The University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health will create a new institute focusing on how to age well across the lifespan by addressing issues faced by the most vulnerable in our population –young children and older adults – thanks to a $7 million gift from the school’s largest benefactors.
The Gerry Sue and Norman J. Arnold Institute on Aging will be dedicated to scholarly research and the sharing of accurate, consumer-friendly health information resulting from aging-related science important to children and the elderly. It will include work in areas such as childhood obesity prevention, chronic stroke recovery, nutrition and food safety, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of senile dementia.
The discovery and promotion of ways to achieve sound physical and mental health as people age is a key mission of the Arnold School. The gift will allow the Arnold School to expand its considerable national expertise in areas such as children’s physical activity, brain health over the lifespan and long-term recovery of speech, balance and other physical abilities following stroke recovery.
“The Arnold family made a very generous gift in 2000 of $10 million to the then USC School of Public Health which was key in moving us to the record levels of grantsmanship, scholarship and student achievement that we are experiencing today,” Arnold School Dean Thomas Chandler said. “Our doctoral program in exercise science was just ranked No. 1 by the American Academy of Kinesiology. These additional resources will enable more of our programs to become top ranked, and promote more collaborative efforts across more disciplines. It also will empower our faculty to begin new research projects in promising but unproven directions, and continue the nationally recognized outreach and community service we provide to the people of South Carolina.”
Over the past several years, the Arnold School has strategically hired more than 30 expert faculty members with expertise in lifestyle and age-related prevention of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and stroke through creative intervention and education programs, health policy development and environmental assessment.
Among the Arnold School research leaders is Dr. Julius Fridriksson, a health sciences endowed professor in the department of communication sciences and disorders. His work centers on improving brain functions and communication abilities in people who have suffered a stroke.
“The Institute on Aging has great potential to stimulate ongoing research as well as foster new cutting edge studies in the area of brain health in both normally aging individuals as well as those who have been affected by age-related brain damage,” Dr. Fridriksson said.