This competing continuation proposal for Years 29-34 of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) cooperative agreement is in response to NIA RFA #AG-18-005. The primary aim of the HRS is to design, collect and distribute longitudinal multi-disciplinary data to support research on aging and the health and well- being of the older population. This proposal seeks to collect three additional waves of panel data, continue collection of venous blood specimens, implement the next scheduled refreshment by adding the first Gen-X cohort in 2022, continue to conduct off-year mail surveys, and implement cost-saving innovations, including an internet mode for Core data collection. It will continue the same expanded minority oversample design for the Gen-X cohort as was implemented in 2010 and 2016 for the baby boom cohorts in which half the sample consists of traditionally underrepresented minorities. The new Gen-X cohort will be fully integrated into the HRS design, including collection of biomarkers, DNA, and linkage consents to Social Security and other records as appropriate. This parent project will provide sample, data, and coordinate fully with the separate proposal to repeat the Harmonized Cognitive Assessment Protocol dementia study. HRS provides a uniquely rich, nationally representative longitudinal dataset for the community of scientific and policy researchers who study the health and demography of aging. It provides a research data base that can simultaneously support cross-sectional descriptions of the U.S. population age 50+, longitudinal studies of a given cohort over a substantial period of time and research on cross-cohort trends. The HRS project creates a data system extending beyond the core survey data. One component of this extended data system consists of linkages to administrative data, including Social Security earnings and benefit records, Medicare utilization and diagnostic records, including Minimum Data Set and Medicaid records, employer pension records, Veterans Health Administration data and the National Death Index. We plan to expand access to these secure data through secure enclaves. Another component is genome-wide genotyping data from consenting respondents distributed through dbGaP and a new repository of blood samples including cryopreserved cells. HRS provides public use data designed to allow the full power and creativity of America's scientific community to address the challenges of an aging population. HRS is making a significant impact on research on aging through investigator-initiated research which uses the HRS as an input without charge to researchers or granting agencies. Over 2,000 peer-reviewed journal publications have appeared, nearly 1,000 in the past six years. HRS also supports training of new scientists as over 400 doctoral dissertations have used HRS data.
This proposal seeks continuation of the Health and Retirement Study core data collection for three more waves, including the introduction of a new younger cohort in 2022 to refresh the sample following the steady state sampling design. It will build the repository of biosamples, maintain the expanded representation of minorities, and further expand data access to maintain the study as the premier source of data on public health of the older population. Cost savings will be achieved through innovative methods.
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