The University of Iowa Center on Aging:
What's New in Aging
It all started in 1990, in one corner of one desk, with a grant from the National Institute on Aging and a desire to develop faculty expertise, university programs, and state initiatives in aging. Since then, the UI's Center on Aging has extended to every corner of this extensive, interdisciplinary field -- advancing research, developing education, advising policy, and promoting programs to understand, respond to, and enhance the experience of aging.
The issues are many and the scope is enormous. The result is a highly collaborative enterprise crossing biological, psychological, social, and economic fields within the UI colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Liberal Arts, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Education, Business, Engineering, and Law as well as the Graduate College. The COA collaborates also with the UI Hospitals and Clinics, Public Policy Center, Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, and other university programs, departments, and centers. In short, the COA serves as a university-wide coordinating unit for aging-related research, education, policy, and service.
The center is currently focusing on research, education, policy, and service to address questions of health and aging. Within this focus, the center is conducting and facilitating research on aging-associated diseases, the basic aging process, and biological interventions to improve the quality of life for the aging population. The center is working also to develop academic programs to ensure a highly trained cadre of professionals in aging-related fields, and to develop research mentorship, training, and resources to ensure a sustained and ethical research enterprise. In addition, the center is providing policy analysis and evaluation to guide community, state, and national decisions about aging-related issues, and offering information and consultation to assist faculty, students, professionals, researchers, and others in need of geriatric resources.
The center's work has never been more important, as we near a point, the demographics tell us, where the aging population is bound to transform our society. The aging population will mean changes in health care needs, housing requirements, workforce composition, and other aging-related arenas. These changes will be especially pronounced in the state of Iowa, which has the second highest percentage of people aged 85 and over and the fourth highest percentage of people aged 65 and older. Iowa, like so many states in our nation, must act now to address the needs and implications of an aging population.
The Center on Aging hopes to continuously extend its resources and reach to address the numerous, multi-faceted aspects of aging. The center is advancing cutting-edge basic and clinical research on aging-related issues, is working towards academic excellence and nationally recognized leadership in aging-related fields, and is forming strategic partnerships to explore and enhance the experience of aging. With proper support and insightful direction, the center will be opportunely positioned to anticipate the needs of an aging population, and to meet those needs on an individual, community, state, and societal basis.