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Wayne State employee appointed to state commission on aging

September 5, 2012

LANSING, Mich. – Patricia Rencher, community education coordinator for the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, has been appointed to the Commission on Services to the Aging by Gov. Rick Snyder. “This is the apex of nearly nine years of helping my dad age at home and my mom reside well in a nursing home,” said Rencher, who has a master’s degree in public policy and a graduate certificate in gerontology from Wayne State. Her work at the Institute of Gerontology, combined with personal caregiving experience, gives her a well-rounded understanding of Michigan’s core aging issues. “Now I can use what I know to inform the state legislature on the needs of older adults,” she said.

The 15-member board advises the governor and legislature on the coordination and administration of state programs and changes to federal and state programs related to aging. Gov. Snyder expressed confidence that, “The varied backgrounds and years of extensive experiences these outstanding individuals bring will effectively support the continued mission and service of the commission.”

Rencher was vice president of programs for the Detroit Urban League, and director of Detroit’s Youth Initiative and Matrix Human Services. She is president of the Boulevard Temple Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center’s Family Council, and a member of the National Council on Aging and the Aging Services Consortium of Detroit. She sits on the community advisory boards of the Detroit Area Agency on Aging and the Henry Ford Health System Center for Senior Independence.

Rencher has clear goals for her three-year appointment, including substantive policy changes at the state level to make it easier for older adults to access services. “I had to find and navigate numerous systems to help my parents,” she said. “I want older adults and caregivers to know they can rely on our network to provide them with significant services in an easy and timely manner.”

She will make research from the Institute of Gerontology available to the commission as appropriate, especially data from the Seniors Count! project that identifies trends among older adults in Southeast Michigan. “I am honored to be on the leading edge of identifying the major issues that affect successful aging,” she said.

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The Institute of Gerontology researches the aging process, educates students in gerontology, and presents programs on aging issues relevant to professionals, caregivers and older adults in the community (www.iog.wayne.edu). The Institute is part of the Division of Research at Wayne State University, one of the nation’s preeminent public research institutions in an urban setting. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.