Community/University Research Partnerships Subject of Public Forum April 6

April 1, 2009 — "Making Central Virginia a Great Place to Age: Community Research Partnerships," is the subject of a communitywide and pan-University of Virginia research forum to be held Monday from 1 to 4 p.m. in Sandridge Hall at the John Paul Jones Arena.

The forum, which will feature research projects in aging at U.Va., is sponsored by the U.Va. Institute on Aging and the Jefferson Area Board for Aging.

This event brings together the knowledge, wisdom and experience of academic and community leaders to address the critical health, social and economic challenges facing the aging population of central Virginia and beyond.

The forum will showcase the work of the Institute on Aging and JABA to promote joint scholarship between faculty and professionals at governmental agencies and service associations – efforts to promote healthier, longer, and more independent lives for senior citizens.

Admission is free, but attendees must reserve a space by e-mailing uvaging@virginia.edu or calling 434-243-5695. Seating is limited. Check-in for pre-registered attendees begins at 12:30 that day.

Free parking is available in the arena's west lot, which is located at 295 Massie Road in Charlottesville. Visit www.virginia.edu/aginginstitute for information about the Institute on Aging. The JABA web address is www.jabacares.org.

Featured presentations include findings from research teams funded in 2008 by the Institute on Aging and JABA:

• "Aging in Place through Monitoring and Communication to Family Caregivers"

This project is developing an inexpensive wireless energy monitoring system to extend the period of independently living by providing family caregivers with a means of monitoring by Internet the activities of aging relatives.

The grant recipients are P. Paxton Marshall, Charles L. Brown Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and John Quale, School of Architecture.

• "Developing a Community Food System Program Serving JABA"

This project investigates ways to increase offerings of good-tasting, fresh and nutritious locally sourced food for JABA clients served by its Community Food System pilot program. Team leaders are Tim Beatley, School of Architecture; Andrea Larson and Erika Herz, Darden School of Business; and Neal Halvorson-Taylor, Community Food System Project Director, JABA.

• "Aging and Anxiety:  Intrusive Thoughts as a Barrier to Healthy Aging"

This project seeks to better understand seniors' repeated and unwelcome thoughts related to a range of problems, including anxiety, depression and insomnia. Leaders are psychology department professors Bethany Teachman and Joshua Magee.

Thomas Skalak, U.Va. vice president for research, will deliver the keynote address,  "Partnerships for Innovation in Aging:  Strategies and Directions for Collaborative Research, Education, and Services." 

The afternoon will conclude with remarks by Gordon Walker, chief executive officer of JABA, and a poster session featuring additional leading-edge research in aging. A networking reception will follow.

The primary mission of the University of Virginia Institute on Aging is to understand and enhance the aging process throughout the human lifespan. The Institute acts as a catalyst and coordinator for interdisciplinary research, education, and service programs.

JABA's mission is to promote, establish and preserve sustainable communities for healthy aging that benefit individuals of all ages.

— By Fariss Samarrai