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Faculty member and team lead policy change in healthy aging through research

For immediate release
Date:    August 12, 2011
Contact:   Ashley Wiggin- Communications and Marketing Officer, aaw4@uw.edu, 206-221-2456

SEATTLE- The Environmental and Policy Change (EPC) Clearinghouse, led by PI Basia Belza, Professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems in the School of Nursing, recently won a 2011 APEX award for publication excellence. The EPC Clearinghouse is a product of the CDC Healthy Aging Research Network (CDC-HAN). Belza was joined on the project by the School of Nursing’s Technology Innovations in Education and Research (TIER group), and grant co-PI Becky Hunter of the University of North Carolina.

Belza and her team worked to create the EPC Clearinghouse as a way to provide resources, tools and concrete strategies that support local efforts in environmental and policy change for healthy aging. The clearinghouse is a searchable, annotated database of more than 130 online resources for healthy aging, healthy communities, built environment and mobility. According to Belza, research has shown that 40% of adults older than 45 years of age report difficulties with movement.

“The EPC Clearinghouse meets an unmet need in the community for a single source of up-to-date evidence-based resources around environmental and policy change to support healthy aging,” said Belza.

Of the 3,300 entries into the APEX awards, 957 winners were selected as award winners. The clearinghouse is quickly becoming a resource for individuals and organizations working in the realm of healthy aging, as well as professionals in fields such as city planning and architecture seeking information on how to change environmental policy and improve the built environment for aging adults. According to Belza, based on the visitor traffic to the website and the number of downloads, this is quickly becoming a valuable resource to the community.

“This award is meaningful because it recognizes the talent of the team who put endless hours into creating an engaging, easy-to-navigate, practical, and useful website, said Belza. “It is thrilling if experts in the publication field recognize these same features as vital to the community.”

CDC-HAN receives core funding from the CDC Healthy Aging Program, a part of the Division of Adult and Community Health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. CDC-HAN develops and implements a national research and dissemination agenda related to the public health aspects of healthy aging, with a particular focus on communities and populations that bear a disproportionate burden of illness and disease.  The CDC HAN Coordinating Center, under the leadership of Belza, is located at the University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center.

For the past 10 years Belza has collaborated with investigators at the UW Health Promotion Research Center. These collaborations involve community partners and colleagues from other academic units throughout the US.  

“Collaboration is key to our successes in health care,” said Belza of her engagement with the HPRC. “None of the work we do is done on our own. It takes a team!”

For more information about CDC-HAN please visit their website: http://www.prc-han.org/

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The University of Washington School of Nursing is consistently the nation’s No. 1-ranked nursing school, according to U.S. News & World Report. Ranked No. 3 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the UW School of Nursing is a national and international leader in improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. The school addresses society’s most pressing challenges in health care through innovative teaching, award winning research and community service. For more information, visit www.nursing.uw.edu.