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2017 News Archive

Volunteers Are a Gift as They Prepare Gifts for Seniors

By SCoA News | December 13, 2017

photo of volunteer activities

Senior volunteers from the RSVP Program of Galveston County assisted with this 20-year-old tradition at the Sealy Center on Aging.

SCoA Postdoctoral Fellow Wins Award at SCWD Conference

By SCoA News | December 11, 2017

photo of SCWD Conference 2017

Tatiana Moro, PhD wins the Young Clinical Investigator Award at the Sarcopenia Cachexia and Wasting Disorders (SCWD) 2017 Conference in Rome, Italy. As an international and multidisciplinary organization, the SCWD seeks to further research on cachexia, sarcopenia and muscle wasting in order to bring practical solutions to healthcare teams worldwide.

What they Shared: Memories from the Mexican Health and Aging Study Book Unveiling Event Dec 18 | Now Available Online

By SCoA News | December 4, 2017

photo of MHAS book covers - click to read online

MHAS Book Unveiling Event
Monday, December 18th, 2018
Admin Building Caduceus Room 6.300

"To mark nearly 20 years of the study we produced a coffee table book of photographs and testimonials from the Interviewers of the Mexican Health and Aging Study that highlights what Interviewers and respondents have shared from all around Mexico."

Rebeca Wong, PhD is Principal Investigator of the MHAS at UTMB

UTMB to study new approach for hip fracture recovery
Texas Medical Center News

By SCoA News | November 2, 2017

photo of Dr. Volpi

A multimillion dollar grant could help researchers develop a novel therapeutic for elderly women recovering from hip fractures. UTMB’s Elena Volpi is one of seven principal investigators and part of a consortium of seven universities that received $15.6 million from the National Institute on Aging for the research project. Story also found at Press Release Point and Publicnow.

2017 SCoA Volunteer Luncheon
Appreciation Luncheon

By SCoA News | October 24, 2017

photo of luncheon

The 2017 Annual SCoA Volunteer Luncheon was held at Fisherman's Wharf. SCoA and Pepper investigators explain the clinical trial results to the volunteers and their guests. Top-left photo: Attendees mingle and take their seat for the luncheon. Bottom-left photo: Ms. Rose Daniels speaks about the help she received from SCoA through the clinical trials. (l to r) Dr. Elena Volpi, Ms. Rose Daniels and Dr. Brian Downer. Right photo: Ms. Sherry Keel wins the door prize. (l to r) Ms. Sherry Keel and Dr. Elena Volpi.

SCoA Sponsors Inaugural Ability Resource Group Meeting
Congrats, Ritchie Adoue on appointment by UTMB Diversity Council

By SCoA News | October 23, 2017


The Sealy Center on Aging recently sponsored the first meeting of the Ability Resource Group on October 23, 2017. RSVP Program of Galveston County Director Ritchie Adoue has been appointed as Co-Chair of the Ability Resource Group by the UTMB Diversity Council. The mission of the Ability Resource Group is to help ensure UTMB’s ongoing commitment to diversity, especially concerning individuals with disabilities and allies in providing them with opportunities of inclusion.

Thank you for another successful Forum on Aging at UTMB

By SCoA News | October 20, 2017

group photo

The Annual Forum on Aging at UTMB informs gerontology researchers and the community about aging research at UTMB. This year, sixteen awards were given to students, post-graduate fellows and residents for outstanding work in aging research.

SCoA Supports Harvey Relief
Volunteering a helping hand

By SCoA News | September 22, 2017

photos of volunteers with text "thank you" and Texas map with flag

UTMB staff and volunteers with the RSVP Program of Galveston County, sponsored by the Sealy Center on Aging, have been busy helping with Harvey relief efforts. Groups of volunteers mucked out seniors’ and veterans’ homes in Dickinson; and diaper, food and other donations were collected, sorted and distributed to Dickinson, La Marque and Santa Fe areas.

One of the first people to answer the call for help cleaning up seniors’ homes was David Hileman, administrator for the School of Medicine.

