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Health, aging and disability center to hold inaugural symposium


Rerndering of Huff Hall addition
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Architectural rendering of Huff Hall with new north addition that will house the Center for Health, Aging & Disability.

Melissa Mitchell, News Editor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The newly organized Center on Health, Aging and Disability at the University of Illinois will hold its inaugural symposium on April 3 at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana.

The focus of the daylong symposium will be the development of a critical research agenda for the center, which is in the U. of I.’s College of Applied Health Sciences but designed to foster interdisciplinary relationships campus-wide and with colleagues at peer institutions.

The symposium begins at 9 a.m., with a keynote address by Dr. Jack Guralnik of the National Institutes of Health, set for 9:25 a.m. Chief of the National Institute of Aging’s epidemiology and demography section, Guralnik will present an overview of challenges and trends in health, aging and disability.

The symposium’s overall theme is “The Integration of Health, Aging and Disability: A Unique Opportunity for the University of Illinois.” That topic will be explored in panel discussions on research issues related to living with chronic conditions and disability; technology; health and independent living; and healthy communities and well-being.

“As our society continues to face unprecedented demographic shifts, the Center on Health, Aging and Disability will create a future that supports the highest quality of life across the lifespan,” said AHS dean Tanya Gallagher, who also serves as director of the center.

Gallagher said the center, which eventually will be located in a new addition to Huff Hall, will build on the college’s 50-year history of providing “groundbreaking leadership in research, education and public outreach programs related to health, wellness and enhancing the quality of life.”

A key focus of the center will be to identify interdisciplinary themes that bring together teams of researchers from across the university and peer institutions that address critical societal needs. Early themes will include healthy aging, individual empowerment across the lifespan, and independent living and full participation of older adults and persons with disabilities. Ultimately, the center will provide a focal point, support structure and serve as a catalyst for those interdisciplinary efforts.

More information about the symposium, including an agenda and registration instructions symposium, is available online.