Center on Aging
The Center on Aging is a research, service, and education center at the Medical University of South Carolina. The center was approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education December 3, 1987, giving it the status of the oldest research center at the University. Dr. Lotta Granholm came on board as the fourth director for the center, July 1 of 2001. The Healthy Aging Work Group was instituted by the president of MUSC, Dr. Greenberg, and began its work on a new strategic plan in the beginning of 2002.
The Healthy Aging Work Group has continued to function as the Internal Advisory Committee for the Center on Aging. The hard work of this committee resulted in a revised strategic plan for MUSC, which was approved by the board of directors. The overall vision of the Healthy Aging Work Group was to "establish a plan that addresses MUSC's role in promoting the health, increasing longevity, and improving the quality of life of senior South Carolinians." This can be divided into three principal areas:
- Establish a nationally prominent research program in aging with emphasis on translational research.
- Develop a comprehensive and coordinated system of health care delivery for older individuals.
- Provide health promotion, education, and outreach in aging for faculty, students, practicing health providers and the public.
This strategic plan is a "living document", which is revised every 5 years. The Center on Aging works in synchrony with MUSC's overall strategic plan, and will gain momentum by the obvious general campus-wide engagement and interest in this area. During FY13, the business plan is undergoing a 5-year revision which will be published in the end of February, 2013, after approval by the Executive Committee and the Internal Advisory Committee.
Research funding on age-related topics at MUSC has increased 10-fold during the last 14 years, and NIH funding has remained stable during the last 4 years, despite the reduced funding level at the National Institutes on Aging (NIA). Since Dr. Granholm was appointed Director for the Center on Aging, more than 40 faculty members in the field of age-related research and clinical treatment have been hired by MUSC, increasing presence here in the areas of Stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Movement Disorders, and Geriatrics.
The Center on Aging collaborates closely with several different research programs that are defined by specific areas of research:
- The Movement Disorders Program, Directed by Dr. Vanessa Hinson
- Stroke Program, Directed by Dr. Robert Adams
- Alzheimer Program, Directed by Drs. David Bachman and Jacobo Mintzer
- Center for Biological Imaging, CBI, Directed by Dr. Joseph Helpern
- SC Area Health Education Consortium, AHEC, Directed by Dr. David Garr
- Senior Mentor Program (education program on aging, developed by the Center on Aging), Directed by Dr. Kathy Wiley
- Aging Q3 (medical resident training, Reynolds Foundation), Directed by Dr. William Moran
- Hollings Cancer Center, Directed by Dr. Andrew Kraft
- Exercise and Rehabilitation Program, Directed by Dr. Steve Kautz
Aging Research Day: The CoA has organized Annual Aging Research Days since 2004, with the next conference planned for March 8, 2013 in Charleston, South Carolina. These events have been completely funded through sponsorships and grants, and have grown each year, this past year to encompass more than 50 abstracts and attracting more than 150 participants from different fields of aging research. Since 2007, the Aging Research Day has been co-sponsored by the South Carolina Aging Research Network (www.scarn.org), which is a state-wide research organization on age-related disease and healthy aging.
SCARN: This state-wide network was founded in 2006 and contains two representatives from each of the Health Sciences South Carolina (HSSC) initiative, including: Clemson University, University of South Carolina, Palmetto Health, MUSC University Hospital, MUSC, and Greenville Hospital System. The Center on Aging was one of the founding members of SCARN, and members meet bi-monthly for discussions regarding translational research projects, policy development, and legislation on aging. SCARN sponsors the annual Aging Research Days and provides pilot funding and grant review for researchers in the HSSC institutions. SCARN was recently successful in pushing through a Lone Forgiveness Program for Geriatric Fellows in South Carolina, the first in the country (see http://aging.sc.gov/providers).
Senior Mentor Program: Grant from Duke Foundation, $410,000, Dr. Bachman PI, funded December 2004. This program was launched in January 2006 for all first year medical students and will graduate its 5th graduating class of medical students and Senior Mentors this spring. Since 2010, we have also added an inter-professional component of this course, integrating Pharmacy and Medical students in the Geriatric Pharmacy assignment. The program is now run by the College of Medicine Curriculum Committee, in close collaboration with Center on Aging Staff and Faculty. The recruitment of more than 100 seniors in the community every year, to serve as Senior Mentors, allows a close contact with the community around Charleston and enhances the quality of education for MUSC students.