Center on Aging earns grant renewal to help seniors

$375,000 provides funding for five years

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University has received a $375,000 grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to renew the five-year-old Rural Health Aging Network (RHAN) for five more years.

The network, part of the WVU Center on Aging in the WVU Prevention Research Center at Health Sciences, aims to improve the health of older adults, thus increasing their day-to-day functioning.

Working with partners throughout the state, RHAN offers programs such as the Fit and Strong! exercise regimen tailored to older adults with arthritis. Other programs include Taking Charge for a Healthier You, which helps older adults manage chronic disease.

R. Turner Goins, Ph.D., associate professor in the WVU Center on Aging, applied for the new funding in collaboration with Amy Fiske, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, and Dina Jones, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedics.

RHAN works with partners such as the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services, the Osteoporosis and Arthritis Program of the West Virginia Bureau of Public Health, the West Virginia AARP and the West Virginia Alzheimer’s Association.

“We are active in providing evidence-based health-promotion programs for rural older West Virginians,” Goins said. “One of our strongest partnerships to date has been with the Tug River Health Association in McDowell County. 

“Several years ago the executive director of the McDowell County Senior Center, Emily Yeager, expressed a need for health-promotion programming for seniors in her community.  In response, we partnered with the Senior Center, Tug River Health Association and the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health to provide a program called Fit and Strong! So far, our results have indicated that participants improved the average number of feet they walked in six minutes, increased their sense of confidence for participating in exercise and had reductions in pain. We share that information with not only our partners locally and but also nationally, such as the National Council on Aging and other Healthy Aging Networks funded by the CDC.”

For information on RHAN see http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/coa/rhan/.


For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
ab: 10-15-09

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