Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a major public health problem and its increasing prevalence demands a concomitant increase in AD-related outreach, research recruitment, and education.
Jennifer Lingler, PhD, CRNP
In response to our local needs assessment and calls for action at the state (PA State Alzheimer’s Plan) and federal (National Alzheimer’s Project Act) levels, we have identified the following specific aims for the proposed period of support:
- To sustain effective and initiate new outreach activities that are responsive to local stakeholder needs and address regional and national priorities in Alzheimer’s disease research and care;
- To facilitate recruitment of diverse participants at the earliest end of the AD spectrum into the Clinical Core, Projects 1 and 2, and ancillary studies;
- To train health professionals and students of the health sciences in the diagnosis of persons at the earliest end of the AD spectrum and those experiencing related disorders; and
- To administer the Center’s research mentoring program for junior investigators in the field of AD and cognitive aging.
We will achieve interrelated these aims through a research strategy that includes innovative programming and builds on our biggest successes over the past several years. Key examples of planned programming include: tailored community outreach and recruitment efforts targeting the demographic group of older African Americans and the key clinical group of persons transitioning from normalcy to dementia (Aims 1 and 2); developing and delivering on-site health professional training that maximizes trainees’ access to PITT-ADRC faculty, as well as more general clinical training to larger audiences in partnership with UPMC, the Alzheimer’s Association and the University’s HRSA-funded Geriatric Education Center (Aim 3); and providing a platform for research mentoring by expanding the PITT-ADRC peer mentoring group for junior investigators to form the PITT-ADRC MIND Scholars Program, which will serve as a central mechanism for providing career development mentoring to trainees working with faculty across all Cores of the ADRC (Aim 4). These and other elements of our research strategy will be evaluated on an ongoing basis using such methods as tracking the number and characteristics of participants in our programs (community, student, and professional), administering feedback forms to each group of learners, monitoring the research productivity of research trainees, and monitoring the number of individuals who sign up to receive information or be contacted by the PITT-ADRC either following community presentations, or as a result of specific partnerships with community groups, providers, and other research collaborators.