Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is an enormous public health problem and its increasing prevalence demands a concomitant increase in AD-related outreach, research recruitment, and community engagement.
Jennifer Lingler, PhD, CRNP
In response to a 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: Aim 1) To sustain effective and initiate new community engagement activities that are responsive to local stakeholder needs and address regional and national priorities in Alzheimer’s disease research and care; Aim 2) To facilitate recruitment of diverse participants at the earliest end of the AD spectrum into the Clinical Core and ancillary studies; and Aim 3) To train health professionals and students of the health sciences in the diagnosis of persons at the earliest end of the ADRD spectrum with an emphasis on translating a) cutting edge biomarker research and b) emerging evidence regarding the heterogeneous nature of AD and evidence-based treatment approaches to community based providers of the present and future. We will achieve these interrelated aims through a research strategy that includes innovative programming and builds on our biggest successes over the past several years. Primary examples of planned activities for Aim 1 include partnering with key civic and social service organizations, maintaining a community advisory council, developing neighborhood-based engagement programs ranging from a lecture series in a community auditorium to AD “pop ups” in Black owned and operated establishments. Examples for Aim 2 include overhauling our recruitment messaging to consistently highlight the research participation narratives of African Americans in the Clinic Core and weaving such narratives into a wide range of digital and print materials. The primary foci of Aim 3 are developing and delivering on-site interprofessional clinical training, as well as continuing education programs to larger professional audiences in partnership with UPMC, the Alzheimer’s Association and the University’s HRSA-funded Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project (Aim 3). 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 and/or pre-post activity surveys to each group of learners, 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.