INFRASTRUCTURE & TRAINING PROGRAMS

Meeting the needs and preferences of older Americans requires infrastructure resources and commitment to conduct translational research, provide education and training, and to deliver age-appropriate and culturally relevant services.

  • Brazos Valley Obesity Prevention Network (BVOPN)
    The Brazos Valley Obesity Prevention Network (BVOPN) is a local coalition that works to enhance community partnerships in order to promote awareness and expand opportunities to combat obesity in the Brazos Valley region. BVOPN partners worked together to receive a grant to fund UP-BEAT, a local project designed to examine the impact of community and environmental strategies for increasing physical activity. In conjunction with the BCOPN efforts, the Brazos Vally Council of Governments has recently been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency, receiving a Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Award.
  • Community Research Center for Senior Health
    The Community Research Center for Senior Health is a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded project to develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate evidence-based interventions that address multiple social and behavioral determinants of senior health. The Center aims to create a sustainable infrastructure that promotes an interdisciplinary approach to senior health intervention research; develop community-academic health center relationships which foster community participation; and provide guidance and support to investigators and community leaders in research design, evaluation and data analytic techniques. This project is a three way partnership between Scott and White HealthCare, The Temple–Belton Aging and Disability Research Center, and the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Locally we collaborate with the Brazos Valley Area Agency on Aging.
  • CTx•CARES Communities of Texas (Cancer · Activity · Research · Education · Support)
    CTxCARES, formed in 2009, is one of 10 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NIH-funded research institutions that comprised the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN), which provides infrastructure for applying relevant research to local cancer prevention and control needs. CTxCARES is a collaboration between Texas A&M School of Public Health, Texas AgriLife Extension, and Scott & White HealthCare. The mission of CTxCARES is to reduce cancer risk and burden by promoting the adoption of evidence-based cancer prevention and control programs in Central Texas Communities. Initial activities are focused on strategies for promoting the health and well-being of cancer survivors.
  • Health, Technology, and Patient Empowerment Initiative
    The Health, Technology and Patient Empowerment Initiative will draw together faculty from a variety of disciplines within the Texas A&M School of Public Health (SPH) as well as from other colleges at Texas A&M University (TAMU) to engage in collaborative research and translation and demonstration projects at this nexus of health technology and patient empowerment. The rapid emergence of a variety of new health technologies has the potential to address current health care needs of patients and reduce the burdens and costs of care for all Texans. There is a timely need to explore the potential of mobile applications and wearable sensors for improving the health, functioning and well-being for the growing number of Americans with chronic conditions--or at risk of developing preventable chronic diseases and disabilities. Dr. Marcia Ory and Dr. Mark Benden will co-direct this initiative in which initial projects are envisioned in a variety of settings and populations such as the home, clinical, occupational, school, and transpiration settings.
  • The South, West, and Central Consortium— Geriatric Education Center of Texas (SWAC-C GEC)
    The South, West, and Central Consortium, Geriatric Education Center of Texas (SWAC-C GEC) is based at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The SWAC GEC has facilitated the improvement of patient care for the aged through interdisciplinary partnerships with faculty and practitioners in the fields of gerontology and geriatrics. To date, the consortium has provided culturally appropriate geriatric training to more than 50,000 health professionals both on-site and by distance learning. As a Consortium Center, SPH will focus on coordinating educational and training efforts related to chronic disease management, especially around the implementation, dissemination, and sustainability of evidence-based chronic disease management programs.
  • Texas A&M Evidence Based Program (EBP) Resource Exchange
    Funded through the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), who received federal funding through the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare's (CMS) 1115 Transformation Waiver project, the EBP Resource Exchange provides a centralized resource for training, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based self-management and wellness programs. The EBP Resource Exchange seeks to facilitate health care providers and agencies' capacity to select and implement evidence-based health promotion/disease prevention to reduce the burden of illness in our nine county Regional HealthCare Partnership (RHP) 17 region.
