The mission of our Roybal Center continues to be accelerating the translation of basic behavioral and social science research theories and methodologies into practical outcomes that improve the functioning and quality of life of older adults. The goal of the Pilot Core is to identify talented investigators and provide mentoring, support, and incentives that will enable them to conduct innovative research projects to advance science in our three thematic focus areas: (a) mechanisms of behavior change, (b) novel interventions that exploit the plasticity of biobehavioral risk mechanisms, and (c) novel programs that target features of social networks and social engagement to increase well being.
The specific aims of the Pilot Core are to: (1) use input from our Executive and Advisory Committees, community partners, and others to identify innovative priority areas for targeting pilot research;(2) solicit high quality proposals from a broad array of eligible investigators that advance the science in our thematic focus areas;(3) review and fund proposals based on rigorous scientific criteria;(4) support and monitor the progress of the pilots in achieving their objectives;and (5) continuously evaluate the success of our Pilot Core using the RE-AIM model. Six exemplary pilots selected by our Executive Committee based on relevance to our theme, scientific rigor, feasibility, and likelihood of future funding are described in the Pilot Core. The pilots include investigators representing diverse disciplines across the career development continuum. Four pilots focus on cognitive function in older adults and two pilots test innovative interventions designed to improve modifiable risk factors. One tests the impact of the BAILAMOSdance program for older Latinos on physical activity and cognition. Another seeks to improve the cognitive functioning of older adults by examining the short-term impact of transcranial direct current stimulation on improved context memory. The third will examine the impact of exposure to web-based Wii Fit games on balance and gait in older adult stroke survivors. The fourth will examine the impact of social media on depression and cognitive function among older adults who have recently transitioned to independent living housing from their own homes in the community. The two remaining pilots focus on risk factors. One will test the feasibility of using tablet-based guided imagery videos to reduce stress that is a trigger for pain among older African American adults who suffer from sickle cell disease. The final pilot assesses the utility of an interactive tailored health game designed to enhance healthy eating and physical activity among older African American adults at risk of diabetes.

Public Health Relevance

Pilots will advance knowledge in our thematic focus areas. Four pilots address one of the most pressing issues in research on aging today, malleability of cognitive function in older adults (Karbach &Schubert, 2013;Voss, Nagamatsu, Liu-Amrrose, &Kramer, 2011). The other two pilots test innovative interventions designed to improve modifiable risk factors which together have been estimated to contribute to 70% of physical activity decline that occurs with aging (National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 1999).

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1)
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King, Jonathan W
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University of Illinois at Chicago
United States
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Hughes, Susan L; Seymour, Rachel B; Campbell, Richard T et al. (2011) Comparison of two health-promotion programs for older workers. Am J Public Health 101:883-90
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