Aging & Public Health
Section Newsletter
Winter 2006

Vision Statement from Robert Burke, PhD

The Vision Statement from Bob Burke, the new Chair of the Gerontological Health Section (GHS) at The American Public Health Association (APHA)

January 2006

As your new Chair, this is the first opportunity for me to present my vision for our section. As we all know from first hand experience, the GHS section has made tremendous strides in many areas. Those most important to me are and will continue to be colleague building, preparing future professionals in gerontology and health policy, and in increasing section fiscal soundness by fund raising, and by working on and researching policy relevant advocacy issues for America’s maturing and disabled. GHS members have been at the forefront of thought and social change since the section started over 20 years ago and I will make every effort to retain this goal.

At our business meetings, many of us have spoken about why we are in GHS. For most of us, membership in GHS was typically not the first section we joined when we became members of APHA. For me I have found a community of professionals who share the many different aspect of the study of aging. Our different perspectives have only enriched our section.

After completing graduate school I was more concerned with policy development and advocacy. I was interested in advocacy on three levels: 1. Advocating for quality of care and life for the aging Americans, 2. Advocating for public policy based on research and 3. Advocacy to equate applied policy relevant research on the same level as traditional academic research. At that time the American Sociological Association (ASA), my “academic home base,” was more interested in pure research rather than applied research. Simply, the ASA did not share an interested in public policy and advocacy. As a result I became more and more interested in the policy and advocacy activities that were the benchmarks of the APHA. I first joined the medical care section because my boss was the coordinator for abstracts review for the annual meeting. In the era before abstract computerization he needed all hands on deck to help process the abstracts. No, not to review abstracts but to Xerox them, mail them out to reviewers and nag the reviewers to get the evaluations back from reviewers. Since that section was so large, abstract coordination it was a hassle to say the least.

In the early days of GHS, though I still kept my ties with the Medical Care Section, I started to investigate GHS submit and have an abstract accepted as GHS and its members shared more of my interests than the Medical Care Section. What I found most appealing was the inclusiveness of its members. After attending business meetings, I found the GHS to be egalitarian, not controlled by a few schools but most importantly, it was clear that the perhaps unstated mission of GHS was to get more and more researchers, academicians, clinicians and policy makers working together in a spirit of cooperation to advance the knowledge and the public policy of aging.

Over the past two years working with the Chair, Steve Wallace and the Past Chair, Connie Evashwick, in my “chair-elect” period, I have learned much. Most important of which is that we are perceived by headquarters as a strong group of colleagues and are known for working as a team. We are also known as being successful fund-raisers, better than other APHA sections. So what is my vision? What do I think we can do over the next two years? A key part of my vision is to continue the work and efforts of my predecessors and colleagues. That would certainly be an adventurous undertaking and certainly something I will do. But as I think about what a special capabilities I have, two capabilities come to mind, they are management and location. It has been awhile since the GHS chair has resided in Washington. I propose that I will make it a plan to be visible and be accessible and visible to APHA’s national office. The second part of my vision is to rely on my managerial ability to enlist your help and your talents to help me and the section by sitting on committees, tasks forces, and, when asked, working on special projects. I ask for your assistance in developing creative plans and ideas to:
Continue our advocacy work
Have fun while working with each other
Increase more student participation
Increase more professional participation
Increase endowments for our awards
Maintain the level of communication with each other as well as with other sections and the national office.

As a measurable indicator of success, I propose that as we prepare for the Boston Meetings in November, I would like to have at least two cosponsored sessions with sections who have already shared an interest in working with us as well as at least one other section work with us on the auction and reception.

Most importantly, I want GHS to be the inclusive, open and supportive environment for professionals and students, who want to research, teach, explore, learn, evaluate, and develop proposal for the continually maturing America. Finally, I need you to make the vision and GHS successful. I look forward to working with you and on our next conference call, discussing your ideas on how to make the vision a reality.

Transgender Aging


Transgender Aging: The Graying of Transgender


Tarynn M. Witten*, PhD, MSW, FGSA
School of Social Work
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, VA 23284

and

A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH, FAFP
University of Vermont
School of Medicine
Burlington, VT


* Communications to this author at: T.M. Witten, PhD, MSW, FGSA, CSBC, Suite 111, Trani Life Sciences Bldg, 1000 West Cary Street, PO Box 842030, Richmond, VA 23284-2030



My friend John, a 64 year-old female-to-male transsexual, stared at a health care survey he had recently been asked to fill out. It asked his gender and then gave him the choices of male and female. John’s predicament illustrates the ongoing demographic invisibilization process transgender individuals undergo during the course of their journey (Witten & Eyler, 1999). Couple this with the typical marginalization suffered by the elderly in the United States, and you are faced with a growing population of persons (Witten, 2003) who suffer from significant degrees of health care (Witten & Eyler, 2004) and eco-socio-political injustice and inequity (Witten, 2004ab, Witten & Whittle, 2004).

