What is FPECA?
The purpose of the Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging is to provide the public and policy makers with high quality research and policy analysis on key issues concerning aging. Our state, country, and the world are aging, with life expectancy for a child born in the U.S. at nearly 79 years. By 2030 in Florida, nearly one third of the population is expected to be 60 or older. These trends affect every aspect of society, from recreation to hospital care, and pose critical challenges to our social service and healthcare systems.
FPECA serves as a clearinghouse for the diverse research conducted at the School of Aging Studies at the University of South Florida. This includes analyses of interventions to improve cognition, the impact of sleep on health, mental health among older adults, advance care planning, family caregiving, assisted living, and disaster preparedness in long-term care. In addition to research, students and scholars in the School of Aging studies also produce original policy analyses for FPECA on current topics, in keeping with the center’s primary focus on how research can be translated into policy and practice that improves the lives of older adults and helps shape an aging society.
The center was created by the Florida Legislature in 1992 to conduct research and policy analysis of critical topics in aging, with Larry Polivka as director. In 2003, FPECA joined the USF Department of Gerontology to create the School of Aging Studies. The merger enhanced both programs and expanded FPECA’s capacity to conduct more policy-related research and evaluation projects with faculty and students.
FPECA has conducted research and policy analysis for state agencies, the Legislature, and non-profit and private organizations. For example, the State Legislature hired FPECA to provide research support to the Task Force on Florida's Affordability and Accessibility of Long-Term Care, which contributed to substantial changes in nursing home quality standards and spending on home and community-based programs.
Kathryn Hyer become director in 2009. Since then the center has maintained contracts with state agencies to review and approve providers who train long-term care staff on dementia care. Other projects include assessing the impact of nursing home staffing standards and analyzing Florida's Medicare and Medicaid long-term care data. The rich data held by FPECA allows students to examine and publish research findings in a range of long-term care policy areas.
FPECA’s latest addition is a lab focused on providing the public with information about Florida’s growing assisted living industry. These reports are produced largely by aging studies students working with faculty members. Throughout its history, FPECA has adhered to its core mission of furthering the education and research of the University of South Florida by bringing together students and faculty to study the critical issues in aging and to help translate the research into policy and practice that improves lives.