Drexel is looking for tech & startup groups to join an aging research grant

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Briana Morgan

Oct 7, 2019, 1:44:08 PM10/7/19
to Philadelphia Area New Media Association
Hello friends of PANMA!

I'm passing this information along for a colleague of mine who works in aging research. They're looking for collaborators on a new grant, and are hoping to find partners working in tech that have experience designing for aging populations.

I've included all the info I have on the project. If you'd like to learn more, contact Kate Clark at  ko...@drexel.edu.


Briana Morgan

Cell2Society Aging Research.Net Grant Summary

For more information, contact Kate Clark, Director of Strategic Initiatives, ko...@drexel.edu

October 2019


Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions was awarded a Drexel University Areas of Research Excellence (DARE) Grant, which began officially in September 2019.  The overarching goal of this grant, called Cell2Society Aging Research.Net is to create a new ecosystem for research that brings together community agencies, older adults, caregivers and university faculty and students to collaboratively develop new tools, methodologies and curriculum that will enhance the experience of aging in Philadelphia across the care continuum.  

The Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Profession’s AgeWell Collaboratory will serve as the home of the of this effort.  The Collaboratory is a center without walls that features three key pillars of activity: Research & Scholarship, Education and Practice & Policy.  The DARE grant is now a signature effort of its Research & Scholarship arm. 


Who Is Involved with the DARE?

The Cell-to-Society Research Network is composed of 14 faculty members from 7 distinct Colleges at Drexel University.  The faculty are nationally and internationally recognized scholars in biology of aging, dementia care, sleep and chronobiology, symptom science, self-care strategies, exercise, nutrition, and creative arts therapies who are working to address psychosocial challenges of aging, family caregiving, intervention development, testing and translation, predictive multiscale modeling and health informatics, theragnostics, and supportive neighborhood environments.  Undergraduate and graduate students will also be very involved in the network.


The Age Well Organizational Partner Network is composed of 45 practitioners who represent older individuals, their families, healthcare providers, payers, community agencies, industry partners, and policy makers.  Many of our members have signed on to the DARE to support it through focus groups and recruiting older adults.


The Age Well Organizational Partner Network

Our Student Network is composed of current students with a strong interest in working with older adults and thinking about the type of community in which they, themselves, want to age.


What Will the DARE Grant Accomplish?

Over the course of the year, the three primary grant activities will be to:


1) Engage stakeholders (older individuals, their families, healthcare providers, payers, community agencies, industry partners, and policy makers) to jointly participate in the research enterprise, from idea inception, to evaluation and implementation of evidence.  The Cell-to-Society Network will conduct focus groups using a participatory action research methodology with stakeholder groups to identify ways Drexel can serve unmet needs of an aging society.  All DARE members will participate in a retreat to review the state-of-the-science on engagement models, needs assessment, and focus group techniques. Together, researchers and community organizations will develop questions/topics for focus group sessions and surveys, and schedule meetings with stakeholders. These initial engagement activities will provide “pilot” data for either a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) engagement grant or National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) Community Partnerships grant. The findings from initial engagement activities will be presented back to stakeholders and researchers with the goal of identifying areas of research emphasis.  Areas of research emphasis will inform student research projects, formation of multidisciplinary teams to develop and submit competitive research grants.


2) Collaborate to build an infrastructure for age-related research through team science, use of innovative methods that foster and support engagement among researchers, scholars, students, and stakeholders with interest and expertise in aging from the cellular level to communities and beyond.  Other goals within this activity are to:

·         Build Student Capacity through the development of an Aging Student Fellowship program. This program will foster undergraduate, graduate, and medical student Aging Research.

·         Raise awareness of the relevant aging trends and policies that have the potential to impact all sectors of the Drexel and surrounding community. The team will organize a symposium “Aging and Academia: Challenges and Opportunities for Universities” examining the implications of aging for Drexel University. To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first conference nationally that systematically examines the implications of aging for Universities


3) Develop (and implement) person-centered studies that matter most to older adults through interdisciplinary use-inspired transdisciplinary and translational approaches in the thematic areas of high relevance to older individuals, their families, healthcare and payment systems, communities and policy makers:  More specifically, the team will:

·         Conduct Pilot Studies around (a) preventing and managing chronic conditions, (b) enhancing active and purposeful living, and (c) enabling aging in place in home and communities.

·         Exemplars of initial research questions that could be posed by interdisciplinary research teams could be:

a)    Can computational models support healthy aging and inform personalized interventions?

b)    What is the impact of exercise on vaccine response in the elderly?

c)    How does neighborhood infrastructure (e.g. sidewalk quality, resting spots, nearby businesses) and changes to it (e.g. new or altered amenities) impact active aging and aging in place outcomes (e.g. outdoor activity, fear of falling)

d)    How does a Smart Chronic Wound Prevention System promote aging-in-place for at-risk older adults and their caregivers?

e)    Can circadian lighting promote healthy sleep and reduce physiological and behavioral deterioration associated with aging?  


What Will Be Next?

The AgeWell Collaboratory Research & Scholarship team will continue to engage its stakeholders to apply for grants to move this important work forward.  Additionally, the Community Advisory Committee will be engaged in other ways, such as through active dialogue around reimagining the way universities educate health care professionals to work with the aging population and discussing emerging local and national trends that the AgeWell Collaboratory should be addressing through scholarship.  

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