The study of aging and the public health needs of an older population is a field of strength at the College of Public Health. In addition to our core researchers, the Institute of Gerontology boasts 25 faculty members from across the University who are involved in aging research, academic programs, and outreach.

Through research, members of the Institute of Gerontology offer solutions to today’s most pressing health issues related to aging and older adults. Our work is often collaborative and on the vanguard of aging research. To date the Institute is supported by multi-million dollars in grant funding.

Explore our specific areas of study below:

Minority Health & Health Disparities

The United States is increasingly diverse. About 40 percent of the population belongs to a racial or ethnic minority group, and by 2060 this percentage is expected to increase to 61 percent. Older minorities suffer disproportionately from a number of negative health outcomes, which is why the Institute of Gerontology is committed to research that may offer solutions to improve health for everyone living in our communities.

Assistive Technologies

In today’s society, technology has become an integral part of everyday living. Assistive technology has the potential to help older adults maintain a healthy lifestyle and age-in-place, but only if such technology is designed to be meet older adults’ needs.
The Institute of Gerontology focuses on understanding the fundamentals of older adults’ capabilities and limitations. We apply this scientific knowledge to the design, implementation, and evaluation of technology in home and healthcare settings.

Emotional well-being

Poor emotional well-being in late life is associated with reduced independence, increased risk for dementia, and a reduction in the ability to complete activities of daily living. Anxiety, depression, and grief at the loss of loved ones are commonly experienced by older adults and can impact quality of life.
The Institute of Gerontology is committed to understanding the ways in which older adults can emotionally thrive. We promote psychological resilience and healthy emotional aging across the lifespan.

Cognitive Health

Fear of Alzheimer’s disease is second only to fear of cancer in the United States. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which is only one of a number of different types of dementias that increase in incidence in older age.

The Institute of Gerontology faculty conduct cutting-edge research in cognitive neuroscience of aging, including interventions to reduce dementia risk. We strive to understand how cognitive health changes with age. We look not only at loss, but at the cognitive gains that older adults are capable of making.

Social Connectedness

Social connections are integral to human well-being. A lack of social connectedness is associated with morbidity, increased healthcare utilization, and even mortality. The risk of negative outcomes is particularly important for older adults who have increased risk of social isolation. The Institute of Gerontology identifies preventable and treatable precursors to social isolation and promotes interventions to optimize quality of life.

Current Research Projects

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