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Center on Aging name change
clarifies affiliation, identity

The Travelers Center on Aging has a new name: the University of Connecticut Center on Aging. The name change, effective last Dec. 1, is intended to clarify the Center's affiliation and identity.

Richard W. Besdine, M.D., Health Center professor of medicine and director of the aging center, who currently holds the Travelers chair, says the name change "associates the notable research and clinical initiatives produced by the Center directly with the Health Center and the University, rather than with an outside business entity. The new name also defines more clearly that within the university our activity, financing and reporting authority will remain at the Health Center for other institutions that might have an interest in associating with the Center in the future."

A $1 million endowment and a $250,000 gift to the Health Center from Travelers 12 years ago established the Center in Farmington, as well as the Travelers Chair in Geriatrics and Gerontology at the University's School of Medicine. A branch of the Travelers Center was launched at the Storrs campus, in the Schools of Family Studies, Nursing, and Allied Health, and the Schools of Pharmacy and Social Work joined in the Center's programs. The Storrs branch of the Center includes graduate research fellowships in the social and behavioral sciences. A second $1 million endowment to the Health Center in 1991 established the Travelers Institute on Health Promotion and Aging on the Farmington campus.

Dr. Besdine noted that the Center intends to continue its long-time relationship with Travelers. "In fact we are currently planning a new phase of affiliation," he said, adding that Travelers and the University both concluded that the new name would be in the best interest of the Center, in terms of public perception as well as positioning for further growth.

Elizabeth Georgakopoulos, senior vice president of Travelers Insurance Company, said "We continue to support the University's leadership role in promoting the health, well-being and independence of elderly people, and believe that its Center on Aging is a facility deserving of our continued support and sponsorship. Our decision to assume a less visible role should enable the Center to gain greater recognition for its efforts, and to generate an even broader range of opportunities, from scientific or medical collaboration to corporate philanthropy."

In addition to its research and clinical studies on aging, the Center on Aging works to strengthen the curriculum in geriatrics and gerontology across the University; to improve clinical training in hospitals, nursing homes and community agencies; to expand research on health promotion and disease prevention; and to provide continuing education for health care professionals. The Center has received ongoing recognition for its programs, and most recently was named a Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center by the National Institutes of Health.

Patrick Keefe

Patrick Keefe is a communications officer at the Health Affairs