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September 2016 Issue/Volume 10, Number 09



Research Participant Registry Goes Live!

As you all know we have been collecting willing participants for the Center on Aging Registry and at this time we have over 325 participants. For the past few months we have been trialing the registry with a few CoA members and their needs for participants in their research. We have worked out the "kinks" and are happy to say that the registry is now open to be used.  The primary goal of the Center on Aging Research Participant Registry is to link people in the community, who would like to participate in research, to aging-related studies at the University of Utah.  The investigations that we support cover a variety of topics concerned with the health and well-being of older adults.  If you would like to use the registry we will need to know your study requirements (i.e. selected age groups, medical conditions), your IRB approval and a formal request sent to Heather Podolan (


In the News...


Congratulations to CoA member, Dr. Kathie Supiano. Kathie will be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Aging Alliance on 9/30/16 at their annual conference. The mission of the Utah Aging Alliaiance is to promote the exchange of ideas and information about aging.




farellCenter on Aging member and Division of Geriatrics faculty member Timothy Farrell, MD, AGSFwas named Director of University of Utah Health Sciences Interprofessional Education (UUHS IPE) effective 9/1/16 after serving as Interim Director since 1/1/16. Dr. Farrell is responsible for IPE activities involving the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, the Colleges of Health, Nursing, Pharmacy and Social Work, and national IPE organizations.



Utah Commission on Aging

The College of Architecture under Dean and CoA member Keith Diaz-Moore, recently engaged The Commission on Aging and other experts from Salt Lake County Aging Services and the U College of Nursing Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program to review and judge a series of video productions identifying key aging issues and the associated social condition. The project engaged students with sectors of our aging community including some of the most vulnerable populations. These projects help to inform the way we think about solving problems and designing our communities to address the impact of an aging society.

An ongoing related project is The Wonderment, "Conversations with Elders" led by Matt Thomas encouraging vital connections through all generations. The program will be promoted among local and international community of kids, teachers, and facilitators. This is an outstanding example of collaboration between community, government, and academia. Please visit the official page at


Utah Aging & Disability Resource Connection

                                                      Grecc            ADRC           ORH


Utah Aging and Disability Resource COnnection, in collaboration with the VA Office of Rural Health and VA GRECC, created a successful model impacting Utah veterans: COVER to COVER "Connecting Older Veterans (Especially Rural) to Community or Veteran Eligible Resources". COVER to COVER has created a New Access Point for rural veterans at local ADRCs, Area Agencies on Aging and Centers for Independent Living providing screening, information, and navigation assistance to connect to VA benefits. Contact information is

Click on this link below to view a video highlighting this program's benefits:



Member Spotlight

Below are two of our 2016 CoA Pilot Awardees:

raphaelKalani Raphael, MD, MS primary research uses observational methods to identify which CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) patients with normal serum bicarbonate might benefit from sodium bicarbonate as well as to identify the optimum target bicarbonate concentration in CKD. He also conducts interventional studies in CKD patients with normal serum bicarbonate to determine whether or not this therapy preserves renal function. If sodium bicarbonate were shown to improve outcomes in CKD patients with normal serum bicarbonate, it would be an inexpensive and generally safe therapy that would change current clinical practice. When metabolic acidosis (low serum bicarbonate) develops in chronic kidney disease patients, sodium bicarbonate is typically prescribed to correct metabolic acidosis in the hope that it will improve nutritional and bone health and prevent CKD progression. However, the vast majority of CKD patients have normal serum bicarbonate concentration and are not treated with sodium bicarbonate. Several lines of evidence suggest that sodium bicarbonate may be beneficial in CKD patients even if they have do not have acidosis.

Dr. Raphael also has an interest in the use of sodium bicarbonate to improve outcomes in older individuals without CKD. Studies that he has conducted have found that low bicarbonate levels are a risk factor for death in this setting. The Center on Aging is funding a pilot study to determine the effect of sodium bicarbonate on acid-base parameters in older individuals without CKD who have low bicarbonate, which will form the basis for larger research studies in the future.

walkerAshley Walker, PhD primary research interest is vascular aging. Her research seeks to determine the molecular mechanisms that lead to age-related vascular dysfunction, such as determining the roles of oxidative stress, inflammation, and telomere dysfunction. In addition, she is interested in determining the functional consequences of age-related vascular dysfunction, with a particular focus on the development of atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Walker recently found that increases in large artery stiffness, as occur with advancing age in healthy individuals, can lead to cerebral artery impairments. With assistance from the Center on Aging Pilot Award, she plans to extend these findings to determine if these cerebral artery impairments are associated with deleterious consequences in the brain. In addition, she seeks to determine if age-related increases in large artery stiffness can be prevented, leading to preserved cerebral artery and cognitive function with advancing age.

Dr. Walker earned her BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Oregon State University and her PhD in Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado Boulder. She performed postdoctoral fellowships at Cedars Sinai Medical Center as well as in the laboratory of Dr. Anthony Donato and Lisa Lesniewski at the University of Utah. She became a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Geriatrics at the University of Utah in 2015.


Member Updates/Center on Aging Membership Directory

As a mostly virtual Center, we depend on the accuracy and timeliness of our Web presence.  Center members are urged to review and update their membership directory information. Please view your information on the Center’s Web site. Send any updates or requests for changes to Heather at heather.podolan@hsc.utah.eduor


For past issues, please visit our NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES PAGE.

About our Logo

The bristlecone pine tree (Pinus longaeva) - the earth’s oldest inhabitant with a life span of almost 5,000 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.



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




Last Updated: 6/9/21