“David really came to the rescue,” said Ritchie Adoue, director of the RSVP senior program. “He has always been a strong supporter of our RSVP program and certainly proved it over the weekend! RSVP leads by example.”  

In addition, staff in the Sealy Center on Aging participated in a cake auction to collect donations for Harvey relief at UTMB.

photos of cakes and auction participants


RSVP Director Appointed as Ability Resource Group Co-Chair
Congrats, Ritchie Adoue on appointment by UTMB Diversity Council

By SCoA News | September 21, 2017

Ritchie Adoue

RSVP Program of Galveston County Director Ritchie Adoue has been appointed as Co-Chair of the Ability Resource Group by the UTMB Diversity Council. The mission of the Ability Resource Group is to help ensure UTMB’s ongoing commitment to diversity, especially concerning individuals with disabilities and allies in providing them with opportunities of inclusion. As a co-chair of this employee resource group (ERG) Ritchie will play in important role in leading efforts to advance a culture of inclusion, especially for individuals with disabilities and allies.

2017 Pepper Pilot Projects
UTMB Pepper Center has funded the following pilot projects:

By SCoA News | September 18, 2017

photo of people exercising with text: Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center 2017 Pilot Project Awardees
  • Rachel Deer, PhD, Rehabilitation Sciences: Validating a Screening Tool for Sarcopenia Using a Model for BIA Analysis
  • Ted Graber, PhD, Rehabilitation Sciences: Aging Skeletal Muscle and Sarcopenia in the Murine Model
  • Mansoo Ko, PhD, Physical Therapy: Initiating Gait with the Non-Paretic Limb Affects Walking Performance in People with Hemiparesis
  • Cynthia Li, PhD, Rehabilitation Sciences: Functional Trajectory and Successful Community Discharge in Older Adults

MD-PhD Student Receives Grant from NIH

By SCoA News | September 18, 2017

Amanda Randolph

Congratulations to Amanda Randolph, student in the MD-PHD Training Program in Health Disparities and Aging for receipt of NIH grant # 1 F30 AG058381-01 for project, “Advanced Glycation End-products, Exercise, and Sarcopenia.”

Mentors of this project include Elena Volpi, MD, PhD (lead mentor), Blake Rasmussen, PhD and Chris Fry, PhD.


The Exercise Antidote
UTMB Collaborates with Institutions Across the U.S. to Study How Physical Activity Benefits the Body

UTMB Academic Enterprise Magazine | PDF | Summer 2017

photo of people exercising

What happens to your body when you work out? UTMB and other institutions around the country are joining forces to find out. UTMB recently received a $6.6 million grant to participate in a national project, the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC), which aims to better understand how physical activity improves health.


21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics
San Francisco, CA, July 23-27, 2017

By SCoA News | August 08, 2017

photo of woman giving presentation

Research investigators from UTMB recently attended the 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics.

The following is a snapshot of the work that was presented.


Influence of Cognitive Impairment on Progressing from Pre-Frailty for Older Mexican Americans, by Downer, B., Al Snih, S., Ottenbacher, K., & Markides, K. S. (Paper)

Unmet Medical and Rehabilitation Needs in Community- Living Older Adults with Stroke in Mexico, by Kumar, A., Downer, B., & Wong R. (Poster)

Does Spousal Loss Predict Cognitive Function? Results From the Mexican Health and Aging Study, by Saenz, J., Downer, B., Garcia, M., & Wong, R. (Poster)

Racial and Ethnic Differences in Cognitive Impairment-Free Life Expectancy in the United States, by Garcia, M., Downer, B., Chiu, C., Saenz, J., Rote, S., & Wong, R. (Presentation)

Reducing Readmissions by Improving Transition of Care, by Michael, T., Raji, M., Villareal, D. & Torres, J. (Presentation)

Dr. Rasmussen and Paddon-Jones on Combating Aging and Muscle Loss: Foods for the muscle bound

Prepared Foods | July 20, 2017

microscopic image

As people age, muscle mass decreases, a process termed Sarcopenia. This can make life more difficult and can increase one's risk of falling a major cause of disability. Several things contribute to Sarcopenia but inadequate protein or calorie intake is a major factor. UTMB's Blake Rasmussen and Doug Paddon-Jones are contributors discussing the importance of nutrition and the need for more research.

Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program
Student Presentations at UTSA

By SCoA News | June 22, 2017

MSTAR students 2017

Two students participated in the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program at SCoA this summer. They gave presentations at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio on June 22, 2017. Edgar Esparza (mentored by Hemalkumar Mehta, PhD), pictured on the bottom left, presented, "Antidiabetic Prescription Drug Trends in the United States from 2007 to 2014." Usama Jazzar (mentored by Stephen B. Williams, MD), pictured on the bottom right, presented, "Population-Based Assessment of the Impact of Psychiatric Illness and Survival Outcomes Following Treatment for Patients with Muscle-Invasive Bladder Cancer."

Dr. Pappadis Accepted to NIA B-W Scholars Programs

By SCoA News | May 18, 2017

Monique Pappadis, PhD, assistant professor in the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences and Fellow/RL5 Scholar of the Sealy Center on Aging, was recently selected to participate in the National Institute on Aging (NIA) Butler-Williams (B-W) Scholars Program, to be held July 31- August 4, 2017. The B-W Scholars Program is an intensive 5-day program geared towards emerging aging researchers and those with limited involvement in research on aging to learn more about research on aging and to further develop their interest in this challenging and important area.

Dr. Pappadis is one of 53 participants selected from among a group of outstanding applicants.

Welcome Sylvia Mejia, PhD to SCoA as Visiting Scholar in WHO/PAHO

By SCoA News | May 1, 2017

SCoA welcomes Dr. Sylvia Mejia as a Visiting Scientist in the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center, working with Dr. Wong on MHAS. Silvia Mejia, PhD joins SCoA for the next year as a Visiting Scientist as part of the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center. She'll be working with Dr. Rebeca Wong on the Mexican Health and Aging (MHAS) Cognitive Aging Ancillary Study. Dr. Mejia is a Professor in the Department of Population Studies at El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, Mexico. With a PhD in Neuroscience, she's looking forward to collaborating with researchers here at UTMB and beyond who are interested in studying cognitive aging.

SCoA Researchers Present at the Population Association of America's Annual Meeting

Population Association of America | April 27-29, 2017

Population Association of America Annual Meeting

Read More: Presentations

Dr. Fry Receives New Investigator Award from the American Physiological Society

By SCoA News | April 24, 2017

photo of Chris Fry, PhD

Chris Fry, PhD, Assistant Professor in Nutrition & Metabolism received, "The American Physiological Society Environmental and Exercise Physiology New Investigator Award" during the Experimental Biology Meeting April 22-26, 2017.

Dr. Downer Receives Best Poster Award at the National Pepper Meeting

By SCoA News | March 24, 2017

photo of Brian Downer, PhD

Brian Downer, PhD, Assistant Professor in Rehab Sciences received the Best Poster Award at the 2017 National Pepper Older American Independence Center Meeting for his work titled, "Cohort Differences in Pre-Frailty and Frailty for Mexican Americans Aged 77 and Older". Co-Authors were Rafael Samper-Ternent, Bret Howrey, Soham Al Snih, Kyriakos Markides, and Ken Ottenbacher. More about the UTMB Pepper Center.

RSVP Poverty Simulation

By SCoA News | March 15, 2017 | Event Brochure Photos

Participants of poverty simulation

The RSVP Senior Volunteer Program at SCoA sponsored a one-day Poverty Simulation event that gave participants the opportunity to experience a month living in poverty. 91 participants signed up to learn more about the obstacles that poor people face in their day-to-day lives. 20 vendors represented various agencies, work places, schools and other services. Participants were expected to earn income, provide for their families and watch over children. Offenders were sent to jail and CPS could remove children.

Overall, 68% of attendees reported an increase in their level of understanding of the circumstances of poverty after participating in the simulation. Some comments included, "I was surprised how fast I jumped into a role of survival" and "I was confused by the places I had to go, the coldness of trying to get help and the desperation I felt".

