Healthy Aging and Geriatric Studies
According to the CDC, the population of older Americans is growing exponentially—10,000 people now turn 65 each day, with the trend expected to continue through 2030. Within this population, the CDC estimates that approximately 80% have at least one chronic health condition, including, but not limited to, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and dementia. Along with chronic conditions, the CDC also reports that one in three older adults have limitations in completing daily activities of living ( https://www.cdc.gov/grand-rounds/pp/2017/20170919-senior-aging.html).
In a September 2019 CDC Public Health Grand Rounds presentation entitled “Healthy Aging: Promoting Well-being in Older Adults,” presenters Lock, Baumgart, Whiting, and McGuire discussed the complex challenges of meeting the needs of this growing demographic in the face of a simultaneous decline in birthrates (indicating a potential decline in available healthcare providers and caregivers).
The presenters offered suggestions which aligned with the Healthy People 2020 plan and Aging in Action Plan (U.S. Surgeon General’s Office, 2016), including: eliminating health disparities (e.g. offering rides to wellness exams and providing convenient options for vaccinations for the socioeconomically disadvantaged), offering increased social engagement opportunities and cognitive training programs, encouraging adoption of a more active lifestyle, offering comprehensive wellness visits that include health risk screenings for cognitive assessment and other chronic conditions, and offering respite programs for caregivers providing unpaid care for family members (retrieved from YouTube: https://youtu.be/Zdfw8uQ-vA4).
Faculty researchers in the College of Health Sciences conducting studies in healthy aging and geriatrics are contributing to the body of knowledge within these fields and have many specializations, including: aging and physical activity; aging in place; daily living for the elderly; falls prevention; health literacy and quality of life in older adults; mental health; and self-care and well-being in the aging population
Faculty in Healthy Aging and Geriatric Studies research cluster are also members of the following communities of practice: Aging, Community of Engaged Scholars, Health-Focused Interprofessional Education, Mental and Emotional Well-Being, UTEP Community Engagement and Research in COVID-19.
CHS Leaders in Healthy Aging and Geriatric Studies
Dr. Dahlia Castillo
Clinical Asst. Professor and Director, Occupational Therapy Program
Specialization: daily living for the elderly
Communities of Practice: Aging
Dr. Sandor Dorgo
Professor of Kinesiology
Director, Fitness Research Facility
Specialization: aging and physical activity, including: sarcopenia, dynapenia, bone density, physical function and performance, assessment of function, quality of life, cognitive performance, falls prevention, and kinetic and kinematic analyses of exercises/activities for older adults
Communities of Practice: Aging, Community of Engaged Scholars, UTEP Community Engagement and Research in COVID-19
Dr. Cecilia Fierro, MOT
Clinical Asst. Professor of Occupational Therapy
Specialization: mental health in aging; aging in place; quality of life, self-care and physical well-being in the aging population
Communities of Practice: Aging, Health-Focused Interprofessional Education, Mental and Emotional Well-Being
Dr. Bruce Friedman
Chair and Professor of Social Work
Specialization: Geriatric rehabilitation (substance use disorder), senior exercise and nutrition, aging and mental health, elderly abuse case review and prevention
Dr. Gabriel Ibarra-Mejia
Assistant Professor of Public Health
Specialization: aging workforce; re-design and accommodations for aging workers to promote a healthy environment
Communities of Practice: Aging, UTEP Community Engagement and Research in COVID-19
Dr. Patricia Lara
Clinical Asst. Professor of Speech Language Pathology
Specialization: recovery after stroke in the elderly population; health literacy and quality of life for older adults
Communities of Practice: Aging, Health-Focused Interprofessional Education