About the Institute
The Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging builds upon the University of Southern California's (USC) longstanding tradition of creating socially relevant research, innovating educational practices, influencing policymaking, fostering community-university partnerships and sharing best practices with direct service providers.
The Roybal Institute maintains a strong interdisciplinary focus, with collaborations among faculty and professionals in such fields as gerontology, psychology, preventive medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, oncology, American studies and ethnicity, and public policy. The institute is located in the Hamovitch Center for Science in the Human Services in the USC School of Social Work.
The mission of the Roybal Institute is to advance research that enhances optimal aging of persons in low-income communities.
William A. Vega, one of the nation's leading experts in health disparities and minority populations, is the Roybal Institute's executive director.
Karen D. Lincolnwhose research on mental health disparities is supported by a number of agencies within the National Institutes of Health including the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Mental Healthis the Roybal Institute's associate director.
Community Advisory Board
The community advisory board is charged with guiding the overall strategic direction of the Roybal Institute. It is comprised of key executives and community representatives from government agencies and nonprofits dedicated to enhancing the lives of older persons from underserved linguistically, culturally and racially diverse communities.
A Focus on Remedying Health Disparities
Minority ethnic groups comprise the fastest-growing segment within the U.S. aging population. Yet health and health care disparities continue to disproportionately affect minority communities across the U.S. health care system. Older adults who are part of ethnic minority groups face higher morbidity and mortality rates for such diseases as diabetes, cancer and heart ailments. According to a 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Minority Health, "well-regarded research suggests that 83,000 deaths each year are attributable to racial and ethnic health disparities."
A primary emphasis of the Roybal Institute is community engagement and partnerships that utilize aging research to develop practical programs and services, and form the basis for policy recommendations and decisions to sustain and improve the overall functional status and life satisfaction of aging minorities and their families.
Engaging in a Multi-faceted Approach to Research and Practice
The Roybal Institute fulfills its vital mission by focusing on the following:
- strengthening community-university partnerships that result in exchanges of knowledge and participation in coalitions and community-based research.
- engaging in translational research to bring new evidence-based interventions that can be shared with direct service providers and adopted into practice in Los Angeles and other urban areas.
- collaborating with agencies seeking technical assistance in research methodology for study design, survey instrument development, program evaluation, biostatistical analysis, interpretation and reports.
- education and training that improve responsiveness to underserved older populations and leverage the School of Social Work's innovative programs, including internships for students, training for post-doctoral scholars and seminars/workshops for community agencies.