  • The Texas A&M University Coalition for Healthy Active Living
    Rapid advances in sensor technologies, big data analytics and processing, electronic health and medical records, and the realization of the so called "Internet of Things" have created a world in which devices and data can be harnessed to promote health and wellbeing in ways unimaginable just a mere decade ago. The proposed Texas A&M University Center for Healthy Active Living (TAMU-CHAL) serves as a research, education, outreach, and clinical nucleus within which multi-disciplinary research teams can be empowered to develop, test, and deploy new techniques and strategies which exploit this new ecosystem of data, services, and sensors to improve public and individual health. The core mission of this center is to engineer technologies and techniques for data collection and analyses, facilitate new forms of health research and analyses, and enable novel lines of health interventions, monitoring, and promotion for targeted populations of at-risk individuals. In partnership with Baylor Scott & White Health (a leading healthcare services provider), the TAMU-CHAL integrates and coordinates the research efforts across the TAMU Colleges of Engineering, Geosciences, Education & Human Development, Medicine, and the School of Public Health, serving as a concrete example under the banner of the TAMU One Health Initiative.
  • Texas Fall Prevention Coalition Promotions
    WellMed is providing support for The Texas Falls Prevention Coalition established in 2007 to "promote, implement and evaluate evidence-based programs and policies that help reduce risk factors of falls and injuries in older adults; provide education and resources to increase public awareness, mobilize communities and effect policy change for a falls free Texas." In May 2014, coordination responsibilities wer transferred to Texas A&M Health Science Center Program on Healthy Aging for the purpose of reconstituting a Steering Committee of broad-based stakeholders to promote a multi-faceted approach to falls prevention throughout Texas. Under the leadership of Dr. Marcia Ory, a Steering Committee has been appointed with representation from the state aging (Department of Aging and Disability Services) and health (Department of Health and Human Services) agencies, the Texas Association of Area Agencies on Aging (T4A); health care partners and providers (e.g., Bayler Scott and White Healthcare, WellMed Charitable Foundation, Texas Hospital Association, and the Texas Physical Therapis Association); and academia (Texas A&M). This grant will support promotion and activities.

EVIDENCE-BASED DISEASE PREVENTION PROGRAMS FOR SENIORS

Whether delivered at the national, state, or local levels, the Program on Healthy Aging provides needed technical assistance and evaluation to improve the reach and effectiveness of evidence-based programs.

  • Healthy Aging and Independent Living (HAIL)
    The Community Research Center for Senior Health (CRC-Senior Health) serves as the evaluation unit for the HAIL initiative with the United Way of Tarrant County. Working collaboratively with the CRC-Senior Health, the Program on Healthy Aging will be involved in designing evaluation tools, providing technical assistance on data protocol issues, and providing final reports of major impacts on relevant outcomes such as self- and family health status, quality of life, and health care utilization. Furthermore, based on protocol-driven interviews with five funded agencies, Alzheimer’s Association, Easter Seals, Meals on Wheels, North Texas Area Community Health Center, and Senior Citizen Services, the evaluation team will develop evaluation strategies and guidelines to promote understanding and reliable evaluation for the HAIL initiative with a focus on addressing program evaluation in general, as well as offering information specific to protocols and roles with the HAIL initiative.
  • Impact, Sustainability & Scalability of Multi-Component Falls Prevention Programs
    Working collaboratively with the CDC and the three funded State Health Department Injury Programs, this program facilitates the evaluation of the processes and impacts of state-driven fall prevention programs for older adults. The two primary aims are to : 1) determine the impact of the designated multi-component fall prevention interventions on health, health care utilization, and costs using quantitative and qualitative methods; and 2) build states’ capacity for ensuring program successes by providing technical assistance on strategies for enhancing and monitoring the reach, fidelity, sustainability, and scalability of evidence-based fall prevention programming.
  • It Takes a Village - A Multi-Disciplinary, Multi-Level Evaluation of State Driven Fall Prevention Project
    During the three year "Village"evaluation, three aims will be achieved to identify essential elements of effective fall prevention programming at the state level and then accelerate and improve the dissemination of these effective models and associated findings to a broader, national audience. Aim 1 will focus on evaluation of impact of programs as they are scaled statewide, Aim 2 will focus on providing technical assistance to bring programs to scale, and Aim 3 will disseminate findings to key stakeholders. The ultimate impact of this initiative is to improve the health and functioning of the growing population of older Americans at-risk for falling.
