Center for Healthy Aging is Established at University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
PITTSBURGH, October 29, 2001 — Improving the quality of life and preventing disability among senior citizens is the goal of the University of Pittsburgh's new Center for Healthy Aging, established at the University's Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) through a grant from the Centers for Disease Controland Prevention (CDC).
The new center, one of only two CDC prevention centers to focus on aging, will be the regional hub of information and training on this topic for health professionals. The center also will develop health-enhancing activities for the elderly through collaborations with community health organizations, and, through a large research component, will evaluate the health benefits of regular exercise, dietary changes and increased social activity."
Over the past 20 years there has been remarkably successful research that has identified the causes and prevention of disability and disease among older individuals, and much of this research has been done at the University of Pittsburgh," said Lewis Kuller, M.D., Dr.P.H., professor and chair of the department of epidemiology at GSPH and principal investigator of the new center. "However, the advances in clinical preventive medicine research have not always been applied in the community as effectively as we would hope. The Center for Healthy Aging will work closely with community agencies, the county and state health departments and health care organizations to maximize the application of known effective preventive approaches to improve the quality of life for individuals over the age of 65."
The center will focus on easily applied strategies that have been shown to promote healthy aging and prevent disability among older individuals. Areas of emphasis include hypertension (prevention of heart failure and vascular dementia), diabetes, cholesterol management, osteoporosis and cancer screenings, proper immunizations, dementia, depression, exercise, nutrition, smoking cessation and social integration. Center staff will work closely with community agencies and other health care professionals.
Researchers at the center will conduct a clinical trial that will evaluate the efficacy of enhanced methods of delivering preventive medical care and develop professional health education programs in geriatric preventive medicine.
"Life expectancy for women at age 65 is about 19 additional years, and for men about 16 additional years. But a portion of those years is associated with substantial disability," said co-principal investigator Anne B. Newman, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor, division of geriatric medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "With the ever-growing percentage of people over age 65 in Allegheny County, it is vital that we do all we can to help them avoid the diseases and disabilities that often come with aging."
In addition to the GSPH, the following groups are involved in the Center for Healthy Aging: The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, departments of geriatric medicine and psychiatry; The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine ; The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Center for Chronic Diseases; The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute; the Allegheny County Health Department; the Pennsylvania Health Department; the United Way; the Area Agency on Aging; and numerous other community health agencies with an interest in aging.
Established in 1948, the GSPH at the University of Pittsburgh is world-renowned for contributions that have influenced public health practices and medical care for millions of people. It is the only fully accredited school of public health in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is one of the top-ranked schools of public health in the United States. It is one of eight schools across the country to be designated a Public Health Training Center by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
For more information about the GSPH, access the school’s website at http://www.publichealth.pitt.edu.