Center on Aging

About

The Center on Aging is a research, service, and education center at the Medical University of South Carolina. The center was approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education December 3, 1987, giving it the status of the oldest research center at the University.

Under the leadership of Interim Director, Dr. Heather Boger, the Center on Aging is committed promoting health, longevity and improving the quality of life for South Carolina's seniors.

Strategic Goals

  • To serve as the center for interdisciplinary aging research and education across all colleges within MUSC
  • To optimize current and new technology and innovations for older adults in South Carolina
  • To promote communication and interaction with local and state-wide organizations to improve healthcare access and research in the field of aging
  • To cultivate public and private partnerships to expand collaborative and entrepreneurial efforts in aging services
  • To connect the MUSC community of students, researchers, and practitioners 

Mission

This mission of education, research and service include these immediate goals:

Education

  • Organize interprofessional symposiums around age-related topics and concerns
  • Initiate interprofessional, collaborative opportunities across all MUSC colleges
  • Expand geriatric education, including the Senior Mentor Program
  • Support volunteer opportunities for MUSC students in the field of senior services 

Research 

  • Strengthen the network of aging research and healthcare at MUSC
  • Establish interdisciplinary relationships with research teams at MUSC in conjunction with community partners
  • Develop a world-class aging center to generate innovative research
  • Create career development opportunities for young and mid-career faculty in areas of aging under the guidance of academic leaders
  • Collect community feedback to address need and explore various funding opportunities

Service

  • Host age-related symposiums for the regional and state community
  • Conduct active, hands-on workshops to address the concerns of the community seniors
  • Serve as a trusted resource for information related to aging research, education, and healthcare
  • Expand education and outreach for community programs
  • Curate a list of expert speakers to benefit community program 

History

Originally named the Center for Studies on Aging, the Center was formed to meet the needs of a growing segment of the population in South Carolina and to reallocate existing and develop new resources in this field. In anticipation of rising costs and the growing number of elderly in the population, policies affecting future health and medical care of the elderly needed to be addressed. 

It was formed in December 1987 after the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education approved the Center proposal. The Trustees of MUSC had previously approved the proposal in their meeting of August 14, 1987.

Funding

The Center was started with a one million dollar endowment from Dr. William McKnight to Dr. Edwin Boyle with instructions that the money should be used for aging-related positions. Over the years, the endowment grew to 3 million dollars and it was divided into three separate chairs in the Department of Internal Medicine. No additional funding was requested from the University in order to start the Center. 

The Center was based in the College of Medicine and its original purpose was to “marshal University, community, state and federal resources that will contribute to distinctive education, research, public service, and patient care programs serving the elderly” (quoted from the original proposal). It was proposed that the Center would have two divisions:

  • The Division of Geriatrics which would have sections of patient care and biomedical research on aging.
  • The Division of Aging Policy and Education, which would have sections of public policy research, and education (didactic and experiential).

The Center was proposed to relate to the various colleges of the University through the advisory University Gerontology Committee with the Chair in Gerontology being appointed as Center Medical Director. It was also proposed to be a non-degree granting entity. Programs of instruction emerging from the Center’s efforts would follow the taxonomy of the primary sponsoring college.

Original vision of the Center:

“The Center shall serve to insure and support an improved quality of life for the State’s rapidly expanding elderly population through programs of teaching, research, public service, and patient care”.

Early Accomplishments

It was determined that the Center should become a campus-wide resource center by involving other colleges at MUSC. At that time, Dr. Jerry Kurent was acting director of the Center and the primary objectives for the Center in 1997-99 were focused on outreach, end of life care, and geriatrics education at MUSC.

A major accomplishment of the Center was that Dr. Lina Obeid was recruited from Duke University as a Boyle-McKnight Chair in Geriatrics in the Department of Medicine in 1997/98, hence strengthening both the basic science and the clinical component of Center activities significantly.