How Your Donation Can Help Transform Aging

Dr. Dilip Jeste

We sat with Dilip V. Jeste, MD, Senior Associate Dean of Healthy Aging and Senior Care and Director of the Stein Institue for Research on Aging and the Center for Healthy Aging at UC San Diego to talk about his research and how private donors can promote successful aging. 

Why invest in research on aging?

The world is aging rapidly. While people are living longer, which is a good thing, they’re also increasingly battling chronic illnesses and making decisions about their health for which we are not prepared. However, we are still at the beginning of the journey to discovery. With adequate knowledge and education, we could make successful aging a norm for everyone.

How is the work at the center unique?

Our researchers have discovered a staggering amount of information about aging over the past decades, including groundbreaking studies in accelerated and successful aging from genetics to mental health. Some of our recent initiatives include cutting-edge robotics, wearable, Fitbit-like monitors, and work on improving senior housing. Our findings have been published in the most prestigious peer-review journals, and there’s rarely a week when our research is not featured in the media. 

How is the center making a difference?

We began witnessing a new era in the approach to aging, and it’s been set due in part to the many studies and programs that we’ve spearheaded. As we learned more about the factors that make people age successfully, we have gone beyond understanding the basic biology of aging alone and extended our focus to include questions like: Do you age in place or move to a senior community? Or what do you do to be more resilient and optimistic as research shows that these traits lead to longevity? Another exciting accomplishment is that we are slowly witnessing a change in the perceptions about aging. For years, we have been explaining that older adults, with their wisdom, are a wonderful resource for the whole society. We are slowly seeing this message become more and more widely expected—a ray of hope that needs much work.

How can philanthropy help?

There are a number of ways through which private donations can make a tremendous impact. One such example is the Healthy Aging Initiative’s Seed Grant Program. This granting program enables multidisciplinary projects that lack standard funding streams. Only this year, we received eighty extraordinary proposals aiming to help decipher common diseases related to aging. Due to limited funding, we were able to support only ten projects. Your dollars could help us extend this important program and fund some of the best and brightest researchers in the world. 

Another example of how we could use private support is one of our most promising ongoing projects, Successful AGing Evaluation (SAGE) study. SAGE is the only large-scale study of successful aging that considers the impact of positive psychological traits, such as resilience and wisdom, in addition to biological factors, providing a much more complete picture of older adults. The study findings were widely described in the media. Now, it is time to add genomics and microbiome arms of the study—and this is how your dollars could be used.

Your gift to the UC San Diego Center for Healthy Aging and Stein Institute for Research on Aging will allow us to help everyone lead longer and healthier lives. Every gift makes a difference. Small gifts pooled together or made annually can achieve big results. A special gift to support a particular program helps us to move our mission forward. Please join our efforts today by supporting our programs with a charitable gift. 


HOW YOUR GIFT CAN HELP 

$25,000 funds an aging-related pilot project for a junior faculty member. 
$10,000 funds a research project for a postdoctoral fellow.
$5,000 supports a graduate student for one quarter.
$3,000 funds the filming of one public lecture.
$2,500 funds one issue of our newsletter.
$500 funds twenty-five participants in our successful aging study.
$350 funds a high school student for a week, including a stipend and all supplies.