University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: SPH Center Receives $3.75 Million CDC Grant for Healthy Aging Research

SPH Center Receives $3.75 Million CDC Grant for Healthy Aging Research

06/10/2014
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week awarded a five-year, $3.75 million grant to the Health Promotion Research Center (HPRC) in the University of Washington's School of Public Health to continue its research on healthy aging.

HPRC Director Dr. Jeff Harris will lead a new core research project during this funding cycle. "Older adults are much more likely to participate in a community-based program like EnhanceFitness if it is recommended by their physician or another health care provider," said Harris. "So, we will be conducting research with physical therapists and primary care providers to learn about effective means of increasing recommendations to a program like EnhanceFitness."

EnhanceFitness, a group-exercise programs for older adults, serves more than 40,000 Americans through Senior Services, the YMCA, and other sponsoring organizations. The program was recently shown to not only improve physical health and social well-being, but also to save $945 per year in medical costs per participant in the first year of enrollment. Federal funds from CDC will support scaling up the EnhanceFitness program to serve thousands more in communities throughout the US.

With the number of Americans age 55 and older—now more than 75 million—likely to increase by half in the next 15 years, increasing access to programs shown to support healthy aging is a healthcare priority for lawmakers. "I applaud the CDC for their continued investment in the Health Promotion Research Center," states Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash."This critical funding will help the HPRC continue their invaluable research to promote the health of older adults in Washington state and across the country."

The previous 5-year CDC award enabled HPRC to bring more than $20 million into Washington state to conduct research on topics ranging from cancer screening techniques to physical activity assessment and employee health. This new grant will allow the center to continue and expand on more than 40 ongoing research projects aimed at improving the health of older Americans.

HPRC is one of 26 Prevention Research Centers in the US, established by CDC in the 1980s to conduct community-based research that results in public health practice and policy. "Preventing chronic disease is critical to improving our nation's well-being and avoiding excessive health care costs," said Wayne Giles, MD, MS, director of CDC's Division of Population Health. "Our investment in the Prevention Research Centers moves us closer to ensuring all Americans share the richness of good health."