University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

Fukagawa, Kolodinsky Receive First Armin Grams Memorial Research Award

Naomi Fukagawa, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine Naomi Fukagawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Photo by Raj Chawla, UVM Medical Photography)

In honor of the late Armin Grams, Ph.D., a University of Vermont human development and family studies faculty member, and his commitment and passion for aging, the Center on Aging at UVM has established the Armin Grams Memorial Research Award to support pilot research projects that will lead to extramural funding in aging research. UVM Professor of Medicine Naomi Fukagawa, Ph.D., and Jane Kolodinsky, Ph.D., professor of community development and applied economics, have been announced as the award’s first recipients for their joint project proposal titled “Community-Based Nutrition Intervention in Affordable Housing for Elders.” The award presentation will take place on Friday, February 22, 2013 at 4 p.m. in the Health Science Research Facility Room 200.

In addition to increasing funded research focused on aging, Center on Aging Program Manager Jeanne Hutchins, M.A., says the goal of this $50,000 annual award is to support projects that seek to explore new questions or avenues of investigation, including basic, translational, clinical, and behavioral investigation.

Grams came to UVM in 1970 to establish the Human Development and Family Studies Program. During the earlier portion of his career, his work focused on parent-child relationships, but later transitioned to human relationships and sexuality. Following his retirement from UVM in 1990, he remained professionally active, developing and teaching several courses on gerontology, and playing an integral role in the establishment of both the former UVM Center for the Study of Aging and a Gerontology Certificate program. He also served in many national and international aging-related organizations, including as president of the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE). Grams passed away at the age of 78 in 2002.

Fukagawa and Kolodinsky are co-chairs of the UVM Food Systems Spire. Their pilot project aims to investigate the effectiveness of community-based nutrition education tools as a means to improve nutrition literacy of older residents and staff in affordable housing sites and to determine whether or not these tools can impact food intake, biomarkers of nutritional status and health, and indices of frailty. Among the tools they will be assessing are computer-based applications. Fukagawa and Kolodinsky are interested in learning whether these applications are useful in monitoring adherence to dietary recommendations and general health status, and could thereby assist staff in targeting individuals for earlier intervention. Their work will capitalize on a program developed by affordable housing provider Cathedral Square Corporation and will seek to determine whether the intervention contributes to positive outcomes associated with the Support And Services at Home (SASH) model: reduced hospitalizations or falls; control of chronic diseases; medication compliance; and identification of cognitive issues.

Learn more about the Center on Aging at UVM.

(Jeanne Hutchins, M.A., contributed to this report.)