Thanks to Ritchie Adoue, Program Director for the RSVP program for organizing this event.

Pilot Project Recipient Awarded PCORI Grant for Data Visualization

UTMB Newsroom| March 13, 2017

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute awarded Suresh Bhavnani, PhD and his multidisciplinary team of data scientists and clinicians $525,000 to develop a new visual analytical method which will automatically identify patient subgroups in large datasets such as Medicare data, and test whether those subgroups can help to improve the prediction of hospital readmission in the elderly. Read more at the UTMB Newsroom.

Previously, Dr. Bhavnani was awarded a pilot project from PCOR at UTMB, "How Comorbidities Co-Occur in Readmitted Hip Fracture Patients: From Bipartite Networks to Post-Discharge Planning."

14th Annual Conference

Abundant Living: Nourishing Your Spirit

By SCoA News | March 6-8, 2017 | Conference Brochure Photos

Camp Allen President, George Dehan and Rev. Helen Appleberg

Each year, the Sealy Center on Aging partners with Camp Allen to create an engaging 3-day program that encourages older adults to embrace aging as a spiritual journey and to live the gift of years to the fullest. Participants are invited to learn from geriatricians; enjoy nature walks, cooking, canoeing and more. The 14th annual Abundant Living conference featured presentations by Drs. Goodwin, Volpi and Raji. Attendance increased by 50% this year and participant feedback was very positive. The 2018 conference is scheduled for the last week of February. Abundant Living is supported by the Center for Spirituality of Aging. Thanks to Rev Dr. Helen Appelberg and Bets Anderson, DrPH, FAAN for organizing this successful event.

More about Abundant Living

Muscle mass declines with age. Here's what you can do

LA Times | February 23, 2017

Older adults exercising

A small amount of muscle loss is nearly inevitable with age. While the rate varies quite a bit, studies suggest the average person loses about 1% of muscle every year after about age 50, says Dr. Elena Volpi, director of the Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
This news also reported in The Morning Call.

The 22nd Annual Lefeber Winter Series on Aging

By SCoA News | Tuesday Evenings January 31 through February 28, 2017

Click for more info: UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging presents the 22nd Lefeber Winter Series on Aging.

The Lefeber Winter Series on Aging, now in its 22nd year, features nationally recognized gerontology research educators, basic scientists, clinicians and social scientists. Each speaker presents a lecture on an important aspect of aging research and consults with students, faculty and staff on research topics, grant applications and articles being written for publication. Videos Now Available

Dr. Ottenbacher - 1 of 100 Most Influential People in OT Centennial Celebration

By SCoA News | February 14, 2017

Dr. Ottenbacher has been selected as one of the 100 influential people in occupational therapy's first 100 years by the American Occupational Therapy Association as a part of their centennial celebration.

"Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, has significantly advanced the science of occupational therapy. His research focus is rehabilitation outcomes, with an emphasis on the assessment of change in functional status, disability, frailty, and minority health in older adults." Read more about Dr. Ottenbacher at the OT Centennial website or visit Dr. Ottenbacher's web profile at UTMB.


Getting fit after 55 is easier than you think

By SCoA News | January 15, 2017

Dr. Jim Goodwin

Staying fit after 55 comes with many benefits. UTMB’s Jim Goodwin said one of the best reasons to exercise is that people feel better when they do. “For the last million years as we’ve been evolving, the species has been very active and stayed very active until recently,” Goodwin told The Daily News. Contact UTMB Media Relations for details.


Rafael Samper-Ternent, MD, PhD returns to UTMB

By SCoA News | January 13, 2017

Dr. Samper-Ternent

Rafael Samper-Ternent, MD, PhD earned his MD from Javeriana University in Colombia and then earned his PhD from UTMB in Clinical Sciences. Following the completion of his residency in Geriatrics from Javeriana University in Colombia, he joins UTMB's Division of Geriatrics as an Assistant Professor.

Dr. Samper-Ternent will spend 20% of his time as a physician in the Geriatrics clinic and the remainder devoted to research and collaboration with SCoA investigators. His research interests include working on Hispanic aging resilience and sarcopenia.


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