Aging & Public Health
Section Newsletter
Fall 2008

From the Editor

The fall 2008 newsletter of the Gerontological Health Section is a little spare.  It must be the busy lives of our Section members, who are hit with many responsibilities as summer ends and a new academic or project year begins.  Most of us are feverishly preparing for APHA or GSA, perhaps rushing to submit a grant proposal or two, and generally trying to keep our heads above water.  It didn’t help that the deadline for the newsletter was a little tighter than usual.


APHA has a strong showing of papers on aging and public health.  If you search the online scientific sessions tab on the APHA Web site and select “Gerontological Health,” over 21 pages of entries appear, each with 10 entries per page, or 210 posters, presentations or sessions.  This only includes entries sponsored by our section.  The first page of the online view gives a good sense of the large area covered by GHS.  Here is a snapshot of some the first entries that appear:


Promoting cognitive health: A formative research collaboration of the healthy aging research network


Correlation between Blood Pressure MEASUREMENTS and Adjustment of Hypertensive THERAPY in Elderly Nursing Home Residents


Decision making at the end of life in Mexican American Aged: Preliminary findings

Age-based disparities in clinical trials: Barriers and multi-level policy solutions

Assessing the subjective method of nursing observation to monitor pressure ulcer healing through the use of quantitative measurements (PUSH) in nursing home residents

Translating Research to Practice: Applying the RE-AIM Framework to Caregiver Programs and Policies

Health Promotion for Older Workers

Economic evaluation of palliative care at the end of life

Trends in the utilization of healthcare services and cancer screenings for older African Americans in Detroit

Role of Social Support and Social Networks in Successful Breast Cancer Survival: The International Dragon-Boater Experience


Behavioral Approaches for Risk Reduction in Midlife Women with MetS: A Pilot Study


Impact of coronary artery bypass graft surgery on the physical functioning of the aged

 Fall Prevalence Data and Three Intervention Models to Reduce Falls Among Older Adults

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: Generating Elder Friendly Urban Environments

Health care seeking behaviors among elderly: Japan - US comparative study

A cost-effective strategy to create a stimulating cognitive, physical, and social environment in a multi-ethnic older adult housing complex

Environment, health and aging: Promising new directions

The range of these research and programmatic efforts is impressive and shows once again the multidisciplinary quality of research on healthy aging.


Given the pressure to get this Newsletter out, updates and announcements regarding the San Diego meeting will likely come by listserv, so stay tuned.


I wish you all well for the new academic year.  Thanks again to Celeste Petruzzi for helping put the newsletter together.




Steven M. Albert, PhD, MSPH
Department of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences
Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh
A211 Crabtree, 130 DeSoto St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15261



The Association of Schools of Public Health recommends a $10 million dollar increase to expand and enhance the network of Prevention Research Centers within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Within this increase, approximately $5 million would be used to add additional centers to the network, and $5 million would be used to establish a recurring budget line item supporting research in health promotion for the burgeoning aging population. These research dollars are important because health promotion/disease prevention efforts for older adults can have immediate benefits in reducing the complications and costs of chronic illnesses and disabilities prevalent in old age.  There is an emergent science base regarding the effectiveness of intervention strategies, which needs to be further developed and translated more broadly through the public health and aging networks. The Prevention Research Centers (PRC) program is a national network of 33 academic based research centers, of which 27 are located at accredited schools of public health, and each of which receives approximately $745,000 in CDC funding.  The collaborative of academic, public health, and community partners engages in community-based prevention research, research translation, and education to address the leading causes of death and disability.  The combined research portfolio of the 33 centers includes nearly 500 projects.  The need for recurring funding for health promotion research for older adults is particularly compelling given the enormous number of baby boomers who will be retiring, becoming Medicare eligible and using long term care services.  Effective health promotion interventions been developed for this population that urgently need translation to those who can benefit from them.

Help Close the Gap

Hi all GHS members,

The program for the October APHA Annual Meeting is now complete and can be looked at online at .   It looks like a great scientific program!