  • National Study of Evidence-based Chronic Disease Management Programs
    The National Council on Aging serves as the Technical Resource Center for this Administration on Aging Initiative which seeks to enroll over 50,000 older adults throughout the Nation in chronic disease self-management programs. Working collaboratively with the NCOA and the Stanford Patient Education Research Center at Stanford University, The Program on Healthy Aging will conduct a national study of 1,000 older adults to document individual outcomes of the Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, such as self-reported health status, quality of life, health behaviors, and health care utilization. Data will come from approximately 30 delivery sites across the Nation, with an emphasis on getting a diverse population of participants from both urban and rural areas. This collaboration provides a synergy that will help bridge the research to practice gap and further our knowledge about the outcomes of widely disseminated evidence-based programs.
  • Policies, Programs, and Partners for Fall Prevention (PPPFP)
    PPPFP is a collaborative effort, funded through the CDC, with the University of North Carolina Schools of Medicine and Public Health . Working with over 40 State Fall Prevention Coalitions, PPPFP address the urgent need to identify more effective public health strategies for reducing falls, fall-related injuries, and fall-related rates of emergency room visits among the growing population of seniors. Additionally, through implementation of new training structures, PPPFP will build upon existing partnerships to increase impact and sustainability of evidence-based fall prevention programs delivered to vulnerable older populations. The project will develop strategies and train community health workers in Texas and North Carolina in implementation of Otago, a community-based falls prevention program delivered primarily in the home by physical therapists.
  • Supporting, Unifying and Streamlining in Texas through Active Integrated Networks (SUSTAIN)
    This project serves as a central hub to embed a suite of Stanford Patient Education Chronic Disease Self-Management Education (CDSME) within a 59 county region in Central and East Texas. SUSTAIN’s goal is to leverage the combined resources of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), integrated healthcare systems (IHS), and managed care organizations (MCO) to better scale and sustain CDSMEs. Objectives are 1) establish partnerships among seven Texas AAAs, a minimum of two IHSs (Catholic Health Initiatives and Baylor Scott & White), and a minimum of one MCO (United HealthCare) to support sustainable program delivery; 2) increase the number of graduates from CDSME programs delivered; and 3) develop and evaluate models of best practice through memoranda of understanding and/or business plans to create a systematic healthcare referral model for linking clinical and community sectors.
  • Texercise Select - Building the Evidence-Based Program
    Texercise Select is a statewide three month behaviorally based health promotion created collaboratively between the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services and Texas A&M School of Public Health Program on Health Aging. The program combines: (1) education about the importance of physical activity and healthy eating; (2) skill-building sessions for learning how to set and achieve attainable lifestyle goals; and (3) a multi-component exercise program designed to increase strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. Building upon preliminary studies of the Texercise: Select program in 2013, Texas A&M Health Science Center Program on Healthy Aging will further evaluate the program's reach and effectiveness. Major objects are to (1) examine the impact of Texercise Select on increased physical activity and healthy eating, enhanced social interaction, improved perceived quality of life, and better physical functioning (2) Identify the relationship between intervention dosage and study outcomes (e.g., address the question of whether those who attend more sessions do better, and if there is a threshold effect for improved outcomes) (3) Identify potential differential impacts across participant characteristics (e.g., whether the program is equally beneficial across a wide age range of seniors) (4) Identify programmatic costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) attributed to participation in Texercise Select and; (5) Identify factors affecting (i.i. barriers, facilitators) program implementation, dissemination, and long/short-term sustainability.

POPULATION AND DISEASE SPECIFIC PROGRAMS

Generic public health strategies can be tailored to specific populations, settings, and diseases to improve the health and functioning of seniors with specific concerns.