Within the worldwide older adult population, transsexuals, transgenders, cross-dressers and other persons whose gender expression or identification is not seen as the “traditional” male or female represent a substantial minority group. Members of some Native American groups (i.e., Tewa Indians of New Mexico) might fall into this category, as would the Fa’afafine and Fa’afatama of Tonga and Samoa, the Hijra of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Maori of New Zealand, the Mak Nyah of Malaysia, and the okama, gei bli, burˆbli and nyˆh#fu of Japan.

In an era in which forecasting the health of elder populations is increasingly more important and where issues of health care inequity (Institute of Medicine, 2003) are being touted as critical to address, discussion of quality of life issues faced by mid-to-late life transsexuals and other gender minority persons should not be deferred. It is difficult, unfortunately, to provide data-based information about many of the health care and related issues faced by elder transsexuals, as this group is particularly “epidemiologically invisible” (Witten & Eyler, 1999), with many of its members preferring not to reveal their natal sex due to perceived and real risks and stigma associated with being “out.”

Transgender elders face not only the normative problems of aging, but also, due to their contragender hormone use and other possible gender re-alignment surgeries, face problems evolving from the conflation of such alterations with the normative aging processes. Confounding these biomedical processes are a constellation of psycho-social and eco-legal-political factors that further exacerbate the biomedical condition due to numerous factors such as elevated stress, experiences of perceived and actual violence and abuse (Witten & Eyler, 1999; Lombardi et al., 2001; Witten, 2004ab), loss of social network support, loss of income, and divorce/loss of children (Witten, 2004b, Witten & Whittle, 2004).

Biomedically, little is known about long-term effects or morbidity/mortality risk changes from use of contragender hormones and genital or other surgery, as related to the canonical age-related diseases of osteoporosis, cancer (breast/prostate), stroke, cardiovascular and cerebro-vascular disease, and oral health. Additionally, good clinical judgment must be utilized when starting a gender journey later in life due to the potential consequences arising from normative aging processes. Here, smoking cessation programs should be emphasized due to elevated risks associated with hormone use and smoking.

Individuals who pursue gender transition later in life face different challenges than do their younger peers, and also possess certain advantages. Quality of life issues may be affected by a constellation of medical and social considerations. These issues are both similar and dissimilar to those encountered by non-transsexual elderly persons. In this section, we will briefly explore the realities influencing quality of life for older transsexual, transgendered and cross-dressing individuals.

Trans-individuals who have transitioned earlier in life and have experienced a significant portion of the adult lifespan as a contra-gendered individual must deal with questions relating to long-term stress, negative life experience, and long-term exposure to hormones that can profoundly affect socio-economic status for the transperson. While this can have numerous immediate effects, it also has long-term effects. For example, alterations of the oral environment, saliva production due to use of estrogen could have potential implications for long-term risk of cardiovascular disease. Persons who undertake gender transition during mid-life or the elder years are more likely than their younger peers to experience difficulties related to physical health status. Ill health, especially cardiac or pulmonary dysfunction, may preclude eligibility for surgical procedures including breast or genital reconstruction. Health care and personal assistance services are more complex for persons who are transgendered than for those who are transsexual and post-operative. Apparent mismatch between genital anatomy and gender of presentation can result in difficulty in obtaining medical services, practical nursing care, or even appropriate funereal arrangements. Many health care personnel consider transgenderism (or transsexualism or cross-dressing) to be evidence of psychiatric pathology, and inappropriate psychiatric referrals may result.

The financial aspects of transsexual and transgender health care are also affected by gender discrimination. Attempts to transition in the work place are at times met with dismissal; only one state and a handful or municipalities provide legal protection from employment discrimination based on gender presentation. This fact is significant in light of the truth that whether women are impoverished by adverse later-life events depends upon their economic resources just prior to the event; and that their financial resources in old age depends very much on their long-term economic status throughout their adult lives. While this has immediate relevance to the problem of financing health care costs, both short- and long-term, it is also pertinent to general long-term lifecycle issues such as housing and retirement.

