UC Irvine’s Program in Geriatrics has received a three-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging to combat elder abuse. The funding is part of a major new federal initiative to test promising community-based elder abuse prevention practices. U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the five recipients of grants for the pilot program today at a meeting of the Elder Justice Coordinating Council in Washington, D.C. UC Irvine will implement its new approach to preventing the abuse of people with dementia, called Take AIM Against Elder Abuse.

Testifying today before the council, Dr. Laura Mosqueda, chair of UC Irvine’s Department of Family Medicine, director of its geriatrics program and Ronald Reagan Chair in Geriatrics, said: “Adults with dementia are particularly vulnerable to abuse. The sad fact is that about one of every two people with dementia is abused or neglected. With our rapidly aging population, combined with the fact that one of every two people over 85 is diagnosed with dementia, this impacts a huge number of individuals and those who love them.”

UC Irvine has created an innovative model to address the multiple, complex and interrelated factors that lead to abuse. “This grant allows us to develop and evaluate a new model to reduce the risk of elder abuse,” Mosqueda said.

UCI will partner with the California Department of Aging, the California Department of Social Services, the Legal Aid Society of Orange County and the Orange County Elder Abuse Forensic Center in pilot-testing the approach.

The UCI geriatrics program’s Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect has been a pioneer in efforts to raise awareness and reduce the incidence of elder abuse in the U.S. A national and international model, it is a source of technical assistance, multidisciplinary training, research and policy briefs. The center also provides a “living laboratory” of innovative approaches to eliminate the abuse, neglect, mistreatment and exploitation of seniors.

UCI’s Program in Geriatrics is ranked among the top 50 in the country by U.S. News & World Report. In September 2011, the U.S. Administration on Aging designated it as the National Center on Elder Abuse, a clearinghouse for practical information supporting federal, state and local work to prevent, identify and effectively respond to elder abuse.

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 second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

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