BY MAJA GAWRONSKA, MA
As we grow older, almost every aspect of life poses pressing questions. Who will take care of us? Where will older Americans live? How can the housing industry meet the needs of older adults? How can technology be used to make that possible? How will technology benefit our lives and health? What social roles will they play?
These and a number of other important topics were addressed May 26 during the Inaugural Symposium of the UC San Diego Center for Healthy Aging. (Videos of speakers and panels
The symposium was an opportunity for four hundred attendees, including faculty, staff, students, and the community, to learn from globally recognized researchers in the field of aging. Key topics were health care and housing, with an emphasis on how technology will influence each in the future.
Sessions featured presentations from internationally known physicians, gerontologists, engineers, and housing experts, who discussed issues ranging from the role of biosensors and wearable monitors in successful aging to preventing medication errors, pioneering research on aging and the human microbiome, managing medications, and the latest trends in age-friendly housing and communities.
Speakers included David Brenner, MD, vice chancellor for Health Sciences; Sandra Brown, PhD, vice chancellor for Research; Dilip V. Jeste, MD, director of the Center for Healthy Aging; Gary Gottlieb, MD, MBA, CEO of the Harvard-affiliated, global Partners in Health; and John Feather, PhD, CEO of Grantmakers in Aging, a national nonprofit dedicated to improving the experience of older adults.
The jam-packed program also featured two multidisciplinary panel discussions on health care and senior housing, and poster presentations by recipients of the center’s 2015–2016 Innovative Multidisciplinary Research and Education Pilot Grants.
A diverse collection of speakers reflected the Center for Healthy Aging’s unique collaboration and multidisciplinary approach to addressing the issues our aging society is facing. With the goal of breaking the traditional silos that occur within academic departments, the UC San Diego Center for Healthy Aging has provided an umbrella for bringing together faculty and trainees from varied disciplines, departments, and professional backgrounds to work collaboratively on different aspects of healthy aging.
“For the first time in the history of any major university in the United States, the schools of medicine, engineering, management, and major divisions and institutes have come together to build a more age-friendly future,” said Dr. Jeste, who is also senior associate dean for healthy aging and senior care at UC San Diego. “By cross-pollinating our ideas and abilities, we can address aging issues in new ways that will provide a roadmap for policymakers and social drivers.”
This symposium was made possible through the generous support of be.group, Clinical Translational Research Institute, the San Diego Foundation, Paradise Village, and the Gary and Mary West Foundation. Additionally, this symposium was supported by the UC San Diego School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Qualcomm Institute, Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM), Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind (KIBM), Stein Institute for Research on Aging, and the Division of Biological Sciences.
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