The UCLA Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC) is designed to promote research aimed at maintaining and restoring the independence of older persons. Through its theme of Preventing Disease and Disability in Vulnerable Populations: a Translational Approach, the UCLA OAlC's research extends across the full spectrum from Tl to T2 translational research. Within this theme, an important focus of the UCLA OAIC is on understanding the role of inflammation in disease and disability. To accomplish its goals, the UCLA OAIC has established 4 Research Cores (Recruitment and Retention, Research Operations, Analysis and Cost Effectiveness, and Inflammatory Biology) and a new Information Dissemination Core that will facilitate OAlC-related research at every step (recruitment, measurement, data management, analysis, interpretation, and adoption of findings). Research cores provide support at 4 levels: Consultation (e.g., providing up to several hours of advice, reading a paper or a proposal) Partnership on new proposals Short-term (e.g., up to 2-3 days of consultation, performing assays) Ongoing or long-term support (e.g., ongoing, part of the project team) In addition, the UCLA OAIC Pilot and Exploratory Studies Core and Research Career Development Core stimulate new research via a pipeline of junior investigators and pilot awards and recruit successful investigators into OAlC-related research. The Leadership/Administrative Core ensures that these specific activities are accomplished and the goals of the UCLA OAIC are optimally achieved. The UCLA OAIC will address health disparities that vulnerable older persons face because of 1) inadequate understanding of contributors (e.g., socioeconomic status, inflammation) to health and specific illnesses (e.g., HIV, sleep, depression), 2) lack of effective preventive or therapeutc approaches (biomedical and behavioral), or 3) inadequate ability to get needed treatment to vulnerable older populations (e.g., cultural barriers, ineffective health care systems). By focusin efforts and resources through the OAIC, the timeline for research to develop, test, and disseminate promising innovations to maintain independence can be accelerated.
Despite the increasingly diverse sociodemographic profile of older Americans, including growing numbers of minorities and persons at risk because of chronic diseases, our understanding of the causes, prevention, and treatment of illness in these populations is particularly limited. To prevent the health disparities that persist into old age an increased risk for decline in these older vulnerable populations, research is needed on diseases and disorders, on what treatments work best for whom, and on how best to deliver health care.
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