Thank you for visiting the Center for Excellence in Aging and Health (CEAH) at the University of New England. This university-wide Center was formed in 2017 to advance inclusive, narrative informed, and outcome-oriented research on healthful aging. I joined UNE in September 2018, as the founding director. It has been an amazing journey so far with much promise ahead.
The Center is organized under the Office of the Provost, the academic and scholarly core of the University, and collaborates equally across all colleges, schools, departments, and programs. This is important, as human aging impacts all of us and every academic and professional discipline has something to offer.
The challenges of human aging are often complex and therefore benefit from interdisciplinary and interprofessional efforts. Human aging also presents numerous opportunities, some of which are only evident in the context of broad, inclusive scholarship. CEAH strives to be a place and platform for shared dialog on questions encompassing any and all aspects of health and wellness. Questions drive projects and projects bring results. The best we can and should offer are results that matter to our urban and rural neighbors alike.
Year 1 (2018–19) was devoted to learning about Maine, forming relationships, exploring partnerships, and building infrastructure to support applied human subject research. A major accomplishment was the formation of the Legacy Scholars Program — a combined participant registry, longitudinal study, and lifelong learning community. I gave a presentation about the Legacy Scholars Program in November 2019.
Year 2 (2019–20) is focused on turning this infrastructure — including funding for pilot grants by our faculty — into studies on health and wellness, broadly defined. Our Pillars of Aging Research provides a framework for conceptualizing our efforts. The goal is to bridge disciplines and pursue studies that impact people’s lives in their daily lives. A number of grants have been and will be submitted this year. As of December 2019, we have a dozen pilot projects underway in departments across our two campuses. I spoke about one, a study of ageism as a public health concern, at the Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting in November 2019.
Year 3+ (2020–21+) will be a critical period for the Center’s development as our support base shifts from a generous start-up fund to external support from grants, gifts, and contracted research projects. We are positioning our efforts to address key strategic priorities of the University to support and facilitate student research.
It will be exciting to see the results of new partnerships now forming with the Maine Medical Center, Northern Light Hospital, Jackson Laboratories, Maine Syracuse Longitudinal Study of Aging, UMaine Center for Aging, the Institute for Integrative Aging at St. Joseph’s College, and other institutions.
In five years, my goal is to have 2,000 older adults actively engaged with us as Legacy Scholars, a thriving Post-Doctoral Fellowship program training new Ph.D.’s in aging research, and a reputation on- and off-campus for thoughtful, engaging educational and mentorship programs in support of high-quality scholarship on human aging across many domains — physical, functional, psychological, medical, existential, etc.
If you see yourself (or those you care about) in anything you have read on this page or anywhere on this site, please reach out to me, and let’s talk. Conversations and questions are the starting points for meaningful, impactful research. Join us to make a difference. You are invited to our table.
Tom Meuser, Ph.D.
Founding Director, CEAH