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National Aging Program Selects Two Penn Nursing Fellows

Two Penn Nursing postdoctoral research fellows from the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health– Alma Vega and Jo-Ana Chase, have been selected for the National Institute on Aging’s (NIA) Butler-Williams (B-W) Scholars Program (July 25-29, 2016), on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

The B-W Scholars Program is sponsored by the NIA, with support from the National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence. The highly competitive program accepts fifty scholars annually, providing an excellent opportunity for emerging scholars to learn more about research on aging and to further develop their research interests in this challenging and important area of inquiry.

Vega is the Dean’s Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow, working with Karen Hirschman, PhD, MSW, the NewCourtland Term Chair in Health Transitions Research and Research Associate Professor of Nursing, to determine the role of health in motivating Mexican immigrants to return to Mexico during later life. Vega is examining various aspects of immigrant aging in the United States, including the provision of unpaid childcare by older immigrant women, foreign pensions, and the contributions of immigrants to the US Social Security system. Vega recently completed a chapter on team-based science with mentor, Mary Naylor, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Marian S. Ware Professor in Gerontology and Director of NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health. During the NIA B-W Scholars Program, she will discuss her proposal to study the personal costs of informal family caregiving among immigrant communities and resulting savings to Medicaid and Medicare programs. Vega’s research will inform how programs can be tailored to meet the needs of the growing population of aging immigrants in the US.

<blockquote>Penn Nursing research fellows Jo-Ana Chase, PhD, APRN-BC and Alma Vega, PhD, MSPH</blockquote>

Penn Nursing research fellows Jo-Ana Chase, PhD, APRN-BC and Alma Vega, PhD, MSPH

Chase is a postdoctoral research fellow in transitions and aging, supported by the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (T32NR009356). Chase is collaborating with mentors, Kathryn Bowles, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, the van Ameringen Chair in Nursing Excellence and Professor of Nursing (Penn); Keith Robinson, MD, Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Penn); David Russell, PhD, Senior Evaluation Scientist in the Center for Home Care Policy and Research at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York; Melissa O’Connor, PhD, MBA, RN, COS-C, Assistant Professor of Nursing (Villanova University) and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Nursing (Penn); and Alexandra Hanlon, PhD, Research Professor of Nursing (Penn), on a pilot study exploring differences in physical functioning outcomes among older home care recipients. She is also involved in a multidisciplinary team examining determinants of physical functioning among older adults new to long-term support services. During the NIA B-W Scholars Program, she will discuss her proposed study using national CMS data to investigate racial/ethnic disparities in physical functioning outcomes among older adults receiving home care after hospitalization. Preserving physical functioning and preventing disability among older adults as they transition through the health care system is a significant public health priority. Chase’s research will provide the foundation for future interventions designed to prevent and attenuate disability among at-risk, community-dwelling older adults. Moreover, this research will provide insight into potential targets for reducing health disparities among diverse older home care recipients.