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NIA funds centers to study demography of aging

Three new centers named



February 2, 2010

Barbara Cire | 301-496-1752 | nianews3@mail.nih.gov



The National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced that it has committed more than $36.7 million over the next five years to support and expand its Centers on the Demography and Economics of Aging. The Centers form a network of universities and organizations leading innovative studies on the characteristics of the aging population. The awards, which include some support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, renewed support for 11 Centers and established three new ones.

“The NIA Demography Centers have been instrumental in constructing and maintaining critical databases, attracting and developing scholars, establishing international and interdisciplinary networks and informing public policy,” said NIA Director Richard J. Hodes, M.D. “The Centers provide an important infrastructure for promoting research in the areas of health, demographics, economics and population aging.”

Each NIA Demography Center has its own set of disciplinary specializations, although research conducted at the different Centers is often interrelated. All Centers investigate aspects of health and health care, the societal impact of population aging and the economic and social circumstances of older people. Many Centers also conduct research on global aging and cross-national comparisons, and several are pioneering work on the biodemography of aging, investigating the relationships among biology and genetics, health and mortality and life expectancy.

“The NIA Demography Centers have played a key role in helping create the new fields of demography and economics of aging, and are crucial to understanding population aging in America and around the world,” said Richard Suzman, Ph.D., director of NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research, which funds the Centers. “Population dynamics, economics, health and societal programs such as Medicare and Social Security all affect the well-being of older people. By combining and relating these factors to each other, the Centers have provided significant new insights that are highly relevant to policy makers.”

The three new Centers, their principal investigators and research emphasis are:

  • Center on the Demography of Aging, Duke University. James W. Vaupel, Ph.D. Research focus: Biodemography.
  • Hopkins Center for Population Aging and Health, Johns Hopkins University (supported with Recovery Act funds). Emily Agree, Ph.D. Research focus: Disability, intergenerational support.
  • Center for Aging and Policy Studies, Syracuse University. Douglas Wolf, Ph.D. Research focus: Behavioral responses to aging, public policy, gerontology education.

The 11 Centers renewed for funding, their principal investigators and research emphasis are:

  • Center on the Economics and Demography of Aging, University of California, Berkeley. Ron Lee, Ph.D. Research focus: Forecasting, lifespan, intergenerational transfers.
  • Center on the Demography and Economics of Aging, University of Chicago and National Opinion Research Center. Linda Waite, Ph.D. Research focus: social relationships, family, biological measures.
  • Center for the Global Demography of Aging, Harvard University. David Bloom, Ph.D. Research focus: Aging, health, developing world.
  • Center on the Demography of Aging, University of Michigan. John Bound, Ph.D. Research focus: Health, retirement, survey data.
  • Center for Aging and Health Research, National Bureau of Economic Research (supported in part with Recovery Act funds). David Wise, Ph.D. Research focus: Financial status, aging around the world, behavioral economics.
  • Center on the Demography of Aging, University of Pennsylvania. Beth J. Soldo, Ph.D. Research focus: Mortality, retirement, international comparisons.
  • Center for the Demography and Economics of Aging, Princeton University. Anne Case, Ph.D. Research focus: Socioeconomic status, decision making, global aging.
  • Center for the Study of Aging, Rand Corporation. Michael Hurd, Ph.D. Research focus: Health, economic status, international comparisons.
  • Center on the Demography and Economics of Health and Aging, Stanford University (supported in part with Recovery Act funds). Alan Garber, M.D., Ph.D. Research focus: Cost effectiveness, socioeconomic disparities.
  • Center on Biodemography and Population Health, University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles. Eileen Crimmins, Ph.D. Research focus: Biodemography, health, socioeconomic status.
  • Center for Demography of Health and Aging, University of Wisconsin–Madison. Robert Hauser, Ph.D. Research focus: Midlife development, surveys.

NIA will support one new Center for two years with funds from the Recovery Act, and two renewed Centers will also receive Recovery Act supplementary funds for one year. The NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and Fogarty International Center also provided funding support for the Centers. Additional Recovery Act funding was also provided by the NIH Office of the Director.

The NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the medical, social and behavioral issues of older people. For more information on research and aging, go to www.nia.nih.gov.

The NIH—The Nation's Medical Research Agency—includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Some of the activities described in this release are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. To track the progress of HHS activities funded through the Recovery Act, visit www.hhs.gov/recovery. To track all federal funds provided through the Recovery Act, visit www.recovery.gov.

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