hide.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “DOA is Alive — Updated

  1. Jon

    Hearing all of the acronyms always brings me back to watching Good Morning Vietnam when Robin Williams’ character says “Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the V.P. is such a V.I.P., shouldn’t we keep the P.C. on the Q.T.? ‘Cause if it leaks to the V.C. he could end up M.I.A., and then we’d all be put out in K.P.”

    Let’s just simplify things a little bit. K?

  2. Todd

    Should anyone really be shocked that the majority party legislators are really being this foolish to push this through?

    Since when has the word “elderly” been offensive? Have we become that politically correct of a society that we can’t refer to someone as an “elderly” person?

    If you want to talk about insensitivity..having the agency that deals with elder affairs being known as the D.O.A.–makes it appear that our state legislators hope the elderly population is D.O.A sooner rather than later.

    Perhaps they think if we don’t have all those old folks to have to take care of, they won’t be such a drain on the state budget.

    Speaking of the state budget, Mr. Dorman, how about starting asking the Democratic Party leadership in the Statehouse and Governor Culver WHY detailed state budget numbers still aren’t available?

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