Interdisciplinary Aspects of Healthy Aging

Course content

General introduction to the course

Recent years have seen major progress in understanding ‘healthy aging’, how to ensure life-course processes that enable older adults to live independently in good health, stay engaged in social relationships within families and communities, and uphold social roles important to well-being. The course, offered by the Center for Healthy Aging (CEHA), University of Copenhagen, on behalf of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) network, will focus on exploring the aging phenomena through an interdisciplinary lens with a special focus on the concept of vitality. It relates to processes from the cellular up to the societal level and has not only physical but also important psychological and social dimensions, which affect every facet of life. The course will take a starting point in the book: ‘Growing Older Without Feeling Old: On Vitality and Ageing’ by Professor Rudi Westendorp.

 

Objectives & course format

The objective of this course is to gain interdisciplinary knowledge and research experience in the field of aging to better understand how older people can preserve their vitality and enjoy a robust older age. The following sub objectives will be achieved over three weeks in July 2019.

 

Week one: The main objective is to provide knowledge on the interdisciplinary nature of the aging process and how to evaluate the strengths and limitations of this research field. There will be lectures that provide a bird’s eye view on vitality and aging and how these concepts are conceptualized. Additional lectures will delve deeper into disciplinary examples of research of specific aspects, while keeping the interdisciplinary nature of aging research in mind. The remainder of week will be devoted to student presentations on aging in their own discipline and country.

 

Week two: The main objective is to design an interdisciplinary research project. You will work in small groups. In the mornings, there will be hands-on research experiences, spanning the disciplines that comprise CEHA. Students will be exposed to scientific methods from the laboratory-, computational-, and humanistic sciences. During the afternoons, the students will conceptualize an interdisciplinary projects supervised by researchers within CEHA.

 

Week three: The main objective is to learn how interdisciplinary research projects are written down and evaluated. You will work in groups, writing a grant proposal, which will be presented and defended in a mock grant evaluation at the end of the third week. An individual written proposal will be submitted for evaluation on a pass/fail basis at the end of the course.

 

Please see a more thorough description at: http://healthyaging.ku.dk/for_students/iaru_summerschool/

Education

MSc in Public Health Science - elective course

Learning outcome

After the course, the participants will gain:

Knowledge:

  • On aging as a complex phenotype that necessitates research integrating concepts from the humanities, social sciences, epidemiology, neurology, physiology, public health, and molecular biology.
  • On defining the necessary methods that can be used to conduct aging research.
  • On the principles for carrying out interdisciplinary aging research.

 

Skills:

  • To evaluate and discuss the essential concepts of aging from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • To critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of aging research presented in the course.
  • To discuss and evaluate research methods presented.
  • To conduct simple experiments, statistical analyses or qualitative analyses under supervision.
  • To synthesize and present current knowledge and practical experiences into a research proposal.
  • To transform a research proposal into a grant application.

 

Competences:

  • To independently adapt to a new environment and take responsibility for professional development.
  • To collaborate and effectively communicate with peers from different disciplines.
  • To critically evaluate, to acquire new knowledge, and to reflect on how this can be incorporated into other contexts.
  • To evaluate presentations on research proposals of peers.

The teaching methods in this course include: Lectures, close supervision in practical projects and interdisciplinary groups, group discussions, and presentations.

Westendorp, Rudi (2015): Growing Older Without Feeling Old: On Vitality and Ageing, Scribe Publications.

 

Additionally, a number of research articles, which vary from year to year, depending on the researchers contributing to the lectures.

Students with a keen interest in aging research, and good command of written and spoken English are welcome to apply for this course.

Completed BSc degree.

Bachelor students in their 3rd or 4th year are welcome to apply.

Oral
Collective
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
ECTS
5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Course participation
Written examination
- Active participation (80% attendance) in the course incl. an oral group presentation (defense of the research proposal) and critical evaluation of presentations of peers.
- Written grant application, handed in individually.

Active participation in the research projects, the interdisciplinary work and the oral presentation is a prerequisite for writing the report.
Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Knowledge:

  • On aging as a complex phenotype that necessitates research integrating concepts from the humanities, social sciences, epidemiology, neurology, physiology, public health, and molecular biology.
  • On defining the necessary methods that can be used to conduct aging research.
  • On the principles for carrying out interdisciplinary aging research.

 

Skills:

  • To evaluate and discuss the essential concepts of aging from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • To critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of aging research presented in the examination.
  • To discuss and evaluate research methods presented.
  • To synthesize current knowledge and practical experiences into a research proposal.
  • To transform a research proposal into a grant application.

 

Competences:

  • To collaborate and effectively communicate with peers from different disciplines.
  • To critically evaluate, to acquire new knowledge, and to reflect on how this can be incorporated into other contexts.

Short courses / Copenhagen Summer University

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 32
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Project work
  • 50
  • Class Seminar
  • 6
  • Excursions
  • 3
  • Exam
  • 27
  • English
  • 138