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Hines VA-Serwa Research Center on Aging

Hines VA-Serwa Research Center on Aging

The 16th President of the United States of America Abraham Lincoln famously stated on March 4, 1865 during his Second Inaugural Address:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

The Hines VA-Serwa Research Center on Aging, located in Hines, Ill., was funded by a generous donation from the estate of Mrs. Rose Serwa. Her husband, Stanley Serwa, and her brother-in-law, Richard Mech, were both World War II Veterans who served in the U.S. Army. Mr. Mech spent time in the Community Living Center at Hines VA before his death in 2003. Mrs. Joyce Athey, the executor of the estate, niece of Mrs. Serwa and daughter of Mr. Mech, said her aunt wanted to make a difference and she would be proud to see how her life's work will continue to positively impact Veterans long after she’s gone. "Rose would always say, 'I love this country. And I love our Veterans,'" shared Mrs. Athey.

A portion of this donation from the Serwa family has been used to develop the Hines VA-Serwa Research Center on Aging to support the needs of aging Veterans.

Vision Statement: To help establish a sustainable community of providers and researchers at the Hines VA who work collaboratively in focused areas of investigation to expand the understanding of aging and improve the quality of life for older Veterans.

To align with VA Core Values, the Hines VA-Serwa Research Center on Aging will adhere to the highest professional standards and will be truly Veteran-centric by identifying, fully considering, and appropriately advancing the interests of Veterans and other beneficiaries with the longer-term goal of supporting research, education, and implementation science through the development of inter-disciplinary research teams to improve the quality of life of older Veterans, and help them maximize their time and capacity to fully enjoy their lives and maintain their ability to care for themselves and their families for as long as possible. Research knowledge gained will be generalizable to all U.S. adults and will benefit Veterans and their families, friends, and community members.

Research conducted with funding from the Hines VA-Serwa Research Center on Aging will be inter-disciplinary and will enhance the team-based approach to maximize clinical care for older adults. The advancement and support of research within the Hines VA will also strengthen ongoing educational activities including undergraduate and graduate training for a wide range of providers, including nurses, therapists, social workers, pharmacists, dietitians, psychologists, medical students and physicians, among others.

Aging affects the body, the mind, physical functioning, and the person’s role in society. Research supported by the Hines VA-Serwa Research Center on Aging may address any of these key aspects of aging. Priority areas of the Hines VA-Serwa Research Center on Aging include, but are not limited to:

  1. Frailty and muscle function
  2. Cognition
  3. Chronic diseases
  4. Mental health
  5. Palliative care
  6. Benign Urologic conditions
  7. Social determinants of health

The VA provides the essentials for Veterans, but the generosity of donors can support teams of investigators that want to improve health care services and identify new interventions to help older Veterans live their best life.

About Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital

Approximately 100 years ago, a Chicago native named Edward Hines Jr., volunteered to protect the freedom of the U.S. and its allies by enlisting in the U.S. Army during World War I. Born on July 24, 1896, he enlisted in the First Officers' Training Camp at Fort Sheridan during his second year at Yale University and was assigned to the Third Company as second lieutenant and ordered to the 4th Machine Gun Battalion training in Gettysburg, Pa. He then sailed with that outfit for France on December 24, 1917. Military service would be halted by the influenza epidemic of 1918 which killed thousands of young recruits, including Edward Hines, who died on June 4, 1918. In his memory, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Hines of Evanston, Ill., donated 147 acres of land they owned just west of Chicago which became the home of the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital and research facilities.

The Hines VA health system offers primary, extended, and specialty care, and serves as a tertiary care referral center for the regional VA, the Veterans Integrated Service Network 12 (VISN12). Specialized clinical programs include Blind Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord Injury, Neurosurgery, Radiation Therapy, and Cardiovascular Surgery. Hines VA also serves as the VISN 12 southern tier hub for pathology, radiology, radiation therapy, human resource management, and fiscal services. Hines VA provides care for more than 57,000 U.S. Veterans from multiple counties across northern Illinois at the main hospital located 12 miles west of downtown Chicago, or at one of six community-based outpatient clinics in Hoffman Estates, Kankakee, Oak Lawn, Aurora, LaSalle, and Joliet.

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