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IREACH NAD RCMAR Native Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center for Minority Aging Research

Pilot Project Grant Program

In February 2019, NAD RCMAR launched our first Pilot Project Cohort, an 18-month training program in which participants conduct their proposed and approved pilot project and write a grant proposal. The goals of the NAD RCMAR Pilot Studies are to encourage junior investigators to pursue Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) health disparities research, especially with our priority populations; to publish articles on their research in peer-reviewed journals; and to obtain NIH and other external funding. The participants completed their prerequisite training and continue to meet with their mentors on a regular basis to carry out their pilot study experimental designs. The first NAD RCMAR training meeting took place April 29-30, 2019, in Seattle, Washington. During the meeting, investigators completed a mini-course on ADRD health disparities, presented and received feedback on their Pilot Studies, and met with their mentorship teams.

Current Pilot Study Cohort

Dr. Ashley Railey’s pilot project helps define the economic impacts of culturally tailoring preventative health programs to reduce ADRD risk factors. She will use data collected from a cultural dance program in Hawaii. Her study is the first to examine program costs alongside health outcomes to demonstrate the potential sustainability of lifestyle changing programs for Native Hawaiians.

Dr. Andrea Hermosura’s pilot project aims to better understand the health disparities in ADRD among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, and to examine the relationship between ADRD and hospital adverse events in this population compared to Whites in Hawai’i. This is the first study of its kind and will lay the foundation to later identify the mechanisms and risk factors for disparities in service quality for persons with ADRD and consider how institutional and social contexts influence disparities in service quality.

Dr. Celestina Barbosa-Leiker’s pilot project explores how factors such as depression and quality of life impact ADRD in American Indian adults. She will use data collected in the Cerebrovascular Disease and its Consequences in American Indians Study, and it will be the first study to conduct this level of analyses with American Indian elders, increasing the potential for interventions in tribal communities.

Dr. Cara Carty’s pilot project seeks to better understand the epidemiology of dementia in American Indians and Alaska Natives across the American Southwest by geographic and tribal factors. Her study will be the largest electronic health record analysis of ADRD in this population to date.