Cal State L.A. awarded $55,000 California Community Foundation grant

April 16, 2015

Applied Gerontology Institute at Cal State L.A. receives funding for caregiver, support training

Cal State L.A. has been awarded a $55,000 grant from the California Community Foundation to launch a training program for adults caring for family members with Parkinson’s disease and related brain disorders.

The goal is to reduce stress and burden among caregivers and prepare them to more effectively assess depression and anxiety while assisting family members.

The grant was awarded to the University’s Applied Gerontology Institute because its research and work reflect the California Community Foundation’s mission to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people in Los Angeles County, said Denise Tom, program manager for the foundation.

This evidenced-based training program will be led by Professor Valentine Villa, who directs the Applied Gerontology Institute. The Institute is part of the College of Health and Human Services at Cal State L.A.

Villa specializes in researching health disparities among the aging population. She uses that research to help develop programs and services to improve the health and social circumstances of minority and low-income populations. Her previous research and training projects have created programs in the greater East Los Angeles area that improve caregiver stress and burden among bilingual and monolingual Latino caregivers.

“It is important that we recognize that the U.S. population is not only aging, but is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. This will impact all levels of society, from institutions to families to individuals,” Villa said. “We must continue to develop programs, such as the Parkinson’s Caregiver Support program, that empower older persons and their families to manage the diseases and challenges that often come with aging by affording them informative and culturally competent programs.”

Villa is also a professor of social work at Cal State L.A. Her research has been published in various journals and has focused on Medicare reform, long-term care, Social Security, and the impacts of health and social welfare-policy changes on minority and low-income populations. She holds a Ph.D. in Gerontology from USC. 

The Institute coordinates a certificate program in Applied Gerontology and helps individuals increase their understanding and effectiveness when working with older people, especially those from multiethnic and multiracial communities.

“We are very excited about this prestigious award and so proud of our Applied Gerontology Institute,” said Dean Beatrice Yorker of the College of Health and Human Services.

The California Community Foundation unites the power of philanthropy with innovative strategies to create greater equity, opportunity and prosperity in Los Angeles County. 

Photo: Cal State L.A. Professor Valentine Villa receives a Certificate of Commendation from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2010 for her work with senior citizens in the City of Los Angeles. (Credit: Cal State L.A.)

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