  • Colon Cancer Screening, Training, Education and Prevention (C-STEP)
    This Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) grant will address a critical unmet need for colon cancer screenings in the Brazos Valley by increasing the number of low-income underserved Texans 50 years and older who are referred to the Texas A&M Family Medicine Residency Clinic for CRC screenings. This project will also improve access to cancer screenings and follow-up care through culturally relevant case management from Promotors/Community Health Workers (P/CHW), while simultaneously increasing the pool of family medicine residents and practicing family physicians trained in colonoscopy screenings in Texas The evaluation team will track the availability, accessibility and appropriateness of cancer screenings.
  • Enhanced Breat and Cervical Cancer Prevention for Low Income and Underserved Using Trandisciplinary Collaboration in a Family Medicine Setting
    This grant will test innovative ways of increasing breath and cervical cancer screening and prevention activities in the Brazos Valley using nursing students and community health workers. The overall goal is to improve family medicine, nursing, and public health practice related to evidence-based, culturally-appropriate care in women's cancer services.
  • ICANFIT
    This web-based mobile application will help disseminate community resources and promote physical activity for older survivors by determining locations and programs based on zip codes, setting up personal goals and tracking progress, developing social network with peers and opening access to senior friendly resources. The proposed study will be one of the first web and mobile technology-based solution for older cancer survivors to promote PA and increase quality of life. The data collected will be used to determine feasibility, refine ICANFIT, and provide pilot data for future funding applications.
  • My Health Finder
    Patient and provider access to, and awareness of, community resources for an increasing number of Americans suffering from chronic conditions can improve population health. After polling provider across the U.S., we found that many still rely on paper and print-outs to locate resources. Mobile health technology can help meet the triple aims of better health, better care, and better value, providing a more efficient mechanism to more holistically address health needs of entire populations. MyHealthFinder is a mobile web resource locator designed to help individuals, families, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and more locate resources for healthy living. This unique tool's map allows users to search by locations or by categories such as Community Services, Food and Nutrition, Counseling Support, Faith-Bsed Services, and more.

CHILDHOOD AND FAMILY PROGRAMS

In addition to a focus on seniors, it is important to understand factors influencing healthy behaviors and lifestyle factors in a family and community context. Interventions in early life are important for ensuring that children grow into healthy adults and seniors.

  • Texas Grow! Eat! Go!: Using Family Focused Garden, Nutrition and Physical Activity Programs to Reduce Childhood Obesity
    The goal of this Integrated Research and Extension project is to assess the efficacy of a coordinated school health (CSH) program enhanced with family-focused, experiential garden, nutrition, and physical activity programs on the prevalence of child overweight and obesity in 3rd grade students. The home food and physical activity environments will be targeted through two Extension programs designed to build upon CSH. Independent and combined effects of different programmatic approaches will be evaluated.
  • Working on Wellness
    In response to the CDC Funding Opportunity on Programs to Reduce Obesity in High Obesity Areas, a Working on Wellness (WoW) community-based program will be established to address obesity in Hidalgo County, Texas where more than 40% of its 800,000 residents are obese. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M Health Science CEnter School of Public Health are partnering to address the obesity issue in Hidalgo county by combining the skills and expertise of both organizations to improve access to healthier foods and safe places for physical activity. Bringing a wide array of specialists to support project implementation and evaluation, both organizations have a strong presence in Hidalgo County and considerable experience implementing and evaluating community prevention programs in border communities. Utilizing a community-based participatory approach, community assessments will be conducted and proposed strategies for addressing high rates of obesity vetted with community stakeholders. The School of Public Health is responsible for the process and outcome evaluation.

PROGRAMS – COMPLETED

Projects conducted over the past several years demonstrate the importance of translating research to practice, the benefits of approaching interventions from multiple levels, and building on best practices about achieving behavioral change over time in different populations and settings.

  • Active for Life®
    Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active for Life® examined the effectiveness of two different evidence-based programs to increase physical activity in older adults. The program was designed to test the applicability of the RE-AIM framework and demonstrate that evidence-based physical activity programs can be successfully translated. This study provided substantial experience in identifying essential intervention elements and learning how to make programs more culturally and population relevant.
