02/02/2005

WVU Center on Aging Professor Awarded Grant
Goins to Study Healthy Aging in Rural Communities


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A simple visit to the doctor can be an all-day activity for older adults living in rural areas due to the amount of travel involved to get to a clinic or hospital. Physical activities, such as taking a walk down the street in the evening, are not as simple for some rural elders as for those who live in a town with sidewalks and stoplights. Research on access to health care and other issues that impact healthy aging are an increasing priority with the aging of the baby boom generation.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has awarded West Virginia University faculty researcher R. Turner Goins, Ph.D., a $265,450 grant to focus on unique issues faced by rural elders and to assist with the development of research related to aspects of healthy aging. Goins’ project, the Rural Healthy Aging Network (RHAN), is part of the CDC-funded Healthy Aging Network. RHAN is a collaboration between the WVU Center on Aging and the WVU Centers for Public Health Research and Training (formerly the Prevention Research Center). WVU was one of six CDC-funded prevention research centers that received one of these awards.

“This is a wonderful achievement for WVU and for Dr. Goins,” said Geri Dino, Ph.D., director of the Centers for Public Health Research and Training. This highly competitive award reflects excellence in research and outreach designed to impact community health.”

These two centers will work together to develop recommendations relating to rural healthy aging. The RHAN has three overall objectives, the first to identify the gaps in research, knowledge, and practice to improve health and access to

health care among rural older adults. Secondly, the program will work to improve the effectiveness of public health information by making it easier to understand, thereby bridging the divide between older adults and health care providers. Finally, the RHAN program will develop a five-year plan of organized research, intervention, and dissemination activities to guide the future design of RHAN in West Virginia. These efforts coincide with the goals of Healthy People 2010, a CDC program, by increasing both the quality and years of healthy life and eliminating health disparities. The newly created RHAN of West Virginia Web site (www.ruralaging.org/rhan) will be launched in late January 2005.

Dr. Goins is the associate director for research for the WVU Center on Aging and associate professor with the WVU Department of Community Medicine. In addition to her research on rural aging issues, Goins teaches courses in Gerontology and is studying long-term care issues of the American Indian and Alaskan Native elderly. In September, she was appointed to the advisory panel for the Johnson & Johnson/Roselyn Carter Institute Caregivers Program, a panel which consists of ten national experts on caregiving.

The WVU Center on Aging is part of the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center at West Virginia University. The Center works through research, education, clinical service and technology to improve the health, wellbeing and security of older people and those who care for them in West Virginia and across the nation.

For more information, contact the WVU Center on Aging at (304) 292-2968 or visit
www.ruralaging.org/rhan.

- WVU -


05-004
For more information:
Maria Durbin, 304-293-2968
mdurbin@hsc.wvu.edu

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