The new Trent Centre for Aging and Society is extending its resources to develop new research projects, educational programs, and community engagement through partnership with larger institutions who share the common multidisciplinary, and holistic approach to aging.
Trent Centre for Aging and Society recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the York University’s Centre for Aging Research and Education (YU-CARE), linking to new research questions as well as allowing the two centers to draw on each others existing expertise.
“The partnership signals to the institutions of Trent and York university. As well as signaling to Peterborough, and Toronto on how committed we are to broadening our influence beyond just our own institutions,” says Dr. Mark Skinner, geography professor and the founding director of the centre at Trent. However, the MOU doesn’t commit the centre to doing anything other than trying to find ways to work together, he added.
The reasons for partnership with YU-CARE as explained by Dr. Skinner was that they have been working with the members of YU-CARE for quite a while, and they have provided them with a framework for recognition, and to access resources. An example of a long standing partnership of this is Dr. Sally Chivers, professor in the Departments of Canadian Studies and English, and Dr. James Struthers, professor of history and Canadian studies who had been working on a major multimillion seven-year international project looking at re-imagining long term residential care.
The partnership has allowed them to develop new research projects like “Improving outcomes for older adults during acute care transitions in rural and suburban communities”, a project Dr. Skinner is in collaboration with Dr. Mary Fox of YU-CARE. This project highlights the idea of one of the reasons why they were excited to have them, which is the rural nature of Peterborough and suburban nature of Toronto.
On the education front, the partnership has created pathways for undergraduate and graduate students between small, research intensive versus comprehensive university programs, pointed our Dr. Skinner.
Both centres are setting up continuing education programs around aging; York already has one in place running through their faculty of health, which Trent will be able to draw on in-terms of the framework, although they are already participating in Trent’s continuing education.
The center this year is offering a course on aging for the first time in fall of 2015, one any student can take. It is a second year foundational course on different perspectives on aging, and is online so as to be accessible to every student including at the various campuses of Trent. It will be run by nursing, but co-taught by the members at the Trent Aging and Society Center. Similarly, a graduate, multi-perspective course on aging is also underway, besides the continuing education courses that they have developed. The other new prospect they have undertaken is a post graduate certificate in Elder Abuse in partnership with Elder Abuse Ontario, expected to be offered in the spring of 2016.
“We are hosting in 2018 the second North American Network in Aging Studies (NANAS), in partnership with the centers of York, and McMaster,” said Dr. Skinner, further expanding on the benefits of having an MOU in place. Meanwhile, the the Trent Centre for Aging and Society is looking to develop partnerships with Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging at McMaster University, and the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at National University of Ireland Galway, in the coming years.