  • Adolescents and Young Adult (AYA) Healthy Survivorship
    AYA Healthy Survivorship is a mobile application designed for Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer survivors (ages 15-39). Developed by a CTxCARES team and reviewed by community and advocacy group partners, the app assesses AYA survivors’ health habits using an interactive assessment tool that includes provides scores for lifestyle, physical activity, diet and nutrition and well being. Users can save scores and re-take the assessment once to asses the effects of lifestyle and behavior changes. AYA Healthy Survivorship offers personalized tips for being more active, eating better and living a healthier life; all delivered via email. AYA Healthy Survivorship links users to a secure and private Healthy Survivorship website (www.healthysurvivorship.org) where AYA users can register for a unique personalized profile and can create cancer survivorship plans based on survey-driven templates.
  • Aging and the Built Environment
    This NIH-funded innovative translational research program is disseminating information on the health and quality of life benefits associated with providing outdoor space at senior communities. The “Access to Nature for Older Adults” program is based on an award-winning multimedia tool that translates current research findings to practical guidelines for industry professionals. Other components include an interactive website, supplemental readings on dementia, and continuing education credit. The program was developed by an interdisciplinary team from the Texas A&M College of Architecture and Texas A&M School of Public Health.
  • AgriLIfe Diabetes Management Programs
    Do Well, Be Well with Diabetes is a nine-session AgriLife Extension Program that improves lives and saves health care costs by reaching out across Texas to communities without access to diabetes education. Small groups of persons with diabetes are taught about what diabetes is, first steps to diabetes management through better nutrition and physical activity, managing medications and blood glucose, and preventing and managing complications. An economic analysis revealed an estimated potential lifetime health care savings of $57, 826 per female and $44,320 per male participants. Developed for a low literate, Spanish-Speaking Hispanic/Latinos, ¡Sí, Yo Puedo Controlar Mi Diabetes! (Yo Puedo) is a six-week diabetes self-management education program employing novellas to deliver health messages in a culturally relevant manner. An initial pilot study at the Texas-Mexico border demonstrated that Yo Puedo could increase diabetes management self-confidence, improve diabetes self-care behaviors, and help participants maintain good blood glucose control. This program is now being widely disseminated as a model program for federal qualified health centers in Texas.
  • Assessing the Built Environment in Colonias to Influence Policy Promoting Physical Activity in Mexican American Children and Families
    Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program in Salud America!, this study proposes to produce environmental policy recommendations promoting physical activity in economically-disadvantaged, understudied Mexican American children and families in the Rio Grande Valley. It involves conducting environmental assessments of different neighborhoods and presenting findings to key community stakeholders for action.
  • Diabetes Prevention and Management
    Funded as a core research program of the Prevention Research Center, the Diabetes Prevention and Management Project aimed to improve the health of rural and underserved populations through better implementation, dissemination, and sustainability of clinical and community disease prevention and management guidelines. The research project has focused on advancing dissemination research and attention to determinants and intervention research. The project’s primary goal was to examine gaps in real world utilization of disease prevention and control guidelines and develop strategies for closing these gaps. Data from various assessments supported the need for diabetes and chronic disease self-management research in the Brazos Valley.
  • Education to Promote Improved Cancer (EPICO)
    This program is designed to increase delivery of comprehensive cancer services through development of a replicable, sustainable tailored training program for promotors on prevention, treatment, and healthy survivorship for colorectal, breast and cervical cancers among at-risk residents in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) on the Texas-Mexico border. Specific aims are to: 1) equip promotors to educate residents on prevention, treatment, and survivorship issues related to colorectal, breast, and cervical cancers, 2) enable promotors to use tailoring strategies to improve their outreach efforts, and 3) increase residents’ prevention, treatment, and healthy survivorship behaviors.
  • Fit & Strong!
    Combining mini-grant funding from Scott & White Healthcare’s Community Resource Center for Senior Health (CRC-Senior Health) and St. Joseph’s Healthy Communities, Fit & Strong! is an evidence-based physical activity program for older adults. In conjunction with the Brazos Valley Agency on Aging (BVAAA), the program, originally designed for older adults with osteoarthritis, is eight weeks long and combines flexibility, strength training, and aerobic walking with health education to reduce arthritis symptoms, maintain independent functioning, and increase participation in physical activity among older adults.
