Kristine Mulhorn, PhD, professor and department chair, is an instructor in health administration with extensive research background in aging, disability and functioning and community-based participatory research in urban settings. In cross-national studies of functioning of aging in the community, Mulhorn has been a visiting scholar at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology and at INSERM in France, both key locations for research on aging in the community. She has taught courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in health administration, long-term care administration, global health, health policy, gerontology, disability studies, biostatistics and research methods. She has led various internship programs including a graduate-level internship at the United Nations in Disability Statistics.
Current research interests include urban aging and culturally competent interventions for healthy aging in disparity populations and mechanisms for social interaction to maximize health among the elderly.
Intergenerational courses at an age-friendly university
Kristine Mulhorn, Drexel University, United States
Our project connected multiple generations in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone neighborhoods of Powelton Village and Mantua, which live with high poverty and possess tremendous assets, by developing an inter-generational community garden at a neighborhood resource, Drexel University’s Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. The garden features new age-friendly elements including raised garden plots and accessible pathways, as well an adaptable hybrid of in-person and virtual educational programming that creatively connected people of all ages.
The programming centered around an innovative Side-By-Side course: Health, Heritage, and Transitions designed to engage both Drexel undergraduates and local community members as students. This will allow youth and older adult residents in the local community to learn from each other about how they have incorporated health promotion over their lifespan. The purpose of the course is to examine multi-generational societal perspectives on how health and healthy behaviors, including the very deﬁnition of health, have changed over time, shaped not only by genetics and science, but other factors including culture, race, and class. Students will examine the evolving nature of how we keep healthy, use health information, build health literacy, incorporate a healthy lifestyle, and access healthcare.
The intent is to combat ageism and build social participation. Therefore, through the course, students and older residents collaboratively engaged in a combination of hands-on learning in the community garden, virtual sessions, and in-home gardening, tailored to the learning environment in the fall as determined by Drexel leadership to maintain best practices considering COVID-19.
This effort puts into practice the principles of an Age Friendly University, a designation that Drexel achieved in 2019, in which the university faculty and staff seeks to ﬁnd innovative ways to engage older adults and ensure that current and future generations adopt an inter-generational lens throughout their careers. This presentation will provide attendees with an overview of the project design, delivery, evaluation, and outcomes. Lessons learned for future iterations will be discussed.