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William Vega Directs Roybal Institute

William Vega Directs Roybal Institute
William Vega is considered a visionary on health disparities in aging populations.

William Vega, one of the nation’s leading experts on health disparities that affect aging ethnic minority populations, has been named executive director of the Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging, now based at the USC School of Social Work.

Named for the late Rep. Edward R. Roybal, the Roybal Institute is dedicated to translational research, policy advocacy and training that improves the health, mental health and care of older persons, particularly those from low-income and multiethnic backgrounds.

“We are truly fortunate to have attracted a leader of Bill Vega’s caliber to head the Roybal Institute,” said USC Executive Vice President and Provost C. L. Max Nikias.

“He is widely considered one of the visionaries in this increasingly important field. Ethnic minority groups comprise the fastest-growing segment within the U.S. aging population – and there is increasing need for research, education and outreach to address the particular needs of these groups.”

In addition to serving as executive director of the Roybal Institute – a position he began on Jan. 15 – Vega holds a joint appointment at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and is a Provost Professor.

An elected member of the Institute of Medicine, Vega has conducted community and clinical research projects in health, mental health and substance abuse throughout the United States and Latin America. The 2006 ISI Web of Science listed him in the top half of 1 percent of the most highly cited researchers worldwide in social science literature over the past 20 years.

“The institute is poised to make a powerful contribution locally and nationally with the recruitment of William Vega as director,” said Marilyn Flynn, dean of the USC School of Social Work. “The planned focus on mental health and health disparities of minorities will also make the institute unique among others.”

Prior to joining the Roybal Institute, Vega was director of the Luskin Center on Innovation at UCLA. In 2002, he received the Society for Prevention Research’s Community, Culture and Prevention Science Award and the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse’s National Award of Excellence in Research by a Senior Scientist.

He has served on numerous boards and task forces, including health disparities work groups of the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Attorney General’s Task Force on Methamphetamine, the Institute of Medicine Board on Population Health, the Committee on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Effectiveness and the Institute of Medicine Health Disparities Roundtable.

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