Austin locals earn awards from state organization

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission recently instituted a new award system to recognize organizations around the state that work with older adults. In May, HHSC announced its first-ever class of Innovators in Aging awards recipients.

The state recognized four institutions and one individual with the awards, including a researcher at The University of Texas and a clinic at UT Health Austin.

Namkee Choi is a professor and chairperson in gerontology—or the study of aging—at the UT School of Social Work. HHSC recognized Choi with the Innovators in Aging award for her research on problem-solving therapy delivered to older adults through video conferencing, according to a HHSC media release.

HHSC also recognized the cognitive disorders center at UT Health Austin with an award. The center, according to its website, provides evaluation and treatment to patients and families who are living with conditions that impact memory, behavior and other cognitive functions.

UT Health Austin opened in October 2017 with four specialized clinics and has since expanded to 21, including the cognitive disorders center. Recently, UT Health Austin expanded services at its Livestrong Cancer Institutes, adding hematologic oncology to care for patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia and other blood-related cancers.

According to HSSC’s website, nominees for the Innovators in Aging awards must “improve the quality of life for older adults in Texas.” The awards aim to highlight the achievements of individuals and organizations throughout the state in an effort to inspire others working with older adults.

The other award recipients were Meals on Wheels of Tarrant County, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Geriatric Task Force in Dallas and Fort Worth-based Workforce Enhancement in Healthy Aging and Independent Living.