Citing the award-winning Program in Geriatrics, the U.S. Administration on Aging has designated UC Irvine as the National Center on Elder Abuse, a clearinghouse for practical information supporting federal, state and local efforts to prevent, identify and effectively respond to elder abuse. The agency will provide funding of $561,000 annually for three years.

The NCEA will be led by Dr. Laura Mosqueda and Mary Twomey, co-directors of UC Irvine’s Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect, which offers medical, forensic and victim services to abused and neglected seniors, as well as training, research and technical assistance to California law enforcement and social services agencies.

“We’re very excited about this opportunity to expand our elder abuse prevention efforts at the national level,” said Mosqueda, chair of UC Irvine’s Department of Family Medicine, director of its Program in Geriatrics, and Ronald Reagan Chair in Geriatrics. “We look forward to working with many national organizations and individuals, bringing the field together in a major initiative to increase awareness of and find solutions to this significant public health issue.”

Nearly 2 million older Americans are abused each year, according to the Administration on Aging. Orange County agencies receive more than 8,000 reports annually. And for each incident reported, Mosqueda said, at least five more go unreported.

“Elder abuse is wrong. To fight it effectively, we need to build and sustain research, prevention, law enforcement and services,” said Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee.

UC Irvine has become an international model for just that. Recent honors include:

  • In August, the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article by Mosqueda on elder abuse and self-neglect, the first time a major U.S. medical journal had identified elder abuse as a significant human rights issue.
  • In April, the U.S. Department of Justice bestowed its 2011 Award for Professional Innovation in Victim Services on UC Irvine’s Elder Abuse Forensic Center, which brings together legal, medical, social services and law enforcement experts to improve the investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases. The center, established in 2003 by Mosqueda and UC Irvine’s geriatrics faculty and staff, was the first of its kind in the country.

We’re honored to have been selected to be the National Center on Elder Abuse,” said UC Irvine’s Twomey. “None of us ever forgets that this work is about real people who are living in fear, who have had their rights taken from them, and who deserve dignity and respect. We will work to make their lives better.”

About UC Irvine Medical Center: Orange County’s only university hospital, UC Irvine Medical Center offers acute- and general-care services at its new, 482,000-square-foot UC Irvine Douglas Hospital and is home to the county’s only Level I trauma center, American College of Surgeons-verified regional burn center and National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. U.S. News & World Report has included UC Irvine for 11 consecutive years on its list of America’s Best Hospitals, giving special recognition to its urology, gynecology, nephrology and cancer care programs.

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 $4.2 billion. For more UCI news, visit

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