The University of Newcastle will formally tonight launch its Priority Research Centre, the Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, as part of a national conference exploring questions about gender and ageing.
The two-day conference, Mars and Venus: Does gender matter in ageing?, gets underway in Newcastle today and will be formally opened by the NSW Minister for Ageing, the Hon Kristina Keneally.
Delegates will hear how finances, social roles, sexuality, and risks taken in life affect the ageing process differently in men and women.
Workshops will consider the public health implications of gender diversity, gender and family in relation to carer's responsibilities, and gender, ageing and sexuality.
The Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing (RCGHA) emphasises healthy ageing, the impact of chronic conditions, and the effectiveness of health services as people age.
Centre Director, Professor Julie Byles, said the RCGHA would focus on a broad range of factors that affect the ageing population.
"The Centre will focus on the individual health, and societal factors that affect men and women's health and wellbeing as they age, and the ways in which communities and organisations respond to an ageing population," Professor Byles said.
"We have around 40 academics with expertise in health and clinical sciences, psychology, sociology, health economics, epidemiology, statistics and architecture, disciplines which are all applicable to understanding biological, social and environmental factors that affect the health of men and women as they get older."
The Centre's activities are built around the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, the largest study of its kind ever conducted in Australia. The study is tracking more than 40,000 women in three age groups over a 20 year period in an effort to explore the factors that influence health.
The conference is co-hosted by the University of Newcastle's Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing and the Australian Association of Gerontology (NSW Division and Hunter Chapter).
It is also supported by the Australian Research Council/National Health and Medical Research Council Research Network in Ageing, and the Hunter Medical Research Institute.