Founded in 1974, the University of Maryland Center on Aging is an all-university, interdisciplinary institution designed to foster basic, applied and policy research, education and public service in the areas of health promotion, disease prevention and human aging. Philosophically, the Center is dedicated to "healthy and productive" aging. The Center utilizes a multidisciplinary team approach to improve the quality of life and health status of America's elderly population.
Primary objectives of the Center are:
- to conduct interdisciplinary research that will lead to the advancement of knowledge about human aging;
- to stimulate research applications that would permit older people to enjoy a more healthy and productive old age;
- to provide gerontological education, professional and preprofessional in-service training with an interdisciplinary focus;
- to evaluate the current state-of-the-art in health promotion and disease prevention programming for the elderly;
- to promote a deeper understanding of the capacities of older people and an increased recognition of the special needs associated with this growing population;
- to analyze how in-home and community-based care can be used to allow elders to remain in the least restrictive setting for as long as possible;
- to better understand how society will meet the challenge of financing long-term care services for its frail elders;
- to forge links with government agencies, universities and health science centers, research institutes, businesses, professional associations, aging network professionals and elected officials, both within the state and at a national level; and
- to provide an atmosphere for community service with regard to planning, organizing, or evaluating the system of aging service delivery that can lead to a higher quality old age for more Americans.
Center on Aging researchers are involved with many of the health, economic and social policy issues that concern us as we grow older. Among the myriad of issues the Center is focusing intently on are the costs and liabilities of private insurance coverage for long-term care, the problems of older women, the needs of elderly with lifelong disabilities, the accessibility, quality, and efficiency of services to the elderly, and the needs of families providing care to elderly members.
Center faculty serve as expert witnesses before key congressional committees, and provide informal advice to members of the administration and Congress, to the media and to other interested groups. In addition, the Center shares research advances not only with government administrators and policy makers, but also with professionals in the aging network and multi-institutional health care system, private organizations with aging interests, students, and the public.
The metropolitan Washington, DC, area offers a rich environment for research and teaching in geriatrics and gerontology. It is home to the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Administration on Aging, the Health Care Financing Administration, the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Public Health Service, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Library of Congress, and other Washington-based public interest groups and professional associations actively concerned about the aging population. Major research and policy institutions, libraries, and think tanks are located in the area and the Center on Aging at the University of Maryland draws extensively on those resources and opportunities. The proximity of these resources allows the Center to bring a national perspective to research and evaluation work done with state and local governments across the country.