  • Friend to Friend
    Successfully adapting the research-tested intervention program, Friend to Friend (National Cancer Institute, 2006), for delivery by Texas AgriLife Extension agents is likely to have a lasting impact on reducing the burden of cancer in rural and frontier Texas counties. Increasing the number of these women who find cancer in earlier stages not only reduces mortality and suffering, but the higher costs for treating later stage cancer and the frequently devastating financial repercussions for their families. Urban women with cancer may travel a few miles for cancer treatments, but rural Texas women will likely travel hundreds of miles to the nearest treatment source. The Program on Healthy Aging is providing consultation about the RE-AIM planning and evaluation framework for Friend to Friend.
  • Health Maintenance Consortium (HMC)
    Since 2004, SPH has served as the Resource Center for this consortium of twenty-one funded NIH grants examining factors associated with long-term behavioral maintenance. The Resource Center has created an infrastructure to: 1) foster ongoing cross-site communications among the funded projects; 2) provide technical assistance to identify common questions, methods, and measures related to maintenance and sustainability and to address cross-cutting issues that add synergy to the individual projects; 3) establish a central clearinghouse for behavioral change concepts, assessment instruments, intervention protocols, methods, and data that can be beneficial for other researchers and practitioners; and 4) disseminate research findings to both researchers and practitioners. Nearly 50,000 individuals from adolescence to adulthood to old age were involved in this HMC-supported research, making this the largest group of studies of behavior change maintenance funded to date.
  • Learning Network
    The Learning Network was affiliated with the Active for Life program and built community capacity for translating research to practice. The Learning Network was designed to create a mechanism for sharing resources about successful approaches to active aging. By partnering with the National Blueprint, this project created an interactive Learning Network for the Building Healthy Communities Recognition Program which promoted the pairing of smart growth principles with activity programming for older adults.
  • Pilot Evaluation of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
    A collaborative effort between the National Council on Aging, Texas A&M HSC, and Stanford University, the purpose of this pilot evaluation is to conduct a study of the impact of the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) on health outcomes, utilization, and costs in an existing sample of participating beneficiaries maintained by the National Council on Aging using Medicare Administrative data. The information generated by this pilot evaluation effort will be used both to provide an initial reporting of program’s effects in CMS’s September 2013 report to Congress and to inform the methodology that will be used in future evaluation efforts of wellness and prevention programs
  • Planning for a National Evaluation and Implementation of Evidence-based Programs for Seniors
    The national roll-out of evidence-based disease prevention programs funded through the Administration on Aging (AoA) requires technical assistance in planning, implementation, and evaluation. Working collaboratively with Healthy Aging Network consultants as well as National Council on Aging (NCOA) colleagues, the Program on Healthy Aging has assisted the AoA in designing a national research strategy for understanding the processes involved in delivering evidence-based programs as well as documenting program reach and benefits. Activities involve creating a common data base, assisting States in conducting research and presenting study findings around the RE-AIM Planning and Evaluation framework, and advising on strategies for enhancing quality assurance and fidelity processes. A major contribution will be designing on-line modules related to quality assurance and identifying innovative quality assurance practices that can be shared throughout the aging services network.
  • Program for Rural and Minority Health Disparities Research (Disparities Program)
    The Disparities Program is a collaborative initiative between the Center for Community Health Development at SPH and the Center for the Study of Health Disparities at TAMU. Funded by the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at NIH, this program focuses on the intersection of setting and population characteristics and how they impact health—with specific attention to nutrition, physical activity, obesity, and diabetes. The program’s core research project, Employing Diabetes Self-Management Models to Reduce Health Disparities in (central) Texas, is addressing many aims of relevance including: 1) documenting the nature and magnitude of health disparities among patients with type 2 diabetes; 2) evaluating different diabetes self-management intervention approaches on patient behavioral and clinical outcomes; 3) assessing the cost-effectiveness of these different approaches to diabetes self-management education; and 4) exploring the reach of our intervention efforts and the broader organizational impacts of diabetes self-management education, examining how self-management interventions get linked back into clinical practice.
