You are here

Center Researcher Joins efforts of World Health Organization

Marian T. Hannan, DSc, MPH, senior researcher in the Research and Training Institute of Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged (the Center), was recently invited to join the National Bone and Joint Decade Committee, part of a World Health Organization  initiative. The goal of this global campaign is to improve quality of life for people with musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, and to advance understanding and treatment through research, prevention and education.

Dr. Hannan’s participation was sought due to her exceptional expertise and research in the area of musculoskeletal disease. She has devoted her career to epidemiological studies aimed at better understanding such debilitating and common conditions as osteoporosis and arthritis in an effort to find ways to prevent and treat them. Her research has taught the medical community that the aging skeleton is a reflection of many factors that are important throughout life such as diet, physical activity, hormones and medications. Her research is anchored by the idea that the important risk factors for musculoskeletal diseases are modifiable, and one can make choices that impact prevention, changing the risk of disease.

Musculoskeletal conditions affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and this figure is predicted to rise sharply as the population over 50 grows dramatically in the coming decades. According to a WHO publication, in the United States alone, musculoskeletal conditions rank first among diseases resulting in disability and visits to physicians’ offices. Despite their prevalence, these conditions have not garnered commensurate research attention and often physicians are not adequately trained to diagnose and treat patients.

 “It is a great honor to add a local voice to the international efforts focused on the preventive and educational aspects of diseases affecting our bones and joints.  All of us know someone suffering from arthritis, osteoporosis, or other musculoskeletal disease.  To take effective action against these diseases requires a plan, and I am delighted to be part of an international effort to prevent, and minimize the effects of bone and joint diseases.”

In addition to her faculty position in the Center’s Research and Training Institute, Dr. Hannan is an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She has published in more than 50 scientific journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine.  In 2000, she received the prestigious Distinguished Scholar Award from the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals.

Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged is currently celebrating its Centennial year. The Center provides a comprehensive network of geriatric care services, including a 700-bed chronic care hospital, a post-acute, short-term recuperative services unit, an adult day health program and geriatric consultation services. The Center also sponsors specialized housing for seniors and an internationally recognized Research and Training Institute.