According to a recent news release, the University of California, San Diego has launched a new Center on Healthy Aging and Senior Care; Dilip V. Jeste, MD, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, will serve as the first associate dean for Healthy Aging and Senior Care at the new center. The release designates the appointment as a reflection on the growing interest, research, and need to improve and promote long-term health and well-being of older Americans.

Jeste, a leading scientist and advocate for greater understanding of how Americans age and how to help them do so well and healthfully, states that decades old research once staged aging as “all doom and gloom.” Jeste points out that old age was defined by disease, dementia, disability, and death.

“But I’ve found that aging has an important positive side too. There is, of course, some physical decline and cognitive impairment with aging, but several parts of psychosocial functioning actually improve. In terms of well-being and emotional regulation, as people get older, even if they are more physically impaired, they tend to be more satisfied with life. It’s the paradox of aging, and it’s something that I think we must address, explore, investigate and understand,” Jeste says.

In the release, David Brenner, MD, vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine, notes that the center will help UC San Diego become a local, national, and global leader “in not just clinical care, research and training, but also in innovation and health policy for seniors. And Dr. Jeste is, with his unsurpassed scientific expertise, vision and tireless advocacy in these areas, ideally suited to lead this collaborative effort across the campus.”

Jeste adds that the center will seek to become a major think tank for senior care policy, research and training, developing new evidence-based, personalized and cost-effective healthcare models, and to help train new generations of physicians, pharmacists, and scientists to address specific issues of older adults.

Jeste explains that initially the center will place a primary emphasis on health and healthcare, “but over time I’d like the center to go beyond to other questions about how society prepares itself for rapidly growing numbers of older people—in terms of technologies, finances, housing, transportation and urban planning, for example. We’ll draw upon experts throughout UC San Diego, nationally and internationally.”

Source: UC San Diego Health Sciences