Although cross-dressing individuals do not usually seek contragender hormonal services, middle-aged and elderly cross-dressing persons often experience difficulty in obtaining appropriate health care services due to privacy concerns. For example, most MTF cross-dressers remove leg and body hair in order to appear as normal women while dressed en femme. The need to seek medical care often forces the dilemma of whether to disclose one’s personal behavior to the physician or other practitioner, or whether instead to attempt to postpone services until the body hair has re-grown. In those cases, in which a chronic illness is present, avoidance of medical care for any length of time can have serious consequences. Situations in which the cross-dressing individual requires emergency (cardiac, for example) or long-term care (nursing home, rehabilitative care, for example) can be problematic for similar reasons.

Psychosocial issues pervade the life of a transgender-identified individual. Normative aging dynamics include decline of social responsibilities, end of child-rearing, reduced income due to retirement, normative deterioration of physical strength and health and a decline in social networks. These factors are magnified for trans-identified individuals as they risk loss of economic status, loss of access to qualified services – health care and other – and frequently see a decrease in the social support networks including loss of friends, family, significant others and as well as access to religious and spiritual organizations. Moreover, all of the negatives are further exacerbated by the stigma associated with being a transperson of color, race, ethnicity, immigrant and/or disability or having HIV/AIDS status. Caregivers must be acutely aware of the impact of these factors as related to increased depression, anxiety, alcohol/drug/substance abuse, suicidality and other related mental health issues, all of which are common in “normative” elders. Family relationships may be altered following the older person's “coming out” with regard to his or her gender identity. Family dynamics change as transgendered parents must now be taken care of by their children. Issues of elder maltreatment, abuse, neglect and self-neglect must be carefully monitored.

Public health officials and practitioners can best assist older transsexual, transgendered and cross-dressing clients by providing them with information regarding the importance of routine health care (including preventive services), arranging referrals to providers who are empathic and supportive to members of the gender community, and educating others involved in the clients’ care with respect to the realities of human gender diversity. In addition, facilitation of support group formation for older members of the gender community, education of leaders of existing groups and specific inclusion of transgendered persons in visible roles within retirement communities, health center sponsored programs and other service networks, may positively impact quality of life within the gender community.

Public health and social policy development on behalf of both the transgendered elder (including the assurance of nondiscrimination with regard to quality health care services, privacy, confidentiality, respectful treatment and care-giving, and personal safety) is also strongly needed. In addition, violence against members of the gender community shares many similarities with violence against genetic women, anti-homosexual (and other hate crime) attacks, and family violence which occurs when a child (or other family member) is “different.” It is often complicated by a lack of access to routine health care services and by inadequate response when victimization occurs. In addition, the current lack of comprehensive information about this aspect of family and social violence presents additional barriers to the design and implementation of both preventive and recovery services in this community. If society and the Public Health community is to respond adequately to the problem of social violence, and if the transgender community is to be able to protect itself from violent crime, accurate, scientifically reliable data on violence prevalence is needed, so that the necessary resources can be put in place to help the victims and to punish the perpetrators of violent acts. In order to improve gender-based violence prevention efforts, a better understanding of the etiologies of gender (and transgender) related violence must be obtained.

References

Institute of Medicine. (2003). Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Lombardi, E.L., Wilchins, R.A., Priestling, D., Malouf, D. (2001). Gender violence: transgender experiences with violence and discrimination. J. Homosexuality, 42(1): 89-101.

Witten, T.M. & Eyler, A.E. (1999). Hate crimes and violence against the transgendered, Peace Review, 11#3 (1999) 461-468.

Witten, T.M. (2002). Geriatric care and management issues for the transgender and intersex populations. Geriatric Care and Management Journal, 12(3): 20 – 24.

Witten, T.M. (2003). Transgender aging: An emerging population and an emerging need. Review Sexologies, XII (4): 15-20.

Witten, T.M. and Eyler, A.E. (2004). Healthcare Issues: Transsexuals, Transgenders, and Cross-Dressers. Healthcare and Aging, 11 (1): 4-5.

Witten, T.M. (2004). Aging and Gender Diversity. Social Work Today, 4 (4): 28-31

Witten, T.M. (2004). Life course analysis: The courage to search for something more: Middle adulthood issues in the transgender and intersex community. J. Human Behavior in a Social Environment. 8 (3-4), 189-224.

