UM Doctors Contribute to National Effort to Improve Health and Lifestyles for the Aging

A multidisciplinary team of doctors and researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has played an integral role in a White House-led initiative to improve the quality of life and health for aging populations throughout the U.S.

For several months leading up to the recent White House Conference on Aging, experts from UM’s Departments of Public Health Sciences and Medicine and the Miami VA Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) have worked as part of the National Committee on Aging to identify the medical needs and health care issues facing seniors, as well as devise solutions and methods of implementation for assistance programs, outreach services and research studies. The committee’s work focused on areas such as health care policy, healthy aging, physical activity, and preventive services.

The July 13 conference was held in Washington. President Barack Obama and other top government officials spoke on the importance of improving the lives of seniors through health care. Aimed to address the demographic shift occurring among seniors in the United States, the event was also attended by health providers, researchers, government staff, caregivers, advocates, community leaders and experts in the aging field.

“Health care providers, scientists and public health experts, have come together to promote what needs to be done to seek good quality of life for the aging population,” said Hermes Jose Florez, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and public health sciences and Chief of the Divisions of Geriatrics and Epidemiology.

As part of the committee’s year-long initiative, UM participants have provided their expertise on the health benefits of physical activity and weight reduction, diabetes prevention, walkable communities, and culturalized health care for diverse populations.

The Miller School’s multidisciplinary approach to targeting the physical and mental health of seniors has led to a number of novel treatments and research studies to promote healthier aging among near 25,000 residents across South Florida.

“Our collective efforts can lead to better health care for the senior community, especially in South Florida where the different cultural issues can be challenging,” said Florez, who also serves as the Director of the GRECC at the Miami VA Healthcare System. “Our team across the Departments of Medicine and Public Health Sciences have also trained students, residents and fellows, so that future health care providers are more sensitive to needs of the aging population.”

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