Institute Research Team Gets Funding for Healthy Aging Reports Covering Rhode Island, Connecticut

Healthy Aging NH

UMass Boston gerontology PhD student Haowei Wang shared New Hampshire Healthy Aging data with N.H. state Rep. James MacKay at a legislative breakfast in April.

A UMass Boston research team that recently published comprehensive reports on the health of older adults living in Massachusetts and New Hampshire has received new funding to produce similar studies covering two additional New England states.

The team at the McCormack Graduate School’s Gerontology Institute received grants of $448,000 from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to support healthy aging data reports for Rhode Island and Connecticut. Tufts had funded the earlier healthy aging state reports as well.

Research for the new reports began this month and is expected to be complete by April 2021. The team will be updating a previous Rhode Island report it published in 2016. The Connecticut research will become the basis of that state’s first healthy aging data report.

The reports provide essential information for policymakers, public officials and other stakeholders concerned about the health of older adults in their states. Detailed community-by-community data offer an unprecedented basis for planning and action.

“We have found that the Healthy Aging Data Reports can be a game-changer in terms of age-friendly momentum,” said associate professor Elizabeth Dugan, who leads the research team. “They equip local community leaders as well as state policymakers and help identify areas of strength and disparity.”

The Massachusetts Healthy Aging Data Report, released in December 2018, provided 379 individual community profiles and used 179 indicators to measure the health of older adults in those cities and towns. The New Hampshire Healthy Aging Data Report published 244 community profiles.

“The financial support and partnership in this work with the Tufts Health Plan Foundation has made all possible,” said Dugan. “None of these reports would exist without their leadership.”

The research team includes professor emeritus Frank Porell, professor Nina Silverstein, postdoctoral fellows Jay Lee and Wendy Wang, and graduate gerontology students Haowei Wang, Natalie Pitheckoff and Evan Chung.

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