University of Southern Indiana

Center History

The College of Nursing and Health Professions initially created the Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness in 2008 to serve as co-sponsor and host of the annual Mid-America Institute on Aging. Since then, the Center has evolved into a dynamic insitution of interdisciplinary education, research, and community partnerships that advocates for older adults and promotes careers in gerontology and geriatrics.

See below for a listing of some of the projects the Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness has been involved in since its inception.

2014

7th Annual Mid-America Institute on Aging: Nearly 500 people attend the 7th annual conference in August 2014. Keynote Diana Nyad shares her inspirational life story and highlights from her historic swim from Cuba to Florida, which she completed in 2013 at the age of 64. For the first time, a pre-conference workshop is held, with dementia expert Teepa Snow. Over 150 direct care providers from care settings across the Tri-State attend. USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness collaborates with SWIRCA & More and an active group of community members to present this conference. Learn more …

Senior Resource Guide for Southwestern Indiana: Marketing continues for this website, funded through a Centers for Disease Control Sub-Award through Welborn Baptist Foundation. January 15, 2014 is the official launch of the Senior Resource Guide. A Spanish version is online in May of 2014. The guide serves elders, caregivers and professionals in Dubois, Gibson, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh and Warrick. Learn more at resources.swirca.org.

Indiana State Games: Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness receives a Major as Home grant to host a welcome reception for athletes age 50 and older who are participating in the Indiana State Games. Previously known as the River City Games, the longest running community event in the history of SWIRCA & More, these state-wide games are qualifying events for the National Senior Games. Several of the athletic events are held on the USI campus in May, including swimming, tennis, basketball and pickleball.

Interdisciplinary Gerontology Minor: The new 20-hour interdisciplinary gerontology minor takes effect in Fall 2014. This replaces the previous 21-hour gerontology minor housed in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. The new minor is designed to prepare students of various majors for professional positions in the diverse field of gerontology. The course, Death, Dying, and Bereavement, which will be cross-listed with the Sociology Department, is approved to be added as an elective. Learn more …

Sigma Phi Omega: 5 students and 4 faculty members join. Dr. Katie Ehlman, assistant professor at USI, assumes role of presidency for this national academic and professional honor society in gerontology. Dr. Mary Kay Arvin, chair of USI's Occupational Therapy Assistant program, is faculty advisor.

Careers in Aging Week: Members of Sigma Phi Omega’s Delta Pi Chapter observe Careers in Aging Week by hosting the second annual “Student Scholars Forum on Aging” on April 16. The event gives students a chance to share academic projects and assignments related to aging, gerontology and geriatrics. Fifty-eight students from six different disciplines on campus participate, including occupational therapy assistant, health services, nursing, education and psychology. This year’s event takes on an “Olympic” theme because USI helps host the 2014 Indiana State Games. Joe Willis, 78, of Chandler, Indiana, spoke to the students regarding his experiences as a participant in the National Senior Games over the past 15 years.

Memberships: Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and Indiana Inter-College Council on Aging.

Director Update: Dr. M. Catherine (Katie) Ehlman, director of the USI Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness, achieves tenure and the rank of associate professor. She has been teaching full-time at USI since 2008. She is also elected to three-year term SWIRCA & More’s board of directors. As a member of the board, she will play an important governance role in the organization, ensuring that SWIRCA & More’s services meet the needs of the community.


 2013

6th Annual Mid-America Institute on Aging August 2013: USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness collaborates with SWIRCA & More and an active community committee (291 registrations; 94 first-time USI attendees).

Centers for Disease Control Sub-Award through Welborn Baptist Foundation for the development of the Online Senior Resource Guide - for Elders, Caregivers, and Professionals in Southwestern Indiana; launched December, 2013 at resources.swica.org. Counties served: Dubois, Gibson, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh and Warrick (awarded, funded $68,858).

Interdisciplinary Gerontology Minor: The new 20-hour interdisciplinary gerontology minor replaces the previous 21-hour gerontology minor housed in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. The new minor is designed to prepare students of various majors for professional positions in the diverse field of gerontology. Paired with a major course of study, students completing a minor in gerontology will enhance their employability. The minor curriculum gives students an understanding of the interdisciplinary concepts related to gerontology in order to complement and enhance their major course of study. Interdisciplinary gerontology components include the sociological, psychological, and biological aspects of aging.

Sigma Phi Omega: 8 students and 4 faculty members joined. Dr. Katie Ehlman, assistant professor at USI, named president-elect of this national academic and professional honor society in gerontology.

Careers in Aging Week: Members of Sigma Phi a “Student Scholars Forum on Aging” on April 10, 2013. The event gave students a chance to share academic projects and assignments related to aging, gerontology, and geriatrics. Sixty-three students from 10 different disciplines on campus participated, including social work, occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant, radiology, health services, biology, and sociology.

Mt. Vernon Democrat Newspaper - Relationship established with Mt. Vernon Democrat (in Mt. Vernon, Ind.) to publish a Modern Maturity column twice a month through Oct. 16, 2013.

Memberships: Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), Gerontological Society of America (GSA), Indiana Inter-College Council on Aging, and International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review (IIRLR).


2012

5th Annual Mid-America Institute on Aging August 2012: USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness collaborates with SWIRCA and an active community committee (256 registrations; 64 first-time USI attendees).

Dean Receives National Award: Dr. Nadine Coudret, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, receives one of the top awards in geriatric education from the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) at the groups annual meeting and conference, February 23, 2012, in Arlington, Virginia. Dr. Coudret received the Administrative Leadership Award for her exceptional efforts in support of gerontology and geriatrics education. During her tenure, she oversaw the development of many academic tracks and programs, including the creation of the Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness and the Mid-America Institute on Aging.