Witten, T.M. and Whittle, S.P. (2004). TransPanthers: The graying of transgender and the law. The Deakin Law Review, 9 (2): 503-522. Also available at http://www.deakinlawreview.org/currentIssue.php

All of the above papers are available as free pdf downloads at the TranScience Research Institute website http://www.transcience.org in the Research Archives section. The author can be contacted at twitten@vcu.edu. If you are interested in participating in the ongoing longitudinal research effort in support of transgender aging (as either a study participant or collaborator) or know of someone who might be, please contact the author for further details.

Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Rehab Outcomes

Boston University announces the availability of Post-Doctoral Fellowships in Rehabilitation Outcomes Research.

Funded by the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the BU Post-Doctoral Fellowship provides an interdisciplinary training and mentorship experience for rehabilitation professionals.

Application packets must contain the following information:

  • Curriculum Vitae specifying contact information, educational background, professional and research experience.
  • Brief narrative statement of career goals and reasons for seeking fellowship.
  •  Rehabilitation Effectiveness & Outcomes Research interest areas.
  • Publications history to date and a copy of one professional writing sample.
  • Three academic or professional letters of reference.

Fellowships will be for a 12 month duration. Each fellow will receive: a $36,000 annual stipend, individual health insurance coverage, tuition stipend, and professional travel allowance.

For additional information, please visit our Web site at http://www.bu.edu/hdr or contact Fran Weidman-Dahl, BU Fellowship Coordinator: fwdahl@bu.edu
HEALTH and DISABILITY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
53 BAY STATE RD
BOSTON, MA 02215
Tel: (617) 353- 3277 Fax: (617) 358- 1355 TTY: (617) 358-1356



Related Files:
Postdoctoral Fellowships in Rehab Outcomes

Notes from the Editor

With the changing of the guard at GHS (see Bob Burke’s statement as incoming chair), the Newsletter gets a new editor. My first task is to thank Donna Cox for stewarding the Newsletter before me so well. My second task is to thank Steve Wallace for getting me up to speed. And my third task is to thank Sharon McCarthy at APHA and Carmen Hayes from my own department in helping prepare the Newsletter.

That said, I am free to make a request of the wonderful recipients of this Newsletter. I need your submissions. You will see that this issue carries essays and announcements. It is always important to post “good and welfare” announcements: news of moves, awards, publications, fellowships, and the like. But we underutilize this medium if we limit ourselves to such use. I would like to see more essays, brief book reviews, abstracts, calls for collaboration, and other efforts that promote our goal of increasing the visibility of aging as a topic for public health research and advocacy.

To that end, for the next issue, I would like you to think about the major challenges in public health and aging. What do you consider the major challenges? Send me your top five, rank ordered. I will collate and report results in this next issue. Let’s see how much consensus there is (and yes, I have a comparison in mind). Thanks to Steve Wallace for suggesting this effort.

Announcements

NEW PUBLICATIONS

"The State of 50+ America 2006," by Laurel Beedon, Lisa Southworth. and John Gist (Research Report, January 2006, .pdf format, 56p.) http://www.aarp.org/research/economy/trends/fifty_plus_2006.html

U.S. NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS REPORT: "Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2004" (Vital and Health Statistics Series 10, No. 228, December 2005, .pdf format, 281p.). Note: This is a provisional report. It will be replaced with a final version. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_228.pdf

Nina Silverstein and I have a new book, "Improving Hospital Care for People with Dementia." It is targeted to nurses, physicians, social workers, hospital administrators, and health policy researchers and analysts. It includes chapters written by health care professionals, researchers, and advocates, and it is intended to increase understanding of current practices and problems in hospital care for people with dementia and to describe some promising approaches for improving care and outcomes. It is: Improving Hospital Care for People with Dementia. (N. Silverstein and K. Maslow, eds.) (New York, N.Y.: Springer Publishing Co., 2006)

TRAINING & EDUCATION SCAN Health Plan® in collaboration with the California Geriatric Education Center and the UCLA Academic Geriatric Resource Center, is presenting Geriatric Medicine Leadership Training, a two day highly interactive and intensive conference on leadership, management and mentoring skills for physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and other health professionals with an interest in geriatrics, internal medicine, family medicine, and long-term care services in either academic or clinical settings. The conference is March 24-25, 2006 in Marina del Rey, Calif. A brochure may be accessed at http://www.geronet.ucla.edu/centers/agrc/GMLT_Brochure_2006.pdf. For further information, please contact Ms. Denise Gutierrez at (310) 312-0531 or dgutierrez@mednet.ucla.edu.

