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Professor Bo Xie Receives Innovative Programs Building Partnerships Award

The University of Texas at AustinSchool of Information Professor Bo Xie was recently announced recipient of the 2019 Aging in Texas Conference (AiTC) Innovative Programs Building Partnerships Award for her Electronic Health Information for Lifelong Learners (eHiLL) research program.

The statewide award is presented annually to an organization for the development and implementation of a program that is innovative and beneficial to the aging community, within the State of Texas. It seeks to promote creative and valuable new programs throughout the field of aging, which come about through successful partnerships. 

The eHiLL program is a research program that features productive partnerships with local organizations serving older adults. Under the leadership of Dr. Bo Xie, who is also eHiLL’s director, the highly interdisciplinary and innovative program examines older adults’ learning and use of new technology and the design of senior-friendly technology. The eHiLL program has been funded by federal funding agencies including the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Institute on Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The program strives to ensure older adults’ full participation in the design of technology through participatory design techniques that elicit and incorporate older adults’ input early on and throughout the entire design process. Ongoing eHiLL projects focus on health informatics interventions that can promote older adults’ learning and use of computers and the Internet for health information and decision-making that may have important implications for patient-provider relationships and health outcomes.  

The Aging in Texas Conference Awards Committee noted that Xie’s eHiLL Project “stood out from the rest due to its innovative use of partnerships and technology to help improve the quality of life for older adults.”

“The long-term goal of our eHiLL program is to integrate resources from federal, state, and local organizations to ensure community members’ lifelong learning and use of new technology that can make a positive impact on their lives,” said Xie.

The eHiLL program has partnered with local organizations to train hundreds of older adults in Texas, many of whom are from traditionally underserved groups, to gain skills to access, assess, and use high-quality online health information in their daily lives. Furthermore, the program has forged successful partnerships with local senior-oriented organizations including public libraries, senior centers, and senior-living facilities in Texas, demonstrating fruitful partnerships between a state university and a wide range of local organizations serving the aging population. 

“It is a great honor to be recognized with this award," said Xie. “The success of our eHiLL research program would not have been possible without the generous support of the School of Nursing and the iSchool, the staff and administrators of our local partners, and our funding agencies including the NIH and IMLS. The success of our eHiLL program has also been made possible through the hard work of many graduate students who have worked on various eHiLL projects over the years, including current School of Nursing doctoral student Atami Sagna, Texas iSchool doctoral students Ivan Watkins (who just graduated in May), Jin Gao, Kristina Shiroma, and Nathan Davis.”  

Professor Xie will deliver an invited presentation about her project on June 27 at the 2019 annual Aging in Texas Conference in Houston. She will be recognized at an awards ceremony that takes place on June 28 at the Omni Houston

A Professor with joint appointments in the School of Nursing and School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin, Xie is also a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, and has run the eHiLL program for over a decade. Her research reflects her interdisciplinary training in Medicine, Psychology, and Science and Technology Studies.