• Welcome to the Sealy Center on Aging
  • 20th Annual Forum on Aging
  • UTMB's Sealy Center on Aging presents the 21st Lefeber Winter Series on Aging. Videos are now available.
  • Planning a career in Geriatrics, Family Medicine, Primary Care, Internal Medicine, or Preventive Medicine? Sign up for The Geriatric Track in the the School of Medicine. Electives: MEDU 4006, MEDU 4030, MEDU 4033

Welcome to the Sealy Center on Aging

The Sealy Center on Aging (SCOA) focuses on improving the health and well-being of the elderly through interdisciplinary research, education, and community service by integrating the resources and activities relevant to aging at UTMB.

The Center extends a positive impact by implementing our research findings in hospitals and clinics, bringing excellence and visibility to our health care system, and improving the health of our seniors.

Center Director:
Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, Daisy Emery Allen Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine and Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine - Geriatrics, Neuroscience & Cell Biology and Nutrition & Metabolism.

Fast Facts

10 years

Over the past 10 years, we have trained 61 graduate students, 41 medical students, 88 postdoctoral fellows and 58 junior faculty.


All SCOA medical students, 28 pre-doctoral students, 21 post-doctoral fellows and all junior faculty scholars have been supported by our grants with either salary support or pilot funding.

The Center increased the number of active clinical trials with effective treatments from 11 to 22 in the past five years.


Ottenbacher: NIH Advisory

Ottenbacher appointed to National Advisory Board at the National Institutes of Health

September 22, 2016

Dr. Kenneth Ottenbacher

Kenneth Ottenbacher, Associate Director for the Sealy Center on Aging and Director of the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences in the School of Health Professions at UTMB has been appointed by the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve a 5-year term as a member of the National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research.

Comprised of 18 members, the Board advises the NIH Director and the Director of the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research on matters and policies relating to the Center's medical rehabilitation research and training programs. The Board reviews and assesses federal recommendations for the coordination of such research conducted and supported by the NIH and other agencies of the Federal Government.

Deer: ACSM Webinar

Deer gives lecture for American College of Sports Medicine webinar

September 21, 2016

Dr. Rachel Deer

Rachel Deer, SCOA Postdoctoral Fellow and associate scholar of the UTMB Pepper Center, recently gave a webinar lecture titled, "Challenges in Providing Protein to Support Nutrition and Health Needs in Older Adults" to over 1000 participants on Sept 21, 2016. It was co-sponsored by the American College of Sports Medicine and the Soyfoods Association of North America. The webinar focused on the unique challenge that older adults face in meeting their proper protein requirements to maintain muscle mass and independence.

Goodwin: Washington Post

Clinton's heat stress is not indicative of a broader health issue

Washington Post - September 11, 2016

Dr. James Goodwin

UTMB's James Goodwin spoke to the Washington Post for a story about Hillary Clinton's health.

"It's usually not indicative of broader health issues," Dr. Goodwin told the Post concerning the presidential nominee's episode over the weekend.

Dr. Goodwin is the George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair of Geriatric Medicine and PI of the UTMB Comparative Effectiveness Research on Cancer in Texas (CERCIT) and the UTMB Patient Centered Outcomes Research in the Elderly (PCOR). Dr. Goodwin also led the establishment of both the UTMB Sealy Center on Aging and UTMB Pepper Center. His research focus includes comparative effectiveness of cancer care in the elderly, recovery of function after hospitalization, the overutilization of medical tests and treatments, and the assessment of individual provider performance with administrative data.

Read Article: Hillary Clinton has not been quick to share health information.

Fall Prevention Lunch & Learn

Lunch and Learn: Prevention of Falls
UTMB Center for Spirituality of Aging

Download Lunch and Learn: Prevention of Falls Flyer (PDF)

The UTMB Center for Spirituality of Aging and the Sealy Center on Aging will host Lunch and Learn: Prevention of Falls, a series of presentations for elders that focuses on the education and prevention of falls.

Join us for lunch, interactive presentations by UTMB experts, and games to follow!

