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Six new Roybal Centers for applied gerontology established by National Institute on Aging

October 26, 2004

NIA Press Office | 301-496-1752 | nianews3@mail.nih.gov

The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced the establishment of six new Edward R. Roybal Centers for Research on Applied Gerontology. The Centers—at Indiana University, Princeton University, Stanford University, RAND, and the Oregon Health and Sciences University—will join the four existing Roybal Centers to conduct research on patient management, well-being, how to forecast the effects of medical breakthroughs, the effects of policy on the decisions people make medically and economically, and new ways to use technology to measure and provide health care.

Authorized by Congress in 1993 and named for former House Select Committee on Aging Chair Edward R. Roybal, the Centers are designed to move promising social and behavioral basic research findings out of the laboratory and into programs, practices and policies that will improve the lives of older people and the capacity of society to adapt to societal aging. Established for 5 years, the Centers will receive a total of $1.8 million in funding in their first year.

“Building on a foundation of strong basic findings, this new group of Roybal Centers has the potential to develop highly innovative and practical solutions for a number of very real and pressing problems. These include how to help make better medical and health-related decisions and to develop a more accurate measure of quality of life that could be used to measure the impact of clinical interventions on people’s well-being,” said Richard Suzman, Ph.D., Associate Director of the NIA for Behavioral and Social Research.

The Centers, principal investigator, and focus are: Indiana University, Christopher M. Callahan, M.D. – Selected for its extensive expertise in geriatric medicine, the University of Indiana Center will develop tools for patient management, with a focus on physician and patient interaction.

  • Princeton University, Daniel Kahneman, Ph.D. – Princeton will examine well-being by developing methods introduced by Nobel Laureate Kahneman on introducing important psychological and social components to measure well-being on a more effective basis than traditional approaches.
  • Stanford University, Alan Garber, Ph.D., M.D. – The Stanford Roybal Center will apply an emerging interest in better “emotional regulation” with increasing age to the choices people make when encountering medical and health-related decisions.
  • RAND Institute, Dana Goldman, Ph.D. – Goldman’s group will study ways to forecast the effects of medical breakthroughs on behaviors and decisions related to public and private health expenditures. The Center will see how surveys on these issues might be conducted by using the Internet.
  • RAND Institute, Arie Kapteyn, Ph.D. – This second RAND Center, established at a different research group than Goldman’s with funds largely from the NIH’s Office for Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR), will develop Internet tools to examine the economic decisions older people make based on their ability to understand risks and probability of events.
  • Oregon Health Sciences University, Jeffrey Kaye, M.D. – Using new technologies and input from academics, health providers, and community and industry leaders, Oregon will develop a unique senior community from the ground up, one in which the activities within this community can be studied unobtrusively to examine the well-being of older people as they age.

The Roybal Centers are part of NIA’s Behavioral and Social Research Program, which, along with basic biological and clinical research, addresses issues affecting the health and well-being of older people and their families. More information on these programs, as well as consumer-oriented publications on healthy aging, can be found on the NIA’s web site www.nia.nih.gov or by calling 1-800-222-2225. The NIA leads the federal effort in supporting and conducting basic and clinical research on aging and the special needs of older people.

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