The candidate, a Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Research at the University of Pittsburgh, is applying for a K07 to establish a new and novel program, the Long-term Care Research Network (LTCRN). Long-term care (LTC) residents are the most frail and immobile, have the greatest co-morbidity and cost burden to the health care system -- yet little clinical research involves these residents, and practice guidelines for healthy elderly may not be relevant. The long-term objective of this comprehensive program of clinical investigation and training is to enhance the health of older adults residing in long-term care facilities by engaging researchers in relevant and collaborative, multidisciplinary research programs across the University of Pittsburgh. The short-term objective of the program is to build the infrastructure necessary to accomplish the following four interrelated specific aims: 1) Establish a centralized and integrated program at the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) bringing together multidisciplinary collaborative investigators who focus on LTC research to improve health for these patients, 2) Develop a dual recruitment model to facilitate access to both LTC residents and facilities in the greater Pittsburgh area who are willing to participate in clinical research, 3) Provide a LTC mobile laboratory to enhance clinical research that will be performed on site at each LTC facility, and 4) Promote recruitment and training for young investigators interested in LTC research to provide a better understanding of specific LTC research needs. She will accomplish these goals by developing the LTCRN at the University of Pittsburgh, leveraging the considerable resources of the UPMC Aging Institute, The Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, The Clinical Translational Science Institute and Institute for Clinical Research Education, The Claude Pepper Older American Independence Center (of which she is the PI), the many training programs at the university including her own T32 in Geriatrics and Gerontology, UPMC Senior Communities and the many established senior investigators who are currently engaged in clinical research in the LTC setting. Novel components of this K07 include the development of an umbrella program to bring multidisciplinary investigators together to collaborate, a LTC participant and facility registry, a mobile laboratory to allow investigators to provide on-site evaluations and a personalized training program for both mentees and mentors. The candidate's background as the PI of the Pepper Center and Director of the Pepper training core, NIA funding in LTC research, institutional support, and 10 years of a K24 mentoring award, provides her with the leadership skills, research expertise and experience for a successful and sustainable program.
Public Health Relevance: Despite the fact that elderly residents in long-term care are the most frail and immobile, have the greatest comorbidity and cost burden to health care, little clinical research involves these participants. The Long-term Care Research Network is designed to establish a multidisciplinary collaborative program at the University of Pittsburgh to facilitate state-of-the-