  • When: Tuesdays, Sept 13 - Oct 18, 2016
  • Where: McGuire Dent Recreational Center - 27th & Seawall
  • Cost: $3.00 - Please call Friday before each presentation to reserve lunch at 409-266-9692.

Lunch and Learn: Prevention of Falls Presentations:

  • Tues, Sept 13
    "Use It or Lose It" - Rebecca Galloway, PT
  • Tues, Sept 20
    "Watch Your Step" - Betty Douzar, RN
  • Tues, Sept 27
    "Medicate or Meditate" - Kyu Kim Jana, MD
  • Tues, Oct 4
    "Help, I've Fallen!" - Elena Volpi, MD
  • Tues, Oct 11
    "You Are What You Eat" - Juliet McKee, MD
  • Tues, Oct 18
    "Every Time I Feel the Spirit" - Rev. Helen Appelberg

SCOA Learning Center

Pet Care and Maintenance for Seniors
Sealy Center on Aging Learning Center

The SCOA Learning Center hosted a conversation with retired veterinarian Dr. Billie Pennings on Monday, September 12, 2016. Dr. Pennings addressed the care and maintenance of pets, the recognition of pets becoming ill and addressed questions from attendees.

Dr. Pennings recommended that everyone begin introducing wet pet foods to cats and dogs that are accustomed to eating strictly dry foods so that it becomes easier for them to eat when they get older and lose their teeth. Other helpful tips included adopting older pets from local shelters and reading pet food labels so that pets are getting good food, which will help prevent illnesses and save trips to the vet.

About the SCOA Learning Center: The Learning Center is a free, accessible resource to promote healthy lifestyles, educate, and support seniors in our community as well as seniors visiting UTMB. It offers interactive talks on a variety of aging-related topics, free computer usage (and tutorials), fact sheets on health issues, brochures for agencies providing services to the older population and their families, and books and movies for education and entertainment.

Dr. Volpi Awarded R01 Funds

Dr. Volpi awarded $2.7 million to identify new treatments for muscle loss in older adults

August 5, 2016

Dr. Elena Volpi

Dr. Elena Volpi, MD, PhD, Director of the Sealy Center on Aging and Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center and Daisy Emery Allen Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine has been awarded $2.7 million from the National Institute on Aging for the five-year project, “Identifying therapeutic targets of accelerated sarcopenia.”

The study will identify the mechanisms that can accelerate loss of muscle size, strength and physical function in older adults with type 2 diabetes and those who have been hospitalized. About one-third of older Americans have type 2 diabetes, and about one-third of the hospitalizations in the USA involve persons older than 65 year of age. The project will study how diabetes and inactivity impact muscle growth and loss in older adults. The processes will be studied based on how amino acids, the components of protein, are used by muscle to build protein during bed rest inactivity or exercise training.

The proposed research will help further the mission of the National Institutes of Health to develop the fundamental knowledge to improve health and reduce the burden of disability. It will do this by providing the fundamental evidence to identify new targets for the development of innovative treatments to slow down muscle loss and disability in our aging society.

Co-investigators for the project, all from UTMB, include Drs. L. Maria Belalcazar, Steven Fisher, and Blake Rasmussen.

CERCIT: Cancer in TX Elderly

Rice U. Study: Texans are no better off in one city versus another for cancer treatment

July 25, 2016

photo of medical professional reading a tablet

Rice University Press Release:
Regions in Texas differ widely in adherence to recommended cancer treatment for elderly patients, according to a study by researchers at Rice University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

These differences are not due to the availability of treatment specialists or the presence of teaching hospitals, the study found. The absence of consistent explanations for these treatment differences suggests that variations like these are likely to occur elsewhere nationwide.

"Texans are no better off in one city versus another in terms of treatment across a broad range of cancers," said Vivian Ho, the chair in health economics at Rice's Baker Institute for Public Policy and director of the institute's Center for Health and Biosciences, who co-authored the study. "One might have expected Houston residents to receive better treatment because of MD Anderson's presence, but any beneficial effects could be offset by a large number of elderly in Houston not being treated there." The research findings were published in the journal, BMC Health Services Research.

