By the year 2020, more than 20 percent of the population is expected to reach the age of retirement. With the increase in the number of older adults living in Louisiana, there will come a greater need to ensure the successful aging of the population of our state. The Life Course and Aging Studies Initiative recognizes that successful aging begins at birth and continues through the rest of our lives. Therefore, we are committed to identifying the keys to successful aging and educating the public about these important issues.
Our mission is to:
- Promote collaborative research activities across many fields including the biological, social, and psychological sciences.
- Develop life course and aging education and curriculum.
- Collaborate with child and senior service organizations throughout the state.
Our faculty represent 6 colleges and 14 departments/programs at LSU and are actively engaged in advancing our knowledge of the human life course and aging.
Areas of research include the following:
- Cognitive Processes and Aging
- Early Childhood Development
- Education across the Lifespan
- Interpersonal Relations across the Lifespan
- Lifespan Development and Public Policy
- Physical Processes and Aging
- Sociological Aspects of Aging
Specific faculty interests can be found here. In addition, our faculty have been very successful in securing grant funding.
Recently funded grants include:
1. Multi-institutional Board of Regents Health Excellence Fund Grant - Katie Cherry and Robert Wood co-PI’s: “Multidisciplinary Study of Longevity and Healthy Aging in the Louisiana Population”. Total direct costs: $4,095,100 (Funded, January 2002 to December 2007)
2. USDA/CSREES Food and Agricultural Sciences National Needs Graduate Fellowship Grants Program: Human Sciences. Pam Monroe, PI. Co-PI’s include Katie Cherry, Janna Oetting, Loretta Pecchioni, J. Jill Suitor, Robert Wood. Total direct costs: $138,000 (Funded, July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2007)
3. Louisiana Educational Quality Support Fund (LEQSF): Research Competitiveness Grant. Dorothea Lerman, PI. “The role of reinforcement in treatment outcome: Promoting the efficacy of interventions for severe destructive behavior in individuals with developmental disabilities.” Total Direct Costs: $80,102 (Funded: 1999-2001)
Our faculty also design and implement programs in the community that provide needed help to Louisiana citizens of all ages.
Recent outreach programs include:
- ASTAR is a comprehensive early intervention program for young children with a diagnosis of Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, or Autistic-Like Features. The program is directed by Dorothea Lerman, Associate Professor in School Psychology.The objectives are to strengthen social, play, language, self-care, and school-readiness skills and to prevent or reduce problem behaviors, such as self-injury, aggression, and tantrums. The program includes (a) comprehensive assessment of abilities in various areas, including social interaction, language, self-care, and basic school-readiness skills (e.g., attending, imitation, compliance), (b) classroom-based instruction focusing on individualized assessment and treatments, (c) parent education and support, and (d) ongoing consultation and follow-up services in the child’s classroom year-round.
- Dr. Katie Cherry teaches a 6-week course on Memory in Adulthood with the Lagniappe Studies Unlimited program. Lagniappe Studies Unlimited is sponsored by Louisiana State University’s Division of Continuing Education and provides people who are 50 years and older a chance to investigate interesting topics and current issues in a relaxed but stimulating environment. Dr. Cherry’s Memory in Adulthood course provides a broad overview of various aspects of memory in later adulthood. Topics include normal memory changes with aging, common misconceptions about memory, strategies to improve memory, atypical memory problems, and adaptation to changes in memory.
Student Research and Awards
Graduate students in Life Course and Aging have also been very successful in securing funding and conducting high-quality research. The success of two of our students is described below.
Susan Brigman, a graduate student in developmental psychology under the direction of Dr. Katie Cherry, Chair of Life Course and Aging Studies, was awarded the LCA Student Enhancement award for the 2000-2001 academic year. Susan’s research focus has been on age-related memory changes in later adulthood. Her master’s thesis, which examined age-related changes in memory and learning, was awarded the American Psychological Association’s Adult Development and Aging (Division 20) Retirement Research Foundation award for outstanding masters research.
Micah Klumpp, a certified audiologist, is a recipient of the Graduate Fellowship Award and a beginning doctoral student in communication sciences and disorders at LSU. After receiving her Bachelor and Master of Arts of degrees from LSU, she practiced audiology in rural Alabama serving an aging population with balance and hearing impairments. Micah immediately observed the need for audiologists to collaborate with many other healthcare fields in clinical practice and in research to better serve their patients. With the LCA Graduate Fellowship Award, Micah plans to pursue research in 1) successful aging in patients with Meniere’s disease, 2) the relationship of exercise, aging, and hearing loss and 3) the relationship of vestibular impairments and dyscalculia and/or language impairments throughout the life course.