  • Promoting Walking and Other Physical Activity among Obese and Diabetic Patients in Integrated Healthcare Plans
    Despite the recognition of the environment as a major determinant of activity levels, little is known about how primary care practitioners include environmental factors in their recommendations for obese patients. Funded through the Scott and White Research Foundation, this pilot study which is a collaboration between Scott and White, the College of Architecture, and the School of Public Health will examine both physician and environmental influences on patient activity levels by: 1) assessing if, and how, healthcare providers encourage walking and engagement in other physical activity to their obese and diabetic patients; and 2) identifying specific built environmental facilitators of, and barriers to, walking and engagement in other physical activity in the neighborhood.
  • Testing a Low-Literacy Diabetes Self-Management Education Kiosk
    In response to concerns about the need for more culturally sensitive self-management tools, an educational KIOSK was developed by team members to provide basic self-management information about diabetes to low literacy populations in both English and Spanish. This research is supported by the Morris L. Liechtenstein, Jr., Medical Research Foundation and is designed to evaluate the implementation and dissemination of a computer-assisted touch screen in multiple clinics and organizations in the Central Texas and Coastal Bend regions. The over-arching goals of the KIOSK are to improve the availability of diabetes self-management education and improve sustainability of consumer’s ability to self-manage diabetes through the ready availability of diabetes education tools; and decrease or delay diabetes complications. After some local pilot testing in the Brazos Valley to assess the feasibility and use of the KIOSK, we have redesigned the basic educational module to run off a web-based system so that we can more easily place KIOSKs in different geographic settings.
  • Texas Childhood Obesity Prevention Policy Evaluation (T-COPPE)
    Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Texas Childhood Obesity Prevention Policy Evaluation Project (T-COPPE) was created to evaluate the impact of two national policies as they are implemented in Texas. T-COPPE is a 5-year study running from 2009-2013, which will evaluate the effect of the Safe Routes to School (SR2S) and the Texas Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program on the health of Texans. This is the first major initiative supported by a statewide coalition of more than 80 partners including academics, prevention advocates, community leaders, and government agencies collectively called Live Smart Texas (LST).
  • Texas Falls Prevention Coalition (TFPC)
    The Texas Falls Prevention Coalition was funded through the Department of Aging and Disability Services and examined the implementation and outcome of delivering an evidence-based Falls Prevention Program, A Matter of Balance-Volunteer Lay Model, statewide in Texas. TFPC coordinates the efforts of organizations throughout Texas that provide falls prevention activities and establishes a statewide network of stakeholders to share information. The program promotes, implements, and evaluates, evidence-based programs and policies to help reduce risk factors of falls and injuries in older adults. The Program on Healthy Aging served as the state-wide evaluators of A Matter of Balance, and is now the home of TFPC activities supported by the Texas Association of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) through funding from Humana Health Care.
  • Texas Healthy Aging Research Network Collaborating Center (TxHAN)
    Together with the Collaborating Center of the Healthy Aging Research Network (HAN), other HAN sites and the CDC, TxHAN works to continue the advancement of the translation of prevention research to community-based practice focused on an aging population. Through partnerships with local, county, and state agencies, TxHAN seeks to identify public health, aging services, and related community resources and engage them in collaboration for healthy aging. The TxHAN will advance key HAN research initiatives in the areas of physical activity and environmental assessment, while also engaging in new research priorities including depression, nutrition, and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Texas Healthy Lifestyles
    With funding from the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, Texas Healthy Lifestyles: Communities Putting Prevention to Work disseminates the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program to over 3000 older Texans. The State has selected five geographic areas–Tarrant County, Bexar County, Central Texas, Rio Grande area and the East Texas Coalition–as regional sites for delivery and dissemination of this program. The School of Public Health directs the state-wide evaluation effort to track program dissemination, document the adoption by local community agencies, and provide technical assistance on standardized data collection and fidelity processes among partnering communities. Texas Healthy Lifestyles seeks to create a knowledge base for the risks associated with chronic diseases and the benefits of a healthier lifestyle and help older persons learn to take responsibility for day-to-day self- management of their conditions. Coordinating local efforts with the Brazos Valley Area Agency on Aging, seniors in our community will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of evidence-based chronic disease management programs delivered through the aging and public health as well as other community sectors. Our Brazos Valley AAA has recently formed a partnership with the Texas A&M University College of Nursing and is training nursing students as class leaders for our evidence-based programs. This partnership has proven to be an excellent educational opportunity as well as means for disseminating and sustaining the delivery of evidence-based programs throughout the state.
