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Aging—Studying the Biophysical, Psychological, Environmental, and Social Factors

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Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging (CITRA)

A Natural Collaboration
Jane Wang

Anthony Ong, Human Development

Over the past five years, a committed and expanding group of researchers from the Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) and the Cornell-Ithaca campus has worked together on issues of human aging and health. Such collaboration comes naturally for this topic, as the fields of social gerontology and geriatric medicine have long been closely linked. The paths to successful aging, on the one hand, and illness and disability on the other, are multifactorial and typically result from biophysical, psychological, environmental, and social causes. Joining the resources of the two campuses, in one of the most extensive collaborations at Cornell, to study these factors has been an exciting adventure for all involved. The collaboration has resulted in considerable success in grant funding, scholarly productivity, and the professional development of new investigators.

Uniting Intercampus Resources for Geriatrics and Gerontology

The overarching structure for this unique collaboration is the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging (CITRA). CITRA brings together social scientists from Cornell’s Ithaca campus, research clinicians in geriatric medicine at the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at WCMC in Manhattan, and researchers at the Cornell Institute for Geriatric Psychiatry, which is part of the WCMC Division of Psychiatry. Our joint efforts led to a five-year $1.9 million grant from the National Institute on Aging in 2003, supplemented by other federal and foundation funding.

The primary idea that drives CITRA is to create a multidisciplinary structure that can provide outstanding clinical sites for research, while infusing Cornell’s academic programs in geriatric psychiatry and medicine with new perspectives from the social sciences. The resources of Cornell’s collaborating units allow CITRA to maximize and extend federal funding through the efficiencies of common pilot programs, training grants, clinical sites, faculty, and a wide variety of other tangible resources.


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