UC Irvine’s Dr. Laura Mosqueda is guest editor of the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect’s current special issue, which examines the successes and challenges of confronting abuse.

“Elder abuse remains an underreported crime, despite efforts to increase education and enforcement,” said Mosqueda, director of UCI’s geriatrics program and Ronald W. Reagan Endowed Chair in Geriatrics. “I hope this double issue focuses attention on the problem and the steps being taken to protect our vulnerable elderly citizens.”

As guest editor, Mosqueda wrote the issue’s introduction, helped select and edit certain articles, and was an author on others. Her goal was to describe the work being done by academics, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to stimulate new ideas, promote the replication of promising practices, and communicate lessons learned.

The issue recognizes the Long Beach-based Archstone Foundation’s role in funding anti-elder abuse efforts at UCI and elsewhere and includes an appeal from Archstone President and CEO Joseph F. Prevratil for broader support of elder abuse intervention. In addition, the issue contains a “Vision for 2020” and analyses of UCI’s Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect and regional Elder Abuse Forensic Centers.

UCI’s leadership in the fight against elder abuse dates to the early 2000s, when Mosqueda and the university’s Program in Geriatrics began working with law enforcement and social services agencies to identify abuse and pursue offenders.

  • These efforts led to the creation of:
    The nation’s first Elder Abuse Forensic Center, which brings together legal, medical, social services and law enforcement experts to better understand, identify and treat elder abuse; determine more efficient ways of successfully prosecuting elder abuse cases; and support the prevention of elder abuse.
  • The first-of-its-kind Elder Abuse Training Institute, which is devoted to educating legal, medical, social services, law enforcement and government personnel about all aspects of elder abuse. Clients include the Illinois Health Cares program, California Supreme Court judges, prosecutors from the California District Attorneys Association, the National District Attorneys Association, Los Angeles County and Orange County sheriff’s investigators, aging-services professionals from the North Dakota Department of Human Services, and the Aged Rights Advocacy Service in Australia.

“Since 2003, the forensic center has evolved into an important and reliable source of information for professionals in the field of elder mistreatment,” Mosqueda said. It has also served as a national model. In 2006, Los Angeles County agencies established a center patterned after UCI’s. There are now four Elder Abuse Forensic Centers in California and one in New York.

In addition, the university has led the way with groundbreaking research. In March, a UCI team published “Screening for Abuse & Neglect of People with Dementia” in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The group also studied bruising as a marker for elder abuse, which has changed how law enforcement investigates and prosecutes suspected elder abuse.

“We, as a nation, must act upon a commitment to value our elders whether they are vigorous or frail, lucid or demented, independent or in need of a helping hand,” said Mosqueda. “After all, it’s what we want for our grandparents, our parents and ourselves.”

About the Archstone Foundation: Established in 1986, the Archstone Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation whose mission is to prepare for the growing needs of an aging society. Under the leadership of president and CEO Joseph F. Prevratil, J.D., Archstone grants up to $5 million annually, primarily in Southern California. The Archstone Foundation’s funding priorities include fall prevention, elder abuse and neglect, end-of-life issues, and emerging needs among the elderly.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.9 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.