CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 335-8034
Release: Oct. 11, 2000
UI receives CDC grant for nationwide study of elder abuse
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- An estimated two million cases of elder abuse and neglect
occur in the United States each year, with many seniors falling victim to
abuse by family members. However, elder abuse is a hidden and often misunderstood
public health problem that lacks adequate research and effective interventions.
To help address the problem, University of Iowa researchers will use a two-year,
$421,712 grant awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
to study how certain laws and regulations impact public health investigations
of elder abuse in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The grant was
effective Sept. 30.
The study will be led by Gerald Jogerst, M.D., UI associate professor of
family medicine, who has published long-term studies on detecting and responding
to elder abuse in Iowa. Data from the CDC-funded study will be used to assist
policy makers in improving health laws designed to protect the nation's most
"Elder abuse is a growing problem that concerns many health care providers,
including nurses, physicians and social workers," Jogerst said. "We
need to better understand the different state structures that are in place
to protect this growing elderly population."
A main goal of the investigation is to analyze the wording of elder abuse
legislation, including the definitions or terms related to a "dependent/vulnerable"
adult, elder mistreatment and elder abuse case substantiation.
"Definitions of a dependent adult vary from state to state," Jogerst
said. "In addition, elderly people with cognitive problems can slip into
dependency gradually. It can be difficult to say when they become dependent."
The researchers also will study differences between reported and substantiated
cases of domestic elder abuse as well as characteristics of the investigators
and the areas (districts) in which they work.
The research grant is sponsored by the CDC Division of Violence Prevention,
directed by Rodney Hammond, Ph.D., and by the CDC Public Health Law Program,
directed by Anthony D. Moulton, Ph.D. Both congratulated Jogerst on the high
scientific quality of his proposal and for focusing on research that policy
makers can eventually use to advance the health of seniors.
In addition to Jogerst, the research team includes other investigators from
the UI Department of Family Medicine as well as the UI Center on Aging, the
UI School of Social Work, the UI Office of Consultation and Research in Medical
Education, and the UI Program in Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities
in the College of Medicine.
University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between
the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient
care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.