RAND is pleased to announce the 13th annual RAND Summer Institute (RSI). RSI consists of two annual conferences that address critical issues facing our aging population. The MiniMedical School for Social Scientists will be held on July 12-13, and the Demography, Economics, and Epidemiology of Aging conference on July 14-15, 2006. Both conferences will convene at the RAND Corporation headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif. Fill in the application now. (Qualified applicants must hold a PhD or have completed two years of a PhD program and be actively working on a dissertation. Only applicants working in the field of aging ¬ or actively considering this research field ¬ will be considered) ¬ deadline is March 15, 2006. The conferences are sponsored by the National Institute on Aging and the NIH-wide Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research.

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS The APHA Gerontological Health Section offers a number of awards, including student research awards. Prizes include a year's membership in APHA, free annual meeting registration, and $500-$1,000 cash! This year's annual meeting is in Boston; any APHA member can submit. Be sure to mark your APHA abstract submission for award consideration (due in just a few weeks). For more details about the awards go to: http://www.ph.ucla.edu/ghsnet/Call_For_Abstracts_2006_New.htm.pdf. To submit abstracts go to: http://apha.confex.com/apha/134am/oasys.epl.

Abstract submission is now open for the 2006 APHA Annual Meeting. We would like to share with you opportunities with the APHA's Gerontological Health Section. In addition to acceptance of abstracts for scientific and practice-based sessions, APHA's Gerontological Health Section has a variety of awards for researchers and practitioners at all career stages! The Gerontological Health Section offers special AWARDS in several categories: 1) to bachelors/masters students 2) to doctoral students 3) to new investigators (less than five years after completion of a terminal degree) 4) to the best paper on "aging and international research and policy development" 5) to the best paper on "older women and public health" 6) to the best paper on "aging and rural health" 7) to the best paper on "aging and minority health" 8) to the "most innovative program for the elderly" If you wish your abstract to be considered for an award (except for the program innovation award) please indicate so on the abstract submission form.

For submission for the program innovation award, please contact llstorms@ucla.edu . Each abstract can be considered only for one award. You may, however, submit different abstracts to be considered for different awards. The deadline for abstract submission is Feb.16, 2006. To submit an abstract to GHS or to learn more about the abstract submission process: http://apha.confex.com/apha/134am/gh.htm Follow this link to learn more about GHS, to access the call for abstracts, or for more information on the awards. http://www.ph.ucla.edu/ghsnet/.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to e-mail Rachel Seymour (rseymo1@uic.edu) or Kathy Sykes (Sykes.Kathy@epa.gov)

ALMOST HOME BROADCAST
Almost Home-Broadcast Premiere-Feb. 21, 2006 at 10 p.m. ET on PBS
Shot on location in a nursing home, ALMOST HOME tells real stories of aging: couples bonded and divided by disability, children torn between caring for their aging parents and their own families, attendants doing unsavory work for poverty wages and a visionary nursing home director committed to changes that could shuck the nursing home stigma. This e-mail is to let you know that ALMOST HOME has been rescheduled for Tues., Feb. 21, 2006 at 10 pm ET on PBS' Independent Lens Series (check local listings at http://itvs.org/shows/broadcast.htm?showID-1055) due to an unexpected conflict with President Bush's State of the Union address that falls on Jan. 31--the original broadcast date. Also, please know that DVDs of ALMOST HOME and clips from the program may still be obtained free of charge for educators and others in the aging field, while supplies last, by contacting Lauren Burke, laburke@uwm.edu. Please help us spread the word by forwarding this information. Darla Minnich, Program Manager, Grantmakers In Aging, (937) 435-3156, dminnich@GIAging.org

MEMBERSHIP The American Public Health Association's Gerontological Health Section is concerned with the health of and services for older adults. Gerontological Health is a relatively small section: there are plenty of leadership opportunities, as well as direct contact, networking, and friendly interaction with gerontological scholars, practitioners, advocates, and policy-makers nationwide. Gerontological Health Section is among the most active in APHA. In addition to scholarship and practice, our members are active in advocating for promoting the health and improved health care of older adults. Plus, we like to have fun, especially when we gather at the annual meetings where we have a great fundraiser/auction combined with a great reception.

