CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Within the next eight years, it is estimated that more than half of the population living in Jackson and Josephine counties in southern Oregon will be over age 55. Sharon Johnson, an associate professor based at Oregon State University's Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, is focused on making sure that population is ready for the next phase of their lives.
"It's time to pay more attention to health promotion and disease prevention," Johnson said. "As older adults we should be embracing life, developing skills as self managers and continuing to be life learners. As a population we're living a lot longer, and we need to approach the coming years with optimism and understanding."
Johnson, who is the Family and Community Development Extension faculty member for Jackson and Josephine counties, was recently selected as the 2006 recipient of OSU's Extended Education Faculty Achievement Award.
The award recognizes leaders in OSU Extension for their commitment to program content and learner performance, the impact they have with the community they serve, their scholarly work and their dedication to the people of Oregon.
"In true pioneering style, Sharon takes OSU Extension into new environments and to new and often underserved audiences," said Scott Reed, dean of the OSU Extension Service. "Her ability to uncover opportunities and develop relationships to serve Oregonians is exemplary. She brings a level of energy and enthusiasm to her work that improves the lives of those she serves through OSU Extension."
The Family and Community Development Program delivers a wide variety of programs across Oregon that address gerontology, family nutrition, food safety, financial literacy and other areas, said Marc Braverman, the program leader and associate dean for Extension and outreach in OSU's College of Health and Human Sciences.
"Sharon provides a remarkable array of services and information," Braverman added. "Many of her programs in southern Oregon serve as models for other areas of the state, and even the nation."
In addition to running Family and Community Development programs in chronic disease self-management, strength training and medication jeopardy, and conducting research and answering questions for the southern Oregon community, Johnson writes a weekly column on aging for the Medford Mail Tribune and contributes to a cable television show called Healthy Living.