Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Improving Care and Health of Diverse Aging Populations

Naoko Muramatsu headshot.

Dr. Naoko Muramatsu, professor of community health sciences and fellow at the Institute for Health Research and Policy, conducts research that improves the quality of care and well-being of diverse aging populations. Trained in health services organization and policy, sociology and population and organizational studies, she advances health equity by identifying critical factors that lead to disparities in stressors, resources and health over the life course and by intervening on those factors. Her research aims to improve care and health of frail older adults with limited resources, workers in precarious work conditions and people aging with disabilities and their caregivers in racial, ethnic and linguistic minority communities.

“Promoting Seniors’ Health with Home Care Aides (Pro-Home)” is Muramatsu’s ongoing project funded by the National Institute on Aging and conducted with a multidisciplinary research team. Pro-Home tests a home-based physical activity program among community-dwelling frail older adults who cannot participate in evidence-based physical activity recommended for those with higher physical function. This research project partners with caregivers, providers, care managers, community-based organizations and state agencies. The project empowers home care aides to bring a safe physical activity program to older, mostly African American and Latino recipients of Medicaid home care.

Muramatsu and her team have also demonstrated how state and community-level environments matter in vulnerable older adults, especially those with disabilities and limited family support. Multilevel analysis of 10-year national longitudinal survey data of older Americans showed that living in a state with higher levels of support for home and community-based services was associated with a lower risk of nursing home admission among childless older adults, higher likelihood of dying at home, and lower levels of depressive symptoms. Muramatsu’s ongoing quantitative and qualitative research investigates the interplay among policies, societal norms, work, health and well-being in aging populations in the United States and other countries including Japan, home of the oldest population in the world.

Muramatsu facilitates dissemination and implementation of innovative, sustainable programs and helps societies prepare for unprecedented population aging. Muramatsu develops intellectually stimulating colearning environments for researchers, students and community partners and advances global research on aging, work and health in the context of ongoing technological innovations.

More from 2019 Healthviews Magazine