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Current views for addressing aging populations in the United States swing from piecemeal medical or technical fixes to platitudes about “youthful” aging. However, the rapidly expanding population of elders demands more creative solutions that draw from multiple disciplines, generations, and cultures. Together with local communities, UNC’s Partnerships in Aging Program is poised to leverage the talents and expertise of faculty and students to support elderhood in new and meaningful ways. This requires an intentional learning network approach focused on developing new skills and fostering flexible solutions that fuel the creative, essential work ahead.

Mission & Vision

Our Mission: We aim to facilitate vibrant University-Community collaboration, academic exploration, and creative solution-building to cultivate age-embracing people and communities.

Our Vision: We help create communities where every age is celebrated and supported and where elderhood is viewed as a time for continued adaptation, growth, and contribution.

Yellow gingko leafOur Symbol: We draw inspiration from the ginkgo, one of the oldest living trees. It can be found across the globe, thriving in many different environments. The ginkgo is deep-rooted and adaptable, with a tendency to grow best in disturbed environments.

Strategic Priorities

  1. Students, faculty, community organizations, and elders are engaged in innovative, aging-related projects that provide reciprocal learning and service opportunities
    • Facilitate students’ experiential learning with community elders and organizations
    • Offer technical assistance that complements the assets of community organizations working in one or more domain of WHO’s Age-Friendly Communities
    • Facilitate community organizations’ and the broader field’s access to PiAP knowledge around collaboration and community innovation
  2. UNC further integrates aging content into academic study
    • Establish a certificate program, concentration, symposium, and/or classes in aging

Guiding Approaches

PiAP takes a multi-pronged approach to fulfill this vision:

  • Enter into reciprocal relationships with local, state, national, and global partners to promote innovation and inclusion in aging services and programs.
  • Cultivate the vast talent, expertise, and resources in the broader community and in the University.
  • Support authentic collaborations, partnerships, and mentoring — understanding the whole is greater than the sum of the parts (players, inputs, etc.).
  • Respond to nascent opportunity.
  • Fulfill PiAP’s unique role at the nexus of education, service, and practice.
  • Create opportunities to work with and to learn from: more marginalized students, elders, communities, and organizations (e.g., people of color, first-generation college students, people with lower incomes, LGBTQ people), as it benefits all of us.
  • Share our learning, advice, approaches, and tools generously.
  • Introduce people and partners into the work through the avenues of arts and humanities, civic engagement, and dialogue.
  • Live our values inside PiAP as we support those values beyond PiAP.