College of Health and Human Services and ServiceSource Establish a Center on Aging with a Focus on Healthy Aging and Workforce Development

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Healthy aging is more important than ever in the U.S. as everyone in the Baby Boomer generation nears retirement age.

Center for Aging
Post-doctoral student Hyun Kang, Associate Dean of Faculty and Staff Affairs and Professor Cathy Tompkins, Assistant Professor Michelle Hand, and Chair of the Department of Social Work Emily Ihara at the opening of the Wellness Center for Older Adults.

College of Health and Human Services and ServiceSource, Inc. (SSI) have established a Northern Virginia Center on Aging, which will be recognized as a satellite center with the Virginia Center on Aging (VCoA). The center will provide services, programs, and activities for older adults and workforce development and continuing education for health care professionals who support older adults. Faculty and students will be actively involved and are excited for this new opportunity.

The Center on Aging will expand the VCoA’s mission of being an interdisciplinary study, research, information, and resource facility for the Commonwealth of Virginia utilizing the full capabilities of faculty, staff, libraries, laboratories, and clinics for the benefit of older Virginians and the expansion of knowledge pertaining to older adults and aging in general. VCoA is a statewide agency created by the Virginia General Assembly.

“Healthy aging is now more important than ever as our over-65 and over-85 populations continue to grow in the coming decades,” said Associate Dean of Faculty and Staff Affairs and Professor Cathy Tompkins. “This collaborative program will help prepare the current and future geriatric workforce to optimize opportunities to maintain and improve physical and mental health, independence, and quality of life throughout a person’s life.”

By 2030, every person in the Baby Boomer generation will be 65 or older. With this generation being larger than generations before it, more resources are necessary to support the population.

The new center will provide workforce training to students across the College’s departments through practicums, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities on how to effectively work with older adults. Additionally, the Center will partner with other community organizations to provide continuing education and training for frontline workers and licensed professionals. College faculty will have opportunities to evaluate current interventions implemented by SSI staff and community partners.

The Northern Virginia Center on Aging will be housed at the new Wellness Center for Older Adults (WCOA), which is less than four miles from Mason’s campus.

The College is home to the Department of Social Work and leads research and workforce development initiatives focused on healthy aging. Other departments actively involved in the new Northern Virginia Center on Aging include the School of Nursing and the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies.

SSI’s mission is to facilitate services, resources, and partnerships to support people with disabilities and it offers a wide range of services to serve the community, including operating the WCOA.

Other WCOA community partners supporting the Center include AARP Virginia, The Alzheimer’s Association American Health Care Professionals, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, INOVA Community Health, Insight Memory Care Center, Northern Virginia Community College, Shenandoah University, the Shepherd’s Center, and the Parkinson Social Network.

About Mason
George Mason University, Virginia’s largest public research university, enrolls 39,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity, and commitment to accessibility. In 2022, Mason celebrates 50 years as an independent institution. Learn more at

About the College of Health and Human Services

The College of Health and Human Services prepares students to become leaders and to shape the public's health through academic excellence, research of consequence, community outreach, and interprofessional clinical practice. The College enrolls more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students in its nationally-recognized offerings, including 6 undergraduate degrees, 13 graduate degrees, and 6 certificate programs. The college is transitioning to a college of public health in the near future. For more information, visit