Read More: Rice U. Study: Texans are no better off in one city versus another for cancer treatment.

Dr. Paddon-Jones: Protein

Dr. Paddon-Jones: Protein Absorption by Muscles, Healthy Breakfast Ideas & More News on Protein

July 18-19, 25, 2016

Dr. Doug Paddon-Jones

Men's Health magazine spoke with Dr. Doug Paddon-Jones, Professor in the Department of Nutrition & Metabolism and Senior Fellow of the Sealy Center on Aging, about the amount of protein your body is able to absorb. "Skeletal muscle protein synthesis is maximized by 25 to 35 grams of high-quality protein during a meal," Paddon-Jones told the magazine.

Dr. Paddon-Jones also commented in an article that looked into health breakfast ideas. Dr. Paddon-Jones told the website that people eat a lot of foods, such as breakfast cereal, bagels, breads, that are loaded with refined carbohydrates.

Time Magazine quoted Dr. Paddon-Jones in their "You Asked" column where he answered the question, "What Happens If I Don't Eat Enough Protein?" Dr. Paddon-Jones compared the human body lacking enough protein to a termite-infested house. "Like that termite-ridden house that looks fine on the outside, your protein-deprived body will have grown weaker over a period of many years," Paddon-Jones says. "If the house is solidly built, it could take a long time for the termite damage to cause problems."

More news on Protein from Dr. Paddon-Jones

Freeman: Professor Emeritus

UT System Board of Regents appoint Dr. Freeman as Professor Emerita

July 13, 2016

Dr. Jean L. Freeman

The University of Texas System Board of Regents will approve Dr. Jean Freeman's appointment as Professor Emerita during their Board of Regents meeting on August 4-5, 2016. The petition for this prestigious title came after Dr. Freeman's retirement in late January 2016.

Jean L. Freeman, Ph.D., Grace Bucksch Gnitzinger Distinguished Professor in Aging, Professor for the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, and Senior Fellow of the Sealy Center on Aging started at UTMB in 1992 as an Associate Professor for the Department of Internal Medicine.

During her time at UTMB, Dr. Freeman established the Master's degree and Ph.D. curricula in Health Services Research and assisted in designing a faculty development program that features advanced training in data analysis and research methods, research proposal development for NIH grants and scientific writing courses. Dr. Freeman also contributed to other UTMB departments and published more than 120 articles during her tenure.

For Dr. Freeman to be eligible, a recommendation from the Dean of the School of Medicine and approval by the UTMB President had to have been made after the formalization of her retirement. The final approval is made by the UT System Board of Regents at one of their regularly scheduled meetings.

Dr. Pappadis in South Korea

Dr. Pappadis Presents Disability Research in S. Korea

July 06, 2016

Dr. Monique Pappadis

Dr. Monique Pappadis, Assistant Professor in the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences and Project Director of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Project 1, represented UTMB at the 2016 Joint Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development (SWSD) in Seoul, South Korea from June 27-30, 2016.

At the conference, Dr. Pappadis participated as a speaker in a disability forum with three other international disability researchers, representing Malaysia, Thailand, USA/Vietnam. She also presented her research titled, "Psychosocial Adjustment to Disability among Middle-Aged Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury."

Dr. Monique Pappadis with disability researchers representing Malaysia, Thialand, and the USA/Vietnam.

MSSRP Poster Session

MSTAR Student Wins Award at 2016 MSSRP Poster Session

June 23, 2016

MSTAR Student Leyla Akhverdiyeva with Drs. Geroge Kramer, Monique Ferguson, and Lisa Cain

Out of 76 posters, MSTAR medical student Leyla Akhverdiyeva's poster titled, "Estimation of Appendicular Skeletal Muscle Mass using Percent Body Fat Determined by Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis in Acutely Ill Older Adults" was awarded 2nd Place for the Best Overall Poster at this year's Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP) Poster Session in Levin Hall on June 22, 2016.

