URI signs pact with Dept.of Elderly Affairs to expand involvement with students and faculty

URI signs pact with Dept. of Elderly Affairs to expand involvement with students and faculty KINGSTON, R.I. — October 4, 1999 — The University of Rhode Island and the state Department of Elderly Affairs have signed an agreement to formalize and expand long-standing relationships to help meet the needs of older persons in Rhode Island. “There is hardly a college at the University that couldn’t have an impact on our aging population,” said Barbara Rayner, director of the state Department of Elderly Affairs during a recent ceremony at URI. “This new agreement will help bring students and elders together so they can share each other’s wisdom.” Before becoming director of the state agency, Rayner led the Coventry Department of Human Services during which she established an extensive network of links with URI students and faculty through the academic disciplines of gerontology, nursing, psychology, pharmacy, exercise science, human development and family studies and sociology. “As we see Rhode Island aging, we need to look at a wider scope of resources for residents who will be cared for in their homes and their communities,” Rayner said. The role of the Department of Elderly Affairs is to link community programs with resources and those resources include URI.” Rayner said she hopes to have the URI partnerships with community agencies in place by January. Rayner said she looks forward to strengthening an already solid link with Philip G. Clark, professor and director of URI’s Program in Gerontology and director of the Rhode Island Geriatric Education Center. She praised Clark for his tireless work on behalf of improving the health of older Rhode Islanders. Clark said this is an exciting step to further collaboration with the lead agency in dealing with issues facing older Rhode Islanders. “A particular area of growth is in the area of internships for students in aging-related settings and joint program development and research opportunities for faculty.” Clark and Rayner will be meeting in the near future to start mapping out strategies for the development of the partnerships. URI President Robert L. Carothers said the new agreement is another way the University wants to engage its students in active rather than passive learning, and is furthering its commitment to the people of Rhode Island. “When partnerships such as these are developed, our students, faculty and the wonderful people of Rhode Island benefit. This new agreement also pairs two people who have been dynamic advocates for the elderly. We’re proud to play such a major role in this work.” Rick Ryan, of Charlestown, president of the Rhode Island Adult Day Services Association, said those who work in senior services are trying to help people understand that aging and longevity are to be celebrated. “We’re hoping this kind of a collaboration eliminates some prejudices, and that people can see older individuals out enjoying life,” said Ryan who is a URI graduate. Barbara Inderlin, program director for the CRA Elder Case Management of Washington County and Coventry, said the URI students will be an important part of helping seniors remain in and enjoy their homes. -xxx- For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116