If you aren't already, we would like to invite you to join the Gerontological Health Section. You can join our section by simply reply to me (Gerontological Health Section Membership Committee Chair) at rgoins@hsc.wvu.edu . In your message, please provide your full name. For more information about our Section, you can visit our Web site at http://www.ph.ucla.edu/ghsnet  or contact Section Chair Bob Burke, PhD, at hsmreb@gwumc.edu .

In December 2005, an announcement was made that Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM) had been selected as a Distinguished Public Health Legislator of the Year for 2005 by APHA for his lead in the Medicaid reform debates. What a fine choice! I had the great pleasure of working with Senator Bingaman and staff as the John Heinz Senate Fellow in Aging for 2004-2005. The fellowship and the work in the Bingaman office provided an opportunity to blend hands-on policy experience with practice, research, and education within the gerontology community. Public health professionals are vital to the formulation of aging and health policy. Mid-career is a perfect time to pursue this type of an opportunity. I encourage other APHA members to apply for the Heinz Fellowship. For details, visit  http://www.hfp.heinz.org/programs/senate_03.html. Best Regards, Nancy L. Falk, BSN, MBA Doctoral Student, George Mason University College of Nursing and Health Science

HELP NEEDED We are looking for someone who would be interested in doing a project involving wellness programs for the workplace. We have all of the pieces of the puzzle except the administration of the program. We actually are working with a board called RCS, a group of research doctors working on the relationship between wellness and chiropractic. Please contact: Mimi Sutherland, RN, MPH, msutherland@edww.com.

OPPORTUNITIES Greetings GH Section Leadership: You have an opportunity to shape the Gerontological Health Annual Meeting program by participating as a reviewer. As a reviewer you also have the opportunity to recommend abstract submitters for one of the eight awards that our Section makes each year. Many of you whom have participated over the years. For those of you who haven't, this is terrific opportunity not to be missed. The abstract review process will occur during the month of March. I would like to invite anyone who has not already agreed to review abstracts for the 2006 reviewer to let Rachel Seymour and me know by Feb. 17. Gerontology Health Section Program Co-Chairs Kathy Sykes, Senior Advisor, Aging Initiative Office of Children's Health Protection US EPA (Mail Code 1107A) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Room 2512N (Ariel Rios North) Washington, D.C. 20460, (202) 564-3651, FAX (202) 564-2733, http://www.epa.gov/aging,  Rachel Seymour, PhD, Center for Research on Health and Aging Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois Chicago, (828) 478-2213 .

AWARDS & SUCCESS Marcia Ory just received an Award for Excellence in Research at the School of Rural Public Health, given at the The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center Convocation, celebrating Pathways to Excellence 2015. January 24, 2006. College Station, TX. Note New Office Address (as of January 2006) Marcia G. Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H. Professor, Social and Behavioral Health Director, Active for Life National Program Office School of Rural Public Health 1266 TAMU College Station, TX 77843-1266 Phone: (979) 458-1373, E-mail: mory@srph.tamhsc.edu,  Active for Life: e-mail: activeforlife@srph.tamhsc.edu, Web: http://www.activeforlife.info,  Health Maintenance Consortium Web: http://hmcrc.srph.tamhsc.edu .

AUCTION IN PHILLY A BIG SUCCESS!!!
The GHS Auction/Raffle raised over $4,500 to benefit Hurracane Katrina Relief (a check to the CDC Foundation), and the Weiler Leadership, Cleckley Minority, and GHS Rural Health Awards. Many thanks to the bidders and donors! Faye Wong, Past APHA President, did a creditable job as "celebrity" auctioneer. APHA President-elect Debbie Klein Walker attended and was the successful bidder on several pieces of fine Steuben Glass. Our Auction/Raffle in Boston will have a "historic" and "seafaring" theme. I already have several items of JFK lineage as well as some good silver and art glass/art pottery. If you have donations, or would like to work at the auction, please contact me at GMEggert@Aol.com .

Gerry Eggert Catherine Hawes, PhD and Charles D. Phillips, PhD, MPH of the School of Rural Public Health at Texas A&M were awarded the Public Service Award at the National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reform's 35th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The award was in recognition of their research on quality of care for vulnerable individuals and their commitment to and support of citizen advocacy in long-term care.

Catherine Hawes, PhD, at the School of Rural Public Heatlh at Texas A&M was awarded a grant from the National Institute of Justice in the U.S. Department of Justice to support an inquiry into how reports of elder abuse are handled in different states.

