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University of Iowa News Release

July 14, 2005

Cowen To Participate In White House Conference On Aging

Howard Cowen, D.D.S., associate professor (clinical) of preventive and community dentistry in the University of Iowa College of Dentistry, has been named one of 10 delegates to represent Iowa at the 2005 White House Conference on Aging Dec. 11-14 in Washington, D.C.

The theme of the conference is "The Booming Dynamics of Aging: From Awareness to Action." This year's conference will focus not only on the current senior population, but also the baby boomer generation of 78 million people who will begin to reach age 60 by 2006.

Cowen will be one of 1,200 men and women from across the country participating in the conference. These delegates will vote on resolutions and strategies of implementation to help Congress and the President form future policies on aging.

The Iowa delegation is comprised of three delegates selected by Gov. Tom Vilsack and seven chosen by members of Congress. Rep. Jim Leach selected Cowen to participate in the conference. Cowen said there are many critical issues facing the elderly today.

"Hopefully this conference will provide some ideas to resolve, or at least lessen, the impact of these problems and provide solutions so the baby boomers will not have a crisis as they enter retirement age," he said.

"Personally," Cowen added, "I will be strongly supporting health care issues and specifically, the critical issue of adequate oral health care for the elderly."

Cowen said that this new generation of elderly are using more dental services, maintaining their natural teeth much longer and have an increased need for complex medical and dental care.

"This is an issue that is frequently overlooked, but is imperative to the general health and quality of life in the latter years of life," Cowen added.

Cowen directs the college's Special Care Program and the Geriatric Mobile Dental Unit. His research focuses on geriatric health issues such as epidemiology of elderly oral diseases, etiology of tooth loss and oral health of residents in nursing homes. He joined the UI College of Dentistry in 1982.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACTS: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,; Writer: Whitney Tripp