February 2, 2001
Volume XXXIV, No. 5


Of Note

Media Report


UTHSC's Espino named to crucial NIA advisory panel

From now until 2005, a Health Science Center faculty physician will play a key role in plotting the course of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the lead federal agency supporting and conducting aging-related research and training. Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala in January announced the appointment of four new members to the NIA's National Advisory Council on Aging. One of the appointees is Dr. David V. Espino, professor of family medicine and geriatrics at the Health Science Center.

Advisory Council members, appointed for overlapping terms of four years, advise NIA on the conduct and support of biomedical, social and behavioral research; training; health information dissemination; and other programs involving aging and the diseases and needs of the aged. Dr. Espino is chief of the division of community geriatrics in the department of family and community medicine. He also serves as the medical director of the Cognitive Disorders Clinic in the University Health System and has an active nursing home practice. "This appointment by the National Institute on Aging gives recognition to Dr. Espino's accomplishments in geriatric medicine and the aging program at the Health Science Center," said Dr. Arlan Richardson, director of the university's Aging Research and Education Center and senior career research scientist in the South Texas Veterans Health Care System.

Dr. Espino is conducting an NIA-funded longitudinal study of Mexican-American elders in the Southwest. The study, which began in 1992, focuses on epidemiological issues such as medication usage, hip fractures and validation of instruments used to measure cognition. A graduate of The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Dr. Espino is collaborating with Dr. Kyriacos Markides of the same institution. The longitudinal study, conducted door to door among Mexican-Americans over age 65, encompasses Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas and California.

"The preliminary findings indicate that Mexican-American elders in our study group are more functionally impaired than similar non-Hispanic white populations," Dr. Espino said. "They are poorer and have less education. The overall goal of the research is to provide ongoing longitudinal information on a variety of geriatric issues confronting the Mexican-American elder population."

Twelve of the 18 NIA Advisory Council members are from the health and scientific disciplines, particularly the biological and medical sciences, and six are from the general public, including public policy, law, health policy, economics and management fields. The NIA is part of the National Institutes of Health within the Public Health Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.