Charles D. Phillips, PhD, MPH at the School of Rural Public Health was awarded a contract from the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services to develop an assessment tool for use with individuals receiving Medicaid personal care services and to develop a system for allocating hours of service to these consumers.

Patricia C. Heyn, PhD, was recently recognized as the "American Federation for Medical Research Scholar on Aging Award Winner." Patricia C. Heyn, PhD, Division of Geriatric Medicine/School of Medicine University of Colorado Health Sciences Center 303-315-5278 (office) 303-315-8669 (fax) Patricia.Heyn@UCHSC.edu.  

In March, Bob Binstock will be receiving the Hall of Fame Award from the American Society on Aging, for a person “who has, through a lifetime of advocacy and leadership, enhanced the lives of older people.” My sixth edition of the Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences, co-edited with Linda K. George of Duke University, was published in January. The first edition was published in 1975. Bob Binstock, Professor of Aging, Health, and Society School of Medicine, Room WG-43 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH 44106 phone (216) 368-3717 fax (216) 368-3970.

The Commonwealth Fund and Academy Health Building Bridges: Making a Difference in Long-Term Care 2006 Policy Seminar, which took place on Feb. 8 in Washington, D.C., was a great success. You can view this event as a Kaiser Family Foundation Webcast available at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/healthcast/academyhealth/08feb06 .

EPA Efforts in Aging and Public Health

EPA National Awards Program Opportunity for Smart Growth Achievement The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be accepting nominations for its National Award for Smart Growth Achievement beginning on March 1, 2006. Applications will be accepted through May 1, 2006. The Awards program seeks to recognize public entities, including state governments, and many types of public entities that promote and achieve smart growth and achieve direct or indirect environmental benefits. Smart growth development practices support national environmental goals by preserving open spaces and parkland and protecting critical habitat; improving transportation choices, including walking, biking, and transit, which reduce emissions from cars; promoting brownfields redevelopment; and reducing impervious surfaces; which improves water quality. For more information see http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/awards.htm.

EPA Aging Initiative Publications for Older Adults and their Caregivers
The EPA Aging Initiative has prepared fact sheets and posters for older adults and their caregivers that address environmental health hazards. These materials outline the simple but important steps that can be taken to reduce exposure to environmental hazards and improve the health of older adults. Environmental hazards can contribute to heart disease and stroke. Heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, and stroke, the third, cost the nation billions in health care spending each year and much suffering.

The fact sheet “Environmental Hazards Weigh Heavy on the Heart” describes the environmental hazards that can worsen these diseases, including indoor and outdoor air pollution, smoke from tobacco, household products, extreme heat, and lead and arsenic in drinking water. Steps that older adults can take to limit their exposure or the exposure of loved ones are included in the fact sheet.

More than two million Americans age 65 and older have asthma. Eleven million Americans, many of them over age 65, live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. This fact sheet and poster entitled “Age Healthier, Breathe Easier” outline simple steps that older adults with these respiratory diseases can take to reduce and control the frequency of their symptoms.

During an average summer, approximately 1,500 people die from excessive heat events in the United Sates. Most victims are 65 and older. The fact sheet “It’s Too Darn Hot: Planning for Excessive Heat Events” discusses ways for older adults to reduce exposure to excessive heat and measures that local governments can take to plan and respond to excessive heat events. A “Beat the Heat” poster is also available that outlines eight simple steps that older adults can take to save lives and reduce their risk to extreme heat.

Older adults who may be more susceptible to the effects of pesticide exposure can also play an important role in keeping grandchildren safe from pesticides. The “Effective Control of Household Pests” fact sheet discusses responsible pesticide use across generations.

Older adults are considered especially vulnerable to waterborne contaminants. Persons living with HIV and those with compromised immune systems are also at greater risk. The fact sheet “Water Works” addresses dehydration, microbes in drinking water and what to do if you can not drink your tap water due to a spill or temporary treatment problem. It also provides resources for protecting private well water.

A purple series of the fact sheets has been prepared for a low literacy audience who read at the 6th grade level. In addition, these fact sheets have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian and Haitian Creole. If you would like copies of or all of the fact sheets described above, you may request copies at aging.info@epa.gov,  or you may download copies at copies at  http://www.epa.gov/aging/resources/factsheets.htm#fs.  To get the latest monthly news, grant opportunities and publications related to environmental health, smart growth and aging, subscribe to the listserv at http://www.epa.gov/aging .