OHSU Center for Healthy Aging Gets $1 Million Boost from Federal Government

12/10/99    Portland, Ore.

Government Dollars will Fund Demonstration Project at Center.

Northwest Oregon's elderly population is on the rise. By the year 2003, more than 262,000 people over the age of 65 are expected to call the greater Portland area their home, an 8 percent increase over the next four years. In response to the expanding senior population, the Center for Healthy Aging at Oregon Health Sciences University was created as a national model for elderly health care. The focus of the center is to target health problems in the elderly before they surface. Recently, the federal government contributed $1 million through a spending bill to fund a two-year demonstration project at the newly formed center.

Researchers hope to enroll as many as 1,000 elderly patients during the demonstration period. The project will offer a unique form of outreach to participants using the latest technology. Web conferencing through personal computers will allow for two-way, real-time communication between patients and health care providers. Participants also will receive health advice and coaching by telephone and in person from nurses with specialized training. When needed, transportation to and from health care providers also will be available.

Participating patients will receive important information on injury and disease prevention, and positive health behaviors. Researchers will track the success of the demonstration project by monitoring inpatient hospitalization for participants compared with inpatient hospitalization for the general Medicare population in the Northwest. Scientists will also track the overall health and satisfaction levels of patients participating in the program through the number of participants who renew their membership with the center.

The Center for Healthy Aging at OHSU is a premier institute providing vision, leadership and coordination of resources for the Northwest's elderly population. Unlike many elderly health care centers across the country, the Center for Healthy Aging focuses on preventive medicine rather than treatment following illness.

Overall, the Center for Healthy Aging has three major goals:

  • Primary care - The center will offer specialized health care services for the elderly population, incorporating the latest technology and specially trained staff. 
  • Research - Physicians, nurses and scientists at the center are studying chronic, age-related illness and disability as well as basic factors that lead to healthy aging.
  • Education - The center features programs aimed at educating the public, health care providers and policy makers on geriatrics issues related to aging, including positive health behaviors; and prevention of injury and disease.