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About the Pepper Center

The University of Maryland Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (UM-OAIC) is directed by Jay Magaziner, Ph.D., M.S.Hyg. (PI)and co-directed by Leslie Katzel, M.D., Ph.D. and Alice Ryan, Ph.D. (Co-PIs). The UM-OAIC is investigating innovative ways to maintain or restore independence for older adults. The Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center Program was established in honor of the late Florida Senator, Claude D. Pepper.  During his five decades of public service, Senator Pepper was a strong and effective advocate for the health and well-being of older adults.

UM-OAIC Highlights from 1994 to Present

  • The UM-OAIC was initially funded in September 1994. The Center conducted intervention studies that examined the effects of exercise rehabilitation and dietary modification programs on functional independence, free living daily activity and subjective well-being in older patients disabled by peripheral arterial disease or congestive heart failure.
  • In September 2001, the UM-OAIC was renewed. At that time, UM-OAIC researchers knew that rehabilitation programs appeared to be most effective if they included principles of task specific exercise conditioning and motor learning paradigms targeted to improve functional outcomes. To continue this work, two new Intervention studies were initiated, Exercise Training for Hemiparetic Stroke and Upper Extremity Training for Chronic Stroke. The Exercise Training for Hemiparetic Stroke study demonstrated that task-oriented treadmill training (T-AEX) improved ambulation (walking) and cardiovascular fitness in chronic hemiparetic stroke patients, up to even ten years after the initial stroke. The Upper Extremity Training for Chronic Stroke study showed that a task-oriented bilateral upper extremity (arm) training program with rhythmic auditory cueing (BATRAC) designed to improve reach and interlimb function was associated with neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to physically change in response to stimulus and activity) that translated motor gains into improved daily function of the upper extremity hemiparetic.
  • In September 2006, the UM-OAIC was renewed again. This five-years of funding allowed for the continued collaborations among a multidisciplinary team of investigators in the conduct of exercise rehabilitation in stroke, hip fracture, obesity, and other conditions associated with aging, and the translation of these findings into effective community programs. The award also provided opportunities for young investigators to be trained in the field of gerontology, and pilot and exploratory grant funding to investigators for projects related to the Center’s mission.
  • The National Institutes of Aging (NIA) notified Drs. Goldberg and Magaziner in September of 2011 that the University of Maryland Baltimore was awarded another five-year renewal to continue the work of the UM-OAIC. This funding will continue to support the collaborations among a multidisciplinary team of investigators focusing on innovative ways to maintain or restore independence for older adults. The funding will continue to support and nurture junior scholar investigators in the field of aging- related research and provide pilot and exploratory funding for new projects related to the Center’s mission.

Origin and Funding

The Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center Program was established in honor of the late Florida Senator, Claude D. Pepper to establish centers of excellence in geriatrics research and research career development to increase scientific knowledge leading to better ways to maintain or restore independence in older persons. The program is funded by the National Institute of Aging (NIA).

The University of Maryland Baltimore is one of 15 Pepper Centers located throughout the United States. Each Center focuses on increasing scientific knowledge to support older adults maintain their independence.

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