A critical part of our Annual Meeting are the awards & social activities. Monday, Oct. 27 is our awards session, reception and auction.  We will be recognizing Drs. Carroll Estes, Fernando Torres-Gil and Etsuji Okamoto, recipients of our Leadership Awards.  We will also be recognizing the recipients of our scientific research awards.  To celebrate our 30th Anniversary as a Section of APHA, we will recognize founders and celebrate with cake at the reception.

 ... and we need your help!

We are short $3,000 to support these activities that are crucial to the success of our meetings. If you can help with a special donation of any amount, please make a tax deductible check out to APHA (write GHS enrichment fund in the memo line) and send it to Gerry Eggert, GHS Development Chair, 28 Lawton St., Rochester, NY  14607. APHA will send you a receipt for your tax records.  Would you consider a $100 donation if you are an individual and $250 if you represent an organization?  All donors will be recognized in our Awards Brochure.

Thanks for your support. We hope to see you in San Diego in October.

APHA Gerontological Health Section

--- Elected Positions
Nancy Miller, Section Chair 2007-2009
Bob Burke, Past Chair
Susan Miller, Chair Elect
Pat Alt, Secretary 2007-2009
Lene Levy-Storms, Governing Council, 2006-2008
James Swan, Governing Council 2007-2009
Allan Goldman, Council 2005-08
Ashley Love, Council 2005-08
Helena Temkin-Greener, Council 2006-09
Janet Frank, Council 2006-09
Keith Elder, Council 2007-2010
Lucinda Bryant, Council 2007-2010

--- Appointed Positions
Jan Warren-Findlow, Rachel Seymour, Ashley Love, Program Co-Chairs (2007-09)
Daniel Meng, Membership Chair (2007-2009)
Caryn Etkin, Awards Chair (2007-09)
Karen Peters, Policy Chair (2007-09)
Steven Albert, Newsletter Chair (2005-08)
Steve Wallace, Website; Listserv Chair (2007-09)
Gerry Eggert, Development Chair (2007-09)
Karen Peters, APHA Action Board (2007-09)
Dana Mukamel, AJPH Editorial Board (2007-10)
Karon L. Phillips, APHA Student Assembly Representative (2007-09)

--Awards Subcommitte Chairs
Marcia Ory, Susan B. Anthony Aetna Award for Excellence in Research on Older Women
Allan Goldman, Archstone Foundation Award for Excellence in Program Innovation
Carolyn Mendez-Luck, Betty J. Cleckley Minority Issues Research Award
Joe Sharkey, Aging and Rural Health Award
Helena Temkin-Greener, Nobuo Maeda International Research Award
Dana Mukamel, James G. Zimmer New Investigator Research Award
Ashley Love, Retirement Research Foundation Laurence G. Branch Doctoral Student Award
Irena Pesis-Katz, Retirement Research Foundation Masters Student Award

Plus many other volunteers who make the GHS successful!

Federal Poverty Guidelines Underestimate Costs of Living for Older Adults



A nationwide effort is under way to more accurately gauge the true cost of making ends meet for older adults. The Elder Economic Security Standard Index (Elder Index) is an empirically based measure that includes the actual costs of housing, food, medical care, transportation, and other expenses at the county level.


In contrast, the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) is based on data from the 1950s that estimated that the average family spent one-third of their income on food. When the FPL was first calculated in the 1960s, they took the cost of a minimal food basket and tripled it to arrive at the FPL. Other than cost of living adjustments, the FPL is basically the same today when it is applied to determine eligibility for Medicare Part D subsidies and other public programs. In addition, the FPL is the same in every part of the country.


In California, the FPL on average covers only half of the basic costs experienced by older adults in the state. In urban counties, housing costs dominate total expenses, while in rural areas health care costs can exceed housing. The report on the California Elder Index ( by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research has been widely discussed, thanks to the excellent organizing efforts of the state’s lead organization, the Insight Center for Community Economic Development (


Organizations throughout the nation are calculating and promoting the Elder Index in their states. Massachusetts was first, followed by California, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Wisconsin. With support from the Atlantic Philanthropies, a total of 20 states are scheduled to roll out the Elder Index in the next few years. The effort is led nationally by Wider Opportunities for Women ( in Washington, D.C.


