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May 2010, Volume 4, Number 5

A publication of the University of Utah Center on Aging

News and Events

Michael Caserta Named to the Rice-Chair in Healthy Aging

Michael Caserta, Ph.D., Professor in the Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program, Adjunct Professor, Department of Health Promotion and Education and Faculty Associate, Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence has been appointed the inaugural chair of the Robert L. and Joyce T. Rice Presidential Endowed Chair in Healthy Aging beginning July, in the College of Nursing.

The Rice legacy began in 1952 when Mr. Rice opened Salt Lake City's first fitness gym; later becoming part of the world's largest physical fitness chain, and he was an active senior up until he lost a battle with cancer in 2007. The Rice's "felt so strongly about the importance of healthy aging" said Maureen Keefe, Ph.D., R.N., the College of Nursing Dean, "that they placed this gift as a statement in support of staying active and living well, no matter our age." Keefe said the chair will become "the cornerstone of the college's new Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Education."

Caserta, published widely in the areas of spousal bereavement, family care-giving, health promotion and self-care, was selected after an extensive national search. Caserta said as chair he will work to develop healthy-aging advocacy initiatives, "facilitate and expand work in healthy aging and broaden the educational mission" of healthy aging. In his research, his focus will be "improving health outcomes," and "nurturing young investigators and faculty" and will work toward campus-wide interdisciplinary collaboration, with the goal of fostering young leaders in the field of gerontology and healthy aging. On a personal note Caserta said, "I'm looking forward to future collaborative efforts with CoA members in pursuing the healthy aging agendas across campus and beyond," and is "open to whatever can happen."

Caserta's recent work includes the newly-funded "Individualized Dual Process Intervention for Bereaved Partners After Cancer Death" [Component Project of P01 Program Grant: "Enhancing End of Life and Bereavement Outcomes Among Cancer Caregivers" NIH, NCI], and the development of the Pathfinders Program (funded by the Ben B. and Iris M. Margolis Foundation), which focused on ways to improve the self-care practices of older widows and widowers; and Living After Loss, a study combining elements of daily living and self-care education with traditional berevement support. Caserta has a B.A. in Sociology, a M.S. in Sociology: Medical Sociology emphasis, and a Ph.D. in Health Education.

CoA Membership Updates

As we approach the 5-year anniversary of the Center on Aging, we will be asking members to renew their membership. We would like these membership renewals to correspond with the beginning of the new academic calendar in August, so watch for the request, and work on updating your resumes through the summer.

Rocky Mountain Geriatrics Conference - Save the Date

The 8th Annual Rocky Mountain Geriatrics Conference, "Active Aging: Bringing the Science of Exercise to the Community" will be held September 15-17, 2010 at the Park City Marriott. Please mark your calendars now, and post the attached flyer in your departments. For questions or more information, please contact or call (801) 582-1565 xn 2435.

Bristlecone Pine

About our logo: The bristlecone pine tree (Pinus longaeva) the earth's oldest inhabitant with a life span of 4,000 years is found only in Utah and five other western states. Its extraordinary longevity and ability to adapt and survive in extremely harsh environmental conditions above 10,000 feet embodies the investigative spirit and mission of the Utah Center on Aging.

If you have questions about the University of Utah Center on Aging, please visit us online at 801-585-9540 or


Mark A. Supiano, MD
Executive Director - Center on Aging

Last Updated: 6/9/21