Healthy and successful aging is possibly the most important research outcome and policy decision related to aging and the aging population. It was 23 years ago that Jack Rowe and Robert Kahn (1987) revitalized research and discussion on the concept of usual and successful aging. This effort through the MacArthur Foundation and other research networks created one of the most sustained and energetic research enterprises in the history of aging and the National Institute on Aging. Owing to the overwhelming public health implications of healthy and successful aging, recent research has made significant advances on definitions, approaches, and methodologies. Unfortunately, the implementation of findings to applications is still lagging behind. We propose that the time is ripe to examine, evaluate, and consolidate these findings toward new directions to focus on implementing the public health mandate to improve individual and population health and successful aging. We have assembled an eight-member interdisciplinary senior b-BSSR team who had collectively contributed to significant thinking in the field and capable of implementing new directions. This team will work together with gerontological peers to identify what we know and how to forge forward. We would share our thinking on the web and invite peer criticisms and input. The R13 project will involve a first conference on definitions, mechanisms, and methodologies with simultaneous webcast to a wide audience. A second conference using similar procedures will address proactive, preventive, and corrective adaptations to promote and enhance public health among the older populations. A third conference, to be held at a GSA meeting, will employ a previously successful GSA procedure to mentor emerging scholars in the writing of interdisciplinary R21 proposals. The outcome of this R13 project will be an R01 proposal conceptualized by the 8- member interdisciplinary b-BSSR team to test the next generation of research directions in healthy and successful aging.

Public Health Relevance

This R13 project is designed to create an 8-member interdisciplinary basic behavioral and social science research team to increase the sophistication of theoretical, methodological, and analytical approaches to address one of the most basic and essential public health mandate of healthy and successful aging. The project aims to provide directions to highlight proactive efforts, interventions that can promote healthy and successful aging, as well as ethical issues related to implementation. The planned outcome of the R13 project is the submission of an R01 proposal to provide new directions that could effectively promote individual and population health and successful aging.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Conference (R13)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-SRLB-B (M1))
Program Officer
Nielsen, Lisbeth
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Georgia
Other Health Professions
Schools of Public Health
United States
Zip Code
Martin, Peter; Kelly, Norene; Kahana, Boaz et al. (2015) Defining successful aging: a tangible or elusive concept? Gerontologist 55:14-25
Bell, Christina L; Chen, Randi; Masaki, Kamal et al. (2014) Late-life factors associated with healthy aging in older men. J Am Geriatr Soc 62:880-8