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Aging and diversity Program
One of the greatest challenges facing America today is adequately addressing the needs and health care demands of a growing and increasingly diverse aging population. Between 2010 and 2030, the White population age 65 and older is projected to increase by 59%, compared to 160% for older minorities.1 A closing of the gender gap in life expectancy is also projected, with the gap closing from 5.8 years in 2006 to 4.0 years in 2050 and 3.6 years by 2075.2 Additionally, more than 60% of older adults age 65 and older will manage more than one chronic condition by 2030.3 These demographics changes will bring both additional opportunities and challenges to the nation. As our society becomes more diverse in later life, we have the opportunity to learn about aging processes, needs, and outcomes from a wider range of people from diverse settings, cultures, and pathways through the aging process. Challenges will be faced as the aging population increases to include more minority elders, older men, and older people living with multiple chronic and complex diseases. However, through anticipatory action, researchers and health professionals may be better prepared to face and overcome any challenges presented.
The mission of the Aging and Diversity Program is to educate, conduct research with, and provide valuable resources to older individuals, caregivers, and families from diverse groups across North Carolina and the nation. The Program acknowledges numerous forms of diversity (e.g., racial/ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, cultural, religious, and geographical) and works to address each in its activities. Research efforts that seek to reduce and/or eliminate health disparities including cancer, dementia, and stroke are an integral part of this Program. In addition, the Program works to further the science of recruitment and targets scientific efforts to develop and implement successful recruitment and retention methods and strategies for inclusion of diverse populations in research studies. Our commitment to diversity also includes dissemination of research findings and educational materials across regions representing the most medically underserved populations in the state. Participating counties include Bertie, Hertford, Caswell, Jones, Craven, Pitt, Greene, Durham, Guilford, Sampson, and Robeson, to name a few.
Our research projects and community-based efforts have been overwhelmingly beneficial for individuals living in rural and underserved areas, those with limited access to health resources regardless of insurance availability, and individuals with compromised health literacy. With continued research efforts dedicated to improving the lives of older adults of diverse populations, the Aging and Diversity Program will continue to have a vital impact on reducing and eliminating health disparities in North Carolina and beyond.
Sharon Williams, Program Lead
Peggye Dilworth-Anderson, Program Co-Lead
Institute on Aging
720 Martin Luther King Blvd., CB #1030
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1030
phone 919-966-9444 | fax 919-966-0510
This page was last modified on: Wednesday, 14-Dec-2011 17:46:46 EST 12/13/11