Akhverdiyeva's award was made possible by the UTMB Chapter of Sigma XI Scientific Research Society. Congratulations Leyla!

Left to Right: MSTAR Student Leyla Akhverdiyeva, Dr. Geroge Kramer (Director, Resuscitation Research Laboratory), Dr. Monique Ferguson (Co-Director, Medical Student Summer Research Program), and Dr. Lisa Cain (Assistant Dean, Faculty Affairs in School of Medicine)

Dr. Kuo Awarded by AHRQ

Dr. Yong-Fang Kuo Awarded to Conduct Population-Based Investigation

June 22, 2016

Dr. Yong-Fang KuoDr. Yong-Fang Kuo, professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Heath and SCOA Director of Biostatistics, has been awarded more than $745,000 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to conduct the first national population-based investigation of patients who receive their care from a team of both physicians and nurse practitioners in a "shared care" model.

Although interdisciplinary-team care has been shown to improve outcomes, especially for patients with complex medical conditions that require coordination of care with various health care providers, how these models operate in more diverse patient populations and clinical settings is unknown. The newly funded renewal study will address this critical gap in knowledge.

Source: UTMB Impact

MSTAR Student Conference

UTMB Presentations at the 2016 MSTAR Student Conference

June 21, 2016

Left to right: SCOA Director and MSTAR Mentor Dr. Elena Volpi; MSTAR Students Jason Livingstone, Leyla Akhverdiyeva, and Justin Howard; and SCOA Postdoc Rachel Deer

Three medical students presented their research project at the 2016 Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Student Conference on June 17, 2016 at the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC) in San Antonio, TX.

UTHSC San Antonio hosted the conference at their campus and had 10 students present as the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) and UTMB each had 3 students participate in the program this year.

Left to right: SCOA Director and MSTAR Mentor Dr. Elena Volpi; MSTAR Students Jason Livingstone, Leyla Akhverdiyeva, and Justin Howard; and SCOA Postdoc Rachel Deer. MSTAR Mentors not in photo are Christopher Fry and Guilio Taglialatela.

T32 Presentations at CIRWH

Health of Older Minorities Pre/Post Docs Present at 2016 CIRWH Poster Session

May 16, 2016

Postdoctoral Trainee Marc Garcia with his poster titled IADL Active Life Expectancy by Nativity, and Age of Migration Among Older Mexican-Origin Women

Three SCOA T32 Pre and Postdoctoral Trainees showcased their research at the 2016 Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health (CIRWH) Poster Session on May 10, 2016.

SCOA Post-doctoral Trainee Marc Garcia, PhD received 1st place in the Women's Health in the Elderly category for his work titled "IADL Active Life Expectancy by Nativity, and Age of Migration Among Older Mexican-Origin Women". SCOA Pre-doctoral Trainees Joseph Saenz and Loresto Figaro also presented their posters at the event.

Interview w/Dr. Ottenbacher

Dr. Ottenbacher Interviewed About Big Data Rehabilitation Collaboration

UTMB Academic Enterprise - Spring 2016

Big Data Collaboration Fules Rehabilitation ResearchDr. Kenneth Ottenbacher; Director of both the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences and Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition (CeRPAN), and SCOA Associate Director, was featured in the Spring 2016 issue of UTMB's Academic Enterprise publication.

The article dives into Dr. Ottenbacher's involvement with the creation of a clinical research component and doctoral degree in Rehabilitation Sciences in the School of Health Professions. Dr. Ottenbacher is quoted saying that "Rehabilitation and recovery is holistic, not organ-based - it involves the whole person."

The latter part of the article focuses on UTMB's collaboration with Cornell University and the University of Michigan to establish the Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR) and describes the Center's main objectives: identifying and accessing large data sources, managing and analyzing large datasets, and archiving and sharing research data with other investigators.

Read: Big Data Collaboration Fules Rehabilitation Research

Source: UTMB Academic Enterprise

More SCOA News

News Updated: 23-SEP-2016

Site managed by UTMB Sealy Center on Aging • Date Updated: 23-SEP-2016