The overarching goal of this K07 Academic Career Leadership Award is to develop a sustainable Program in Translational Nutrition and Aging based at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and in partnership with organizations and individuals within the state of Alabama who have an interest in collaborating on nutrition and aging research initiatives.
Specific Aims are to: 1) provide leadership, core faculty, and resources that support innovative, integrated, interdisciplinary, clinical, behavioral, and policy-related collaborations focused on translational nutrition and aging research;2) provide high quality educational experiences related to translational nutrition and aging research for pre-doctoral trainees, post-doctoral fellows, junior and transitional faculty, and community stakeholders, including policy makers and the geriatric workforce;and 3) identify gaps in the current evidence base, address methodological issues, and set priorities for translational nutrition and aging research. The candidate, Julie L. Locher, is a Medical Sociologist and Health Services Researcher whose work as an independent investigator has been devoted to the study of: 1) eating behaviors and nutrition issues of older adults and 2) the various dimensions through which nutrition affects patient-centered outcomes in older adults. Most of her work focuses on social and environmental factors, including community and health care practices and policies that affect eating behaviors and nutrition-related health outcomes in this population. She is uniquely trained in mixed quantitative and qualitative applied research methods. Dr. Locher possesses the professional qualifications and personal qualities necessary for developing and leading a substantive and sustainable Program in Translational Nutrition and Aging Research that is both timely and cutting-edge. UAB is a world leader in: 1) geriatrics, gerontology, palliative and supportive care research, education, and clinical care;2) nutrition and obesity research, education, and clinical care;and 3) patient-centered outcomes and comparative effectiveness research and training. The candidate and UAB, with the support of a stellar External Advisory Committee, are particularly well-poised to carry out the proposed aims of the program. Demographic and economic imperatives highlight the reality that nutritional matters are too costly to ignore in our rapidly aging society. This is especially true in consideration of:1) increasing efforts to improve transitions of care linking hospital and home health services with community-based services in order to reduce preventable healthcare utilization and 2) increasing initiatives to rebalance long-term care so that older adults can remain in the community versus having to enter an institution. Rising rates of overweight and obese Baby Boomers who enter into older adulthood with concomitant obesity-related comorbidities and disability present additional and complicating challenges to these trends wherein nutritional matters figure prominently.

Public Health Relevance

The expected outcome of this award is to produce a community of scholars representing diverse backgrounds and interests who possess the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct relevant and impactful research in the area of translational nutrition and aging research relevant to clinical care and population-based health initiatives. Accomplishments of the Program in Translational Nutrition and Aging Research ultimately have the potential to reduce burdens on older individuals and their caregivers and society as a whole.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Academic/Teacher Award (ATA) (K07)
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National Institute on Aging Initial Review Group (NIA)
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Patmios, Georgeanne E
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University of Alabama Birmingham
Internal Medicine/Medicine
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United States
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Keller, Heather H; Locher, Julie L; Steele, Catriona M (2014) Translational advancements in applications of pureed food. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr 33:135-8
Haas, Marilyn C; Bodner, Eric V; Brown, Cynthia J et al. (2014) Calorie restriction in overweight seniors: response of older adults to a dieting study: the CROSSROADS randomized controlled clinical trial. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr 33:376-400
Buys, David R; Roth, David L; Ritchie, Christine S et al. (2014) Nutritional risk and body mass index predict hospitalization, nursing home admissions, and mortality in community-dwelling older adults: results from the UAB Study of Aging with 8.5 years of follow-up. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 69:1146-53
Locher, Julie L; Vickers, Kristin S; Buys, David R et al. (2013) A randomized controlled trial of a theoretically-based behavioral nutrition intervention for community elders: lessons learned from the Behavioral Nutrition Intervention for Community Elders Study. J Acad Nutr Diet 113:1675-82
Dover, Sally E; Buys, David R; Allocca, Sally et al. (2013) FIELD NOTES: PEOPLE, PROGRAMS, & POLICIES Farmers' Market Produce Delivery Program for Mitigating Nutritional Risk in Older Adults. J Hunger Environ Nutr 8:1-10
Blair, Cindy K; Madan-Swain, Avi; Locher, Julie L et al. (2013) Harvest for health gardening intervention feasibility study in cancer survivors. Acta Oncol 52:1110-8
Locher, Julie L; Bonner, James A; Carroll, William R et al. (2013) Patterns of prophylactic gastrostomy tube placement in head and neck cancer patients: a consideration of the significance of social support and practice variation. Laryngoscope 123:1918-25
Flagg, Lee A; Sen, Bisakha; Kilgore, Meredith et al. (2013) The influence of gender, age, education and household size on meal preparation and food shopping responsibilities. Public Health Nutr :1-10
Magnuson, J Scott; Durst, Jennifer; Rosenthal, Eben L et al. (2013) Increased likelihood of long-term gastrostomy tube dependence in head and neck cancer survivors without partners. Head Neck 35:420-5
Buys, David R; Flood, Kellie L; Real, Kelsey et al. (2013) Mealtime assistance for hospitalized older adults: a report on the SPOONS volunteer program. J Gerontol Nurs 39:18-22