Representative Yoho was an engaged and enthusiastic participant in our discussion of cognitive assessment and intervention for older adults.
With the encouragement and support of the Government Relations office and Science Directorate of the American Psychological Association, a group of faculty in Clinical and Health Psychology met with Rep. Ted Yoho, DVM, Congressman for the district including University of Florida.
Representative Yoho was welcomed by both the Dean of the College of Public Health and Health Professions, Michael G. Perri, PhD, ABPP, and Michael S. Okun, MD, Adelaide Lackner, Professor and Chair of Neurology, Medical Director, Parkinson’s Foundation, and Executive Director of the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health (our host for the meeting).
The meeting had two broad goals:
- to help educate the Representative about the role of psychology in addressing the major public health issues of aging, and
- to demonstrate to the Congressman how federal investments in psychological research at UF (e.g., via National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Department of Defense, Veteran’s Administration and other agencies) has supported a robust program of research on cognitive assessment and cognitive interventions for older adults. NIH/NIA investment in the Alzheimers Disease Research Centers and Claude Denson Peppper Older Americans’ Independence Centers has further strengthened the infrastructure for research aimed at reducing physical and cognitive frailty, and CHP faculty have been actively engaged colleagues and core leaders in these centers.
With scientific training himself, the Representative made a number of helpful observations and suggestions. Discussion initiated by him considered the role of inflammatory markers in producing some of the cognitive aging phenomena discussed, the ability to partner with DOD/VA on brain health initiatives, and whether research could tolerate higher and more protracted dosages of interventions that appear to be effective.
Below are screen shots of some of the quick synopses presented by our faculty (who are identified below). We appreciated the Congressman’s time on a busy, rainy day of meeting constituents, and he left the meeting affirming how helpful this insight into our psychology and aging portfolio would be to him.