Sigma Phi Omega: Seven students and two new faculty inducted. New Curriculum: Effective Jan. 1, 2012, the Health Services Program in the College of Nursing and Health Professions changes academic concentrations to specialty tracks. The gerontology concentration has moved to a specialty track. Additionally, a long-term care administration specialty track has been added. Students who graduate from this specialty track will have the knowledge and internship experience to meet the requirements set by the state of Indiana to become an "administrator in training" and then to sit for the Health Facilities Administrator license in the state of Indiana. The gerontology minor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions has not changed.

Relationship established with Mt. Vernon Democrat (in Mt. Vernon, Ind.) to publish a Modern Maturity column twice a month scheduled to begin October 2012.

Memberships: Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), Gerontological Society of America (GSA), Indiana Inter-College Council on Aging, and International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review (IIRLR).

HRSA Grant: Comprehensive Geriatric Education Program through the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) in the amount of $810,000 (awarded, but not funded).


2011
SAWs (Servants At Work) Grant: USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness partners with USI's Outreach and Engagement to write a national Home Depot grant with SWIRCA & More, local Area Agency on Aging. The $5,000 grant was funded, and the local Home Depot store provided materials. Through a volunteer group called SAWs, four ramps were built between July and December of 2011.

Person-Centered Care Project: Funded by USI's Endeavor Program, Service Learning Fellowship, and Faculty Teaching Enhancement Award. Partnership established with Bethel Manor to implement the "Hidden Treasures Project." Hidden Treasures, an academic service learning project embedded in a 15-week class, combines community service and class instruction to enhance student learning experiences and to teach civic responsibility. Using a life history-style approach, undergraduate gerontology students created short video documentaries, highlighting the life of an elder in a skilled nursing home. The video documentaries were designed to be viewed by interprofessional nursing home staff members in order to promote person-centered care within the facility.

Careers in Aging Week: Held April 11, 2011 at USI, this event was funded by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) and co-sponsored by the Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Department of Social Work, STELLAR, and Sigma Phi Omega. Seven local professionals in the field of gerontology led an informative panel discussion, and there were also refreshments and door prizes.

4th Annual Mid-America Institute on Aging, August 2011: USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness collaborates with SWIRCA and an active community committee (389 registrations; 106 first time USI attendees).

Sigma Phi Omega: Seven new students inducted.

Memberships: Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), Gerontological Society of America (GSA), Indiana Inter-College Council on Aging, and International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review (IIRLR).


2010
Bladder Buzz Grant: Awarded by the USI Applied Research Faculty Outreach and Engagement Summer Fellowships in the amount of $4,000. Written in conjunction with the Occupational Therapy and Nursing programs in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. Partnerships established with six Tri-State nursing homes to implement the Bladder Buzz Education Program: Westpark Rehabilitation, Heritage Center, Pine Haven, River Point, Woodbridge, and Phoenix Rehabilitation and Nursing.

Major as Home Grant: Used to establish Sigma Phi Omega, the Gerontology Honors Society in the amount of $750. Seventeen students inducted into Sigma Phi Omega from eight different disciplines across campus. USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness partnered with Health Services, Social Work, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, and Occupational Therapy Assistant.

3rd Annual Mid-America Institute on Aging, August 2010: USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness collaborates with SWIRCA and an active community committee (273 registrations; 53 first-time USI attendees).

Memberships: Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), Indiana Inter-College Council on Aging, Gerontology Society of America (GSA), American Geriatrics Society (AGS), and International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review (IIRLR).


2009
Yoga Grant: "Yoga …Yoganna Love It" is funded by the USI Major as Home grant in the amount of $3,200, in conjunction with the Health Services Department. Partnerships established with three area retirement communities: Kennedy Apartments, Buckner Apartments, and Willow Park.

STELLAR Grant: Funded by USI's Major as Home in the amount of $1,300, in conjunction with the Social Work Department. Partnerships continued/established through STELLAR funding include Solarbron, Seton Residence, Evansville State Hospital, and Pine Haven.

Preservation Through the Generations Grant: Funded by Historic Southern Indiana, the Darrell Bigham Historic Southern Indiana Faculty Engagement Fellowship was awarded in the amount of $4,000. Used to establish partnerships with the Evansville Museum and USI's Rice Library.

2nd Annual Mid-America Institute on Aging, August 2009: USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness collaborates with SWIRCA and an active community committee (274 registrations; 71 first-time USI attendees).

Website: USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness website developed.

Membership: Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE). Seven faculty across campus receive distribution from this organization.


2008
Opening: USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness opens in August, 2008.

Bladder Ultrasound Grant: Indiana State Department of Health funds "Assessing the Benefits of Bladder Ultrasound Scanners in Nursing Homes" in the amount of $37,285. In conjunction with Nursing, Imaging Sciences and Occupational Therapy Assistant. Partnerships established with four Tri-State nursing homes to implement grant: Newburgh Healthcare, Bethel Manor, Mt. Vernon Nursing and Rehabilitation, and Good Samaritan Home.

Mid-America Institute on Aging, August 2008: For the first time, USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness collaborates with SWIRCA and an active community committee to host this conference on aging on the USI campus (282 registrations; 80 USI attendees).

USI's Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness becomes member of Indiana Inter-College Council on Aging, an Indiana consortium for university-based aging centers. 


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