With professionals from UTHCT’s Center for Healthy Aging, University Health Clinic offers seniors specialized health care

Friday, June 16, 2006

The health care needs of senior adults are unique, and they deserve the specialized care provided by medical professionals at the Center for Healthy Aging at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler.

Open to the public, this care is now available at the new University Health Clinic, conveniently located at 3310 Patriot Drive, near the corner of University Boulevard (Spur 248) and Patriot Drive in Tyler. One of the UT Health Science Center physicians practicing at the clinic is Nirmala Bangalore, MD, who completed a fellowship in geriatrics. She is board certified in internal medicine and is in the process of obtaining an added certification in geriatrics.

Geriatricians are specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of common ailments of seniors, such as mental confusion, urinary incontinence, instability and gait disorders, failure to thrive, and depression.

“Older adults often have multiple medical problems. My goal is to treat your medical problems as a whole, to find where they interact in order to improve your quality of life, and to keep you functional and independent for as long as possible,” Dr. Bangalore said.

Dr. Bangalore and the other University Physician Associates doctors at University Health Clinic offer comprehensive and high-quality care. The 10,000-square-foot clinic has 10 exam rooms, including a procedure room. Allergy testing, radiology, and laboratory services are provided on site so that health care is delivered in a timely manner at one location.

“We face several challenges in providing care for older East Texans,” said Kent Davis, MD, director of the Center for Healthy Aging. “A huge population shift is under way, with people over 65 now the fastest growing segment of the population. Yet access to health care workers who are skilled in caring for older patients is very limited.”

About 25 percent of the households in East Texas have at least one person who is over age 65. At UTHSCT, 55 percent of all inpatients are over age 65. And UTHSCT medical professionals participate in more than 70,000 patient encounters with seniors each year.

The Center for Healthy Aging is a comprehensive approach to wellness that brings together physicians, programs, and services dedicated to patients’ continuing health, as well as the health of mature adults throughout East Texas, said Dr. Davis, who is board certified in internal medicine with an added qualification in geriatric medicine. The Senior Assessment Center provides a centralized, team approach to evaluate seniors’ health care needs with a focus on improving the health of the frail elderly. Also planned are:

  • An Aging Research and Treatment – or ART – Unit, to provide advanced inpatient care for senior adults;
  • A Geriatric Fellowship Program, to offer physicians advanced training in geriatrics; and
  • Continuing biomedical and clinical research into diseases that affect the aging process.

The Center for Healthy Aging focuses on five key areas of expertise: clinical service, public health and outreach, public policy and advocacy, education, and research. Free valet parking is available for patients who see physicians at the Riter Center on the UTHSCT campus, 11937 U.S. Highway 271 in Tyler.

Another aspect of the Center for Healthy Aging is the Ornelas Activity Center, located across the street from The University of Texas at Tyler. The Ornelas Activity Center is a 23,000-square-foot facility at 3402 Old Omen Road in Tyler. It has a large auditorium with a stage, as well as numerous smaller meeting rooms. Free seminars on topics of interest to older individuals are held monthly at the Ornelas Center, which is operated by UTHSCT.

“One of our goals is to partner with the seniors of East Texas to help maintain and improve their health and function and to help them live healthy and active lives for as long as possible,” Dr. Davis said.

For more information about the University Health Clinic, the Center for Healthy Aging, or the Health Center, call (903) 877-5122.

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.