Valentine Villa | Spotlight

Latinos growing
old in L.A.

In Los Angeles County, Latinos over 65 years old have a much higher rate of obesity (31 percent) than does the overall elder population (18 percent); and Latinos also have a higher rate of arthritis diagnoses (58 percent vs. 50 percent).

Those are among the many measures in The State of Aging and Health Among Older Latinos in Los Angeles 2009, a report issued by the Los Angeles Partnership for Evidence-Based Solutions in Elder Health.

The partnership identified key health priorities facing older Latinos in Los Angeles by examining a variety of public-health, census, and economic data that describe the demographic, geographic, and health profiles of Latinos aged 65 years and older. From its analysis emerged several key dynamics affecting health, included poverty, economic insecurity, barriers to health care access, prevalence of chronic diseases, and disability.

The report also makes policy suggestions; and the partnership issued detailed “calls to action” to address the following:

1. Arthritis
2. Brain Health
3. Depression
4. Diabetes
5. Economic Insecurity
6. Osteoporosis

The full report is at this site:

City honors Villa for service to seniors

Social work professor recognized for research
on aging Latinos in Los Angeles

Photo of Valentine Villa.

For her work with senior citizens in the City of Los Angeles and for her contributions to The State of Aging and Health Among Older Latinos in Los Angeles 2009 report, Cal State L.A. Professor of Social Work Valentine M. Villa was recently presented a Certificate of Commendation by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Villa is co-chair of research for the Los Angeles Partnership for Evidence-Based Solutions in Elder Health, initiated in 2007. The State of Aging report, put together by this partnership, highlights policy recommendations and suggested actions to address health disparities, including ways to promote healthy aging among Latinos in Los Angeles. For the full report, go to

Photo of a healthy foursome from the report.

At Cal State L.A., Villa also directs the University’s Applied Gerontology Institute. The Institute aims to improve the quality of care and delivery of services to older persons through the interdisciplinary education and training of professionals, paraprofessionals, family members, community agency personnel, and volunteers. The Institute coordinates a certificate program in Applied Gerontology. The program helps individuals increase their understanding and effectiveness with older populations, especially the multiethnic and multiracial elderly.

Villa’s research examines how public policies affect on the health and economic status of the elderly population. Her work has focused on Medicare reform, privatizing Social Security, and the impacts of welfare-policy changes on minority and low-income populations.

Villa, who holds a Ph.D. in gerontology from USC, was also recently honored by the Los Angeles City Council for her contributions to the aging community.

Chart on the Prevalence of Chronic Conditions Among Older Adults Age 65+ in Los Angeles County.

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