An overview of the Elder Index, and its policy and practice implications, will be presented at the APHA Annual Meetings in San Diego at Session 3319: Beyond Poverty - The Elder Economic Security Standard, Monday, Oct. 27 at 2:30 p.m.

APHA Annual Meeting

The APHA Annual Meeting is just around the corner. The program is now complete and can be looked at online at    Sessions focused on caregiving, long term care, nursing home and hospice issues, successful aging, the environment and aging, and translating aging research into practice, among many scientific sessions.  It looks like a great scientific program! 

A critical part of our annual meeting are the awards and social activities. Monday, Oct. 27 is our awards session, reception, and auction.  We will be recognizing Drs. Carroll Estes, Fernando Torres-Gil and Etsuji Okamoto, recipients of our Leadership Awards.  We will also be recognizing the recipients of our scientific research awards.  To celebrate our 30th Anniversary as a Section of APHA, we will recognize founders and celebrate with cake at the reception.  The auction will feature crystal, Georgia pottery, pewter items, among many items.  We also will be holding our raffle during the reception.  All proceeds will support our scientific awards program.

Our booth is in a prime location and will feature a banner marking our 30th Anniversary and other celebratory items.  Articles, books and other materials from members are welcome.

All are invited to the GHS Business Meeting, Sunday at 4:00 p.m. and Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.  Those attending Sunday’s Business meeting are invited to share dinner afterwards in Old Town.  Details will follow.

Thank you to everyone who has assisted in putting together the program – submitting abstracts, reviewing abstracts and awards manuscripts, organizing the scientific sessions, and assisting with the booth.  I hope to see you in San Diego in a few weeks.

American Geriatrics Society Announcement

The American Geriatrics Society would like to announce the Call for Applications for the 2009-2011 Geriatrics Education for Specialty Residents (GSR) program. Currently, there is an urgent need to create a structure for developing leaders in geriatrics in academic surgery and related medical specialties. The Geriatrics for Specialty Residents program address this need by allowing interested specialists to work in collaboration with the geriatrics program in their institution, thereby enhancing their knowledge and skills in teaching geriatrics principles to specialist residents.

We are looking forward to receiving applications from the specialties to develop, initiate and evaluate programs designed to increase education for residents in the geriatric aspect of their disciplines. The disciplines targeted by the grant are anesthesiology, emergency medicine, general surgery, gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, otolaryngology, physical medicine & rehabilitation, thoracic surgery, and urology. Successful applicants will receive $20,000 funding/year for each of the two years (a total of $40,000 in funding). The deadline for applications is March 4, 2009.

We have added and optional Geriatrics Education for Specialty Residents Mentoring Program. The program will provide a supportive mentoring relationship between past GSR award recipients and GSR applicants with the purpose of affording applicants an opportunity to develop more competitive proposals.

Mentoring is geared towards both re-applicants and smaller specialty residency training programs that may not feel competitive for funding in the GSR program. The goal is to enhance the capacity of these residency programs to compete more effectively for GSR funding.

We anticipate mentoring of grantees will range from facilitating the adaptation of existing materials to the needs of the applicant institution to advising programs as they develop wholly new programs within their own institutions.

The GSR RFP is posted on our Web site at

Additional information about the GSR program is posted at

If you have questions, please contact Rachael Edberg Silverman, MPH, at or (212) 308-1414. 

2008 Donald P. Kent Award

Dr. Terrie Wetle, Associate Dean of Medicine for Public Health and Public Policy, and Professor of Community Health at Brown University in Rhode Island, has been named for the 2008 Donald P. Kent Award by the Gerontological Society of America.   The award is for one who “best exemplifies the highest standards of professional leadership in gerontology through teaching, service and interpretation of gerontology to the larger society.”