A Wealth of Health

A WEALTH
OF HEALTH

CENTER FOR HEALTHY AGING: A HUB OF COLLABORATION IN CSU HEALTH AND MEDICAL CENTER

by Jeff Dodge

At least 55 CSU faculty in 11 different departments study aspects of the aging process. With the opening of the CSU Health and Medical Center on campus, they now have a place to collaborate under one roof: the new Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging.

The center, a jewel in the state-of-the-art CSU Health Network facility that opened this summer on the southeast corner of campus, was made possible by a $5 million gift from Columbine Health Systems president and owner Bob Wilson and his wife, Kitty. The Wilsons and Columbine Health Systems have a long history of supporting gerontology scholarships and programs in aging at CSU.

“This is a campus-wide effort to bring together a broad diversity of researchers across the University and catalyze interdisciplinary innovation in aging research,” says Lise Youngblade, associate dean for strategic initiatives in the College of Health and Human Sciences.

With about 78 million aging baby boomers in the country, gerontology is an increasingly important and growing field. CSU’s land-grant mission emphasizing outreach and its location in the retirement-friendly community of Fort Collins make the University an ideal place to train the next generation of professionals in the discipline and cultivate cutting-edge research.

UNDER ONE ROOF

• Occupational health services

• Infusion center

• Radiology suite

• Reflection center

• Counseling

• Optometry services

• After-hours urgent care

• Dental care

• Travel clinic

• Health education and prevention services

COMMUNITY-ORIENTED FEEL

The center has a decidedly community-oriented feel, with multipurpose rooms that can be used for seminars, classes or speaker presentations as well as spaces for research geared toward chronic disease prevention and helping older adults prolong their health. It also has exam rooms, wet labs, research offices, and other clinical areas for counseling services and neuropsychological testing.

“The mission of the center is to support work that extends ‘healthspan,’” Youngblade says. “We’re not necessarily trying to help people live longer, but help them stay healthy for a longer period of time.”

The center includes CSU’s Aging Clinic of the Rockies, a nonprofit mental health agency that offers professional counseling services to address psychological needs of older adults and their loved ones.

“We see the Center for Healthy Aging as a unique opportunity for the Aging Clinic of the Rockies to be able to serve older adults’ psychological needs and address their well-being while working side by side with other clinicians and researchers who are also focused on the needs of older adults,” says Deana Davalos, director of the clinic. “Our hope is that the Aging Clinic of the Rockies can be part of a larger vision at the center to provide older adults in our community with comprehensive care that addresses prevention, early identification of disease, and intervention, along with programs that focus on healthy aging.”

The center will also share a reception area with an office of the Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center.

“We hope to collaborate quite a bit, because nutrition and aging are so connected,” Youngblade says.

CSU HEALTH AND MEDICAL CENTER OPENS DOORS TO CAMPUS, COMMUNITY

The CSU Health and Medical Center that opened this summer is a one-stop shop for students when it comes to any aspect of their well-being.

“Human beings come in one package, we’re not divided up into separated parts, like physical symptoms versus mental health symptoms,” says Anne Hudgens, executive director of the CSU Health Network. “So, the best care is integrated — it puts students at the center and looks at what combination of services they need.”

While the $59 million Health and Medical Center on the corner of Prospect Road and College Avenue was primarily funded with student fees, it doesn’t benefit just the CSU student body. It features a public walk-in clinic operated by Associates in Family Medicine, in partnership with UCHealth, which donated $5 million to the project. It also houses a public pharmacy and the new Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging, created with a $5 million gift from Columbine Health Systems president and owner Bob Wilson and his wife, Kitty. In addition, the facility is home to an office of CSU’s Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center, thanks in part to a donation from Pat (Ph.D., ’83) and Larry Kendall.

Hudgens explains that having such a broad variety of resources under one roof is good for caregiver collaboration, which ultimately helps the patients.

“You learn from each other, you advise one another and learn together,” she says. “I think of it as a benefit for those who work together, but the real beneficiaries are the students and our ability to provide comprehensive care.”

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