Members of the Program on Healthy Aging at the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) School of Rural Public Health were involved in the planning and delivery of “Healthy Aging Among Hispanics in the Southwest: Perspectives Across the Socio-ecological Model of Public Health” at the 2010 annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America recently in New Orleans.

TAMHSC faculty participants included Regents Professor Marcia Ory, Ph.D., who served as moderator; Matthew Smith, Ph.D., who served as co-chair; and Nelda Mier, Ph.D. SangNam Ahn, Ph.D., post doctorate research associate, also participated.

Marcia Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Marcia Ory, Ph.D.


Matthew Smith, Ph.D, M.P.H.

Matthew Smith, Ph.D


Nelda Mier, Ph.D.

Nelda Mier, Ph.D.


SangNam Ahn, Ph.D., M.P.S.A.

SangNam Ahn, Ph.D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The symposium’s objectives were threefold: identify regional and migration history differences in the biological risk factors for major chronic diseases between older Mexican Americans/Hispanics near the Texas-Mexico border and other U.S. regions; examine the correlates of community and organizational-level structures, geographic location, and socioeconomic and cultural factors that influence older Hispanics’ participation in chronic disease self-management programs and improve access to preventive health care service; and develop concerted multi-level strategies across the ecological model of public health to reduce chronic disease burden and foster health aging in older Hispanic/Latinos in the Southwestern United States.

The ensuing conversation between presenters, participants and the moderator/discussant illustrated the need for continuing efforts to understand the multi-level influences on the health of older Hispanic adults. Future directions and lessons learned call for the utilization of theory when investigating determinants of health in this population, integration of qualitative methods to contextualize quantitative findings and formation of interdisciplinary collaborations across geographic boundaries.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell