Robert W. Turner II is a Research Scientist in the Center on Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research at Duke University. He has training in medical sociology, ethnographic methods, and health disparities research. His previous and current work has exposed him to theoretical perspectives and empirical approaches pertinent to health disparity and aging research among men. The current proposal is for a five year Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) from the National Institute on Aging for training and support that address gaps in his knowledge of biobehavioral factors underlying Alzheimer?s Disease (AD) dementia related mild traumatic brain injury mTBI and accelerated cognitive aging. In collaboration with his mentoring team (Drs. Tim Strauman, Keith Whitfield, and Toni Antonucci) he has developed a comprehensive training and research plan that will both fill in these knowledge gaps and prepare him for an independent research career. The overarching goal of his K01 is to gain expertise on the interrelationships between multiple measures of psychosocial and neurocognitive factors associated with AD dementia related accelerated cognitive aging, and serve as bridge for him to establish an independent investigator career in conducting biobehavioral health disparities research in adult male populations. To accomplish this goal, he proposes four career development activities and three research aims that combine instruction with established scholars in survey research techniques; formal coursework; participation in ongoing seminars at Duke and the University of Michigan; one-to-one directed readings with mentors; and finally, conducting of a ?proof of concept study? from start to finish. Data will be collected using a mixed-method design that consists of a survey, focus groups, and in-depth interviews. The three research aims will enable him to integrate and apply knowledge gain through the proposed training activities by creating a more robust portrait of psychosocial protective and risk factors that may impact the long- term consequences of mTBI among men than previously possible. The approach used in this project will address; a) male vulnerabilities in predicting the impact of psychosocial factors on accelerated cognitive aging and b) how understandings of masculinity develop across and within groups in relationship to pain, injury, and brain health. This project will continue to build on insights he has gained through his examination of data from the Study of Retired NFL Players. By completing these aims, he will test important hypotheses and make substantial evidence based contributions to describing the process of dementia related cognitive accelerated aging resulting from mTBI. This proposal is relevant to public health because it will explore innovative approaches to address functional, cognitive, and psychosocial vulnerabilities in concussed men, and may ultimately reduce the risk of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and Alzheimer?s disease resulting from concussions. It will also inform an R-series grant proposal to study AD dementia related accelerated cognitive aging and brain imaging that Dr. Turner plans to submit in year 4 of the project.

Public Health Relevance

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) is a common, costly, and potentially preventable condition in the United States. Despite heightened awareness as a result of national public health campaigns and increased visibility in the media, many individuals continue to be at risk of life-long and sometime debilitating effects of brain injury. The goal of this project is to explore innovative approaches to address functional, cognitive, and psychosocial vulnerabilities in concussed men, which may ultimately reduce the risk of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), and Alzheimer?s disease dementia resulting from concussions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Neuroscience of Aging Review Committee (NIA)
Program Officer
Gerald, Melissa S
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Duke University
Organized Research Units
United States
Zip Code
Turner, Robert W; Lucas, Jeffery W; Margolis, Lewis H et al. (2017) A preliminary study of youth sport concussions: Parents' health literacy and knowledge of return-to-play protocol criteria. Brain Inj 31:1124-1130