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Areas of Research

Our primary areas of research are recovery from illness, effectiveness of medical treatments, aging in Hispanic populations, and implementation of new treatments. We also house two large longitudinal studies on the health of older Mexicans. .

Aging in Hispanic Populations

This area of research examines disparities in treatment and outcomes, access to care, social and economic forces, and changes in mortality over time in US Hispanic and Mexican populations. This is a critical area of research, as the population of the United States has become increasingly Hispanic and is projected to become even more so due to the growth of the US Hispanic population and immigration from Mexico and other countries in Latin America. This research uses a population-based perspective and data from surveys, censuses, and administrative records. Our investigators have a distinct niche in this area of research, having already established reputations for research on the health and aging of Hispanic populations in the United States and abroad, particularly in Mexico.

Effectiveness of Medical Treatments

This research area focuses on effectiveness of rehabilitation strategies, cancer treatments, and support for families of older adults experiencing dementia and interventions to improve physician-patient communication. The term "effectiveness" refers to how treatments work in real-world community practice rather than randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Patients enrolled in RCTs tend to be younger and better educated, with lower percentages of women, minorities, older adults, and those with multiple comorbidities.

Implementation of New Treatments

This area of research seeks to translate research findings on new treatments into everyday patient care.

Recovery from Illness

This area of research focuses on the mechanisms that lead to loss of muscle mass, strength, function, and independence in older adults. Investigators identify targets for interventions to preserve the independence of older adults and accelerate functional recovery from illness. The approach is translational and spans from the basic sciences to outcomes research, with investigators in various disciplines interacting weekly or more often in joint collaborations.



The Sealy Center on Aging is supported by:

  • Sealy & Smith Foundation
  • Gnitzinger Research Endowment Fund
  • Daisy Emery Allen Distinguished Chair in Geriatric Medicine
  • Annie and John Gnitzinger Distinguished Professorship of Aging
  • Bertha and Robert Bucksch Distinguished Professorship of Aging
  • Edgar Gnitzinger Distinguished Professorship in Aging
  • Grace B. Gnitzinger Distinguished Professorship in Aging
  • Sheriden Lorenz Distinguished Professorship in Aging and Health
  • Lloyd and Sue Ann Hill Endowed Professorship in Healthy Aging
  • Don W. and Frances Powell Professorship in Aging
  • John H. Antonelli Endowment

Core Investigator Funding

graph showing increase in funding from 2000 to 2020

The Sealy Center on Aging membership brings more than $30 million in extramural funding for aging research to UTMB annually. Large, multidisciplinary research programs spearheaded by the Center include the UTMB Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC) and the Texas Resource Center on Minority Aging Research (RCMAR). We also house two large longitudinal studies, the Mexican Health, and Aging Study (MHAS) and the Hispanic Established Populations Epidemiological Study of the Elderly (Hispanic-EPESE). Two large R01 grants study the impact of giving patients recordings of their doctor visits to improve communication. We also supports several R01s on the extended impact of the opioid epidemic on the health of older populations. Multiple R01 grants study factors affecting the quality of nursing home care.