Texas A&M System approves Center for Community Health and Aging

The Texas A&M University System recently approved the merger of two research centers in the Texas A&M University School of Public Health to form the newly named Center for Community Health and Aging (CCHA). James N. Burdine, DrPH, Regents Professor in the Department of Health Behavior, and former founding director of the Center for Community Health Development (CCHD) will serve as interim director of the center. CCHD is merging with the Center for Population Health and Aging (CPHA) to form CCHA.

“The merger of these two into one new center makes sense for a number of different reasons, both topically and administratively,” Burdine said. “CCHD and CPHA have each been highly successful in generating research funding and in the production of academic papers and presentations. As public health issues have evolved, both centers have adapted to addressing them while remaining true to the mission of each center.

“Together we anticipate meeting a wider array of needs, from expanding our focus on training community health workers to include the broader public health workforce to doing high-level research on how you do a better job of helping people maintain or improve their health.”

The Center for Community Health Development was originally approved by the Board of Regents in 2005 and its mission was to increase the capacity of communities to improve population health utilizing a community health development approach.

The Center for Population Health and Aging was approved in by the Board of Regents in 2016 and its charge was to promote population health and successful aging through innovations in research, education and practice that examine social, behavioral, economic, environmental and technological solutions linking academic and real-world clinical community settings.

Combined, the two centers have brought in nearly $100 million in research funding.

“I think this consolidation will only enhance the work we are doing,” Burdine said. “We have an exceptional group of faculty and staff, all of whom are engaged in meaningful projects, that are now going to be under one umbrella.”

The mission of the new center is to increase the capacity of individuals, institutions and communities to improve population health and aging well across the life course utilizing a community health development approach and multi-level evidenced-based solutions.

Research focus areas of the center include community capacity building, evidence-based health and wellness programs, training and development, data and technological innovations, program evaluation, economics and policy, and community health assessment.

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