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HPRC Depression Management Program PEARLS Receives APHA Archstone Award

Motivating a depressed older adult to work on solving her or his problems is no easy task. However, the UW Health Promotion Research Center (HPRC) researchers and community partners who developed the Program to Encourage Active and Rewarding Lives for Seniors (PEARLS) have been successful in doing just that.

To reward their efforts, PEARLS has been selected as the Award Winner of the 2011 Archstone Foundation Award for Excellence in Program Innovation. Dr. Mark Snowden will receive the award on behalf of PEARLS at the 139th APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, in November.

PEARLS is a home-based depression management program developed collaboratively by HPRC and its community partner, Seattle-King County's Aging and Disability Services. The program includes 19 weeks of home visits for problem-solving therapy, behavioral activation, and pleasant events scheduling; six months of brief, monthly, follow-up phone calls; and clinical oversight by a psychiatrist at depression management team sessions. PEARLS has demonstrated effectiveness with older adults and people with epilepsy. Learn more about PEARLS at www.pearlsprogram.org.

Dr. Snowden, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and medical director of the Harborview Mental Health Services, is the principal investigator for several research projects related to the dissemination and implementation of the PEARLS program. Dr. Paul Ciechanowski, associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, led randomized controlled trials to establish the evidence base for PEARLS with older adults and with people with epilepsy and also leads PEARLS training efforts. PEARLS was conceived by Dr. Ed Wagner, professor in the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health. The initial PEARLS research study was funded by the Prevention Research Centers program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Subsequent research has been funded by CDC and other sources.

The Public Health and Aging section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) created the Archstone Award to recognize best practice models in gerontology and geriatrics, particularly innovative programs that have effectively linked academic theory with applied practice in the field of public health and aging.

The Public Health and Aging section of APHA intends to stimulate public health actions to improve the health, functioning, and quality of life of older persons and to call attention to their health care needs. APHA is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, representing more than 50,000 members from over 50 occupations of public health. It deals with a broad set of issues affecting personal and environmental health, including federal and state funding for health programs, pollution control, programs and policies related to chronic and infectious diseases, a smoke-free society, and professional education in public health.