The Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging builds upon USC’s longstanding tradition of creating socially relevant research, innovating educational practices, influencing policy making, fostering community-university partnerships and sharing best practices with direct service providers.
The USC Roybal Institute maintains a strong interdisciplinary focus, with collaborations among faculty and professionals in such fields as social work, gerontology, psychology, preventive medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, oncology, American studies and ethnicity, and public policy.
The mission of the USC Roybal Institute is to advance research whose goal is to enhance optimal aging for persons in minority and low-income communities.
- To advance research on how social, cultural, and economic factors encourage or impede healthy aging in vulnerable populations.
- To bring special attention to the circumstances of elderly poor ethnic minority persons such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian-Americans, and American Indians.
- To further community-based interventions and to train scholars in ways that can enrich the health and wellbeing of older adults and their families.
- To encourage policy research aimed at solutions for meeting the needs of aging individuals at the local, state, and national levels.
- To foster international collaborations advancing global research on aging, health, and well-being.
- To generate and disseminate knowledge through teaching, mentoring, and newsletters about research and practice enriching the well-being of aging adults.
William A. Vega, one of the nation’s leading experts in health disparities and minority populations, is the USC Roybal Institute’s executive director.
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 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 USC 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.