  • Texercise: Evaluating its Reach and Effectiveness
    Texercise is a statewide health promotion program of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services that encourages individuals and communities to adopt healthy lifestyles habits such as regular physical activity than can sustain or improve mobility among the more than 2.5 million older Texans. Texas A&M HSC Prevention Research Centers Healthy Aging Research Network has partnered with the Scott and White HealthCare Community Research Center for Senior Health to evaluate Texercise’s reach and effectiveness. Major objectives are to (1) help standardize the existing program for widespread dissemination as an evidence-based program; and (2) conduct a systematic evaluation of the processes and outcomes associated with Texercise.
  • UP-BEAT Project and City-BEAT Walking Circuit
    UP-BEAT (Umbrella Partnerships- BE Active in our Town) is a collaboration between the BVOPN and the Brazos Valley Community Action Agency, Inc (BVCAA), with evaluation support from the Program on Healthy Aging. With funding from the Department of State Health Services, UP-BEAT facilitates new and current partner efforts to increase access to physical activity among limited resource youth and families in Brazos County. UP-BEAT works toward environmental and policy changes to increase access to physical activity within the Brazos Valley. UP-BEAT has implemented the City-BEAT walking circuit in downtown Bryan to highlight walkable areas and to encourage visitors and residents to use the downtown area for physical activity. Working with the City of Bryan, the City-BEAT walking circuit is being coordinated with the existing audio walking tour of downtown. Additionally, UP-BEAT is training community youth to conduct environmental assessments of limited resource neighborhoods in Brazos County. The youth will then share their findings with local key stakeholders and policy-makers in efforts to make changes to increase physical activity opportunities in the Brazos Valley. In conjunction with the BVOPN efforts, the Brazos Valley Council of Governments has recently been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency, receiving a Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Award.
  • Wellcare: Developing Partnerships for Delivering Evidence-Based Self-Management Programs
    While Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and Diabetes Self-Management Program workshops have been disseminated by the Program on Healthy Aging in the Brazos Valley and other regions in East Texas with support of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, a new grant from WellCare Health Plans, Inc. allows a significant opportunity in 2012-2013 to partner with a number of organizations in the Houston/Galveston area. Such private-public partnerships are essential for building a sustainable delivery system for reaching underserved populations. Our goal in the next year is to empower at least 400 older adults in the Houston/Galveston area to better manage their chronic disease and diabetes. This will be accomplished with the introduction of evidence-based programming in partnership with the collaboration of partners in the Houston Consortium. The Texas A&M HSC Program on Healthy Aging will assist in program delivery and training, provide technical assistance in program recruitment and selection, and evaluate the program by documenting reach, adoption, and fidelity processes and outcomes.
  • Wisdom, Power, Control (WPC)
    Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in collaboration with Texas A&M School of Public Health (SPH) is piloting Wisdom, Power, Control through a 2012-2013 grant funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Wisdom, Power, Control was developed by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension in response to the need for an evidence-based, culturally relevant type 2 diabetes self-management education (DSME) program targeting African Americans. Employing an experiential, hand-on approach in instruction, the seven-week empowerment-based program aligns with the American Diabetes Association’s standards for DSME. Study aims are to examine programmatic effects on hemoglobin A1c, diabetes knowledge, self-efficacy, and self-care skills. As part of this effort, this project is seeking to reach underserved African American who have limited access to health resources and build capacity in the targeted communities. Following the one-year pilot project, AgriLife Extension and SPH have plans to establish community partnerships to adopt Wisdom, Power, Control as a method to promote long-term sustainability.