Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC) 1999 - 2004
The Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center honors the memory of Claude Denson Pepper (1900 - 1989), Florida congressman and career-long advocate for the rights of older adults. He rejected the idea that physical and mental decline were part of normal aging.
In 1991, Congress provided funding sources to the National Institute on Aging to establish special aging research and education centers across the country. These Centers were named for Congressman Pepper since their primary goal reflects his interest in helping older Americans maintain their independence for as long as possible. Pepper Center research supports this goal by working on ways to delay or even prevent chronic diseases that can disable older people and cause them to become dependent on others. As an educational resource, the Pepper Centers also work to educate and encourage older adults, sharing free health promotion information about ways to improve health and better the lives of older adults.
In 1999, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Sealy Center on Aging was awarded a $6.5 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to establish the only Pepper Center serving the Southwest. Since declining function, particularly mobility, is a major contributor to loss of independence, UTMB researchers are studying how muscle building and function change with age. With more than 60 investigators working on Pepper Center intervention development studies (IDS-1 and IDS-2) and pilot projects all across the UTMB campus, the Center will examine cell biology and physiology of muscle tissue and gene regulation of muscle function.