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Research and Publications

The Institute on Aging faculty is composed of a multidisciplinary group of nationally and internationally recognized scholars. Substantive and theoretical perspectives are represented from such social science disciplines as psychology, sociology, political science, urban studies, economics, social work, speech communication, and public administration.

Here is a sampling of some of the research currently happening at the Institute on Aging.

Community-University Partnerships that Matter

IOA studies older persons’ transportation needs and associated costs for the Oregon Department of Transportation. (Dr. Margaret Neal, in partnership with Professor Jennifer Dill)

Environmental Matters
An initiative to study the effects of newly constructed “green streets”. Specifically, to evaluate the effects of green streets on the physical and mental health of older and younger adults, as well  as the environmental and economic impacts. Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. (Dr. Margaret Neal with Professor Jennifer Dill)

Health Matters
Funded by the National Institute on Aging, a new study entitled Health Behavior Trajectories Following Chronic Illness in Mid to Late Life will investigate how adults make changes in their physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and diet after the diagnosis of a chronic health condition.(Dr. Jason Newsom)

International Matters
IOA conducts policy and planning research on topics such as livable communities (through the World Health Organization’s Age Friendly Cities Project) and with Keren Brown-Wilson, PhD, on the health service needs of elders in developing countries such as Nicaragua (in partnership with Global Aging Partners). (Dr. Margaret Neal)

Long-Term Care matters
IOA evaluates programs designed to improve long-term care, studying what works to improve life for both workers and residents of assisted living and nursing facilities. Research has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Northwest Health Foundation, and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. (Dr. Diana White)

IOA studies the living arrangements of older persons, spending time in assisted living and dementia care facilities to learn how medications are managed on behalf of frail older persons. Research is funded by the Oregon Partners for Alzheimer’s Research. (Dr. Paula Carder)

Service Learning Matters
Global Aging and Health: Enhancing Communities in Nicaragua takes students to Nicaragua to build local capacity for improving the quality of life for older adults.

Creating Livable Communities for an Aging Society is a service-learning project based on the WHO Age-Friendly Cities effort to improve neighborhood livability in Portland.

Student Research Matters
Students at IOA study how housing developers create affordable and environmentally sustainable senior housing. (Alan DeLaTorre, doctoral candidate)

They also study the effect of work-based training on direct care workers’ job satisfaction. (Cynthia Lopez, graduate student)

In addition, IOA students show neighborhood-based social networks affect the quality of older persons’ lives. (Gretchen Luhr, doctoral student)

They study how direct care workers use humor to improve the care of persons with dementia who reside in assisted living facilities. (Ann McQueen, doctoral student)

IOA students study intentional communities for elders who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. (Kathleen Sullivan, doctoral candidate)

And they study state policy responses to manufactured home closures in Oregon. Mobile homes are an important form of affordable housing for many older persons. (Andree Tremoulet, PhD)