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November 21, 2001

New GSPH center to focus on aging

Improving the quality of life and preventing disability among senior citizens is the goal of Pitt's new Center for Healthy Aging, established at the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The center, one of only two CDC prevention centers to focus on aging, will be the regional hub of information and training 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.

Lewis Kuller, professor and chair of epidemiology at GSPH, principal investigator at the new center, said, "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."

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.

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.

Anne B. Newman, associate professor, division of geriatric medicine, School of Medicine, is co-principal investigator. "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," Newman said.

Other organizations involved in the new center include: School of Medicine's geriatric medicine and psychiatry departments; School of Dental Medicine; School of Nursing's Center for Chronic Diseases; University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute; Allegheny County Health Department; Pennsylvania Health Department; United Way; Area Agency on Aging, and other community health agencies with an interest in aging.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 34 Issue 7

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