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Date: April 25th, 2011

Economists Receive $75,000 for Work in Aging, Health Care, and Economics

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Alliance for Aging Research and the MetLife Foundation announced the winners of the first-ever MetLife Foundation Silver Scholar Award. Economists Dr. David Cutler, Department of Economics and Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and Dr. Dana P. Goldman, University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning, and Development; were jointly awarded $75,000 in honor of their important work in helping to clearly define the value of healthy aging and medical innovations that help individuals live healthier, longer.

Drs. Cutler and Goldman were chosen from a pool of highly-accomplished nominees whose scholarship offers critical insights at the important juncture of aging, health care, and economics. As part of the terms of the prize, Drs. Cutler and Goldman will write a review or analysis of their work to be published in a peer-reviewed journal within the next 6 – 12 months. The anticipated paper will expand upon their work to explore how advances in slowing aging can be beneficial for government spending as well as individual health.

The Metlife Foundation Silver Scholar Award grows out of the Alliance’s Silver Book®: Chronic Disease and Medical Innovation in an Aging Nation—a resource that highlights the burden of disease and the value of innovation in mitigating that burden. The Silver Book brings together the 1,000s of statistics and data from 100s of reputable reports and studies, all into one easy-to-use resource. Past volumes from The Silver Book series and their data are available online at www.silverbook.org.

“We are so pleased to be able to recognize the important work of scholars like Drs. Cutler and Goldman through this award. Their work is critical to showing the true impact of our active and engaged aging population and the tremendous value of innovations that keep them healthier longer,” said Daniel Perry, CEO and President, Alliance for Aging Research.

As America’s population ages with increasing chronic disease, the U.S. faces enormous and unprecedented stresses to its health care system and economy. Controlling these rising costs depends on investments in research and innovation. A critical component of health economics, cost-effectiveness analysis looks primarily at life-years gained, lost workdays avoided, and health services that weren’t used. Unfortunately, the accepted methods often fail to take into account the fairly new phenomenon of active aging. While many Americans age 65 and older are no longer in the “traditional” workforce, they are increasingly seeking opportunities for civic engagement, exploring new careers, supporting families, and continuing to contribute to society. These factors tend not to be reflected in traditional cost-effectiveness evaluations. This award is intended to recognize and encourage work to change the way we value innovation and life after 65.

Full biographies of the award recipients can be found on the Alliance's website.

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Founded in 1986, the Alliance for Aging Research is a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the health and independence of aging Americans through public and private funding of medical research and geriatric education. The Alliance combines the interest of top scientists, public officials, business executives, and foundation leaders to promote a greater national investment in research and new technologies that will prepare our nation for the coming senior boom, and improve the quality of life for today’s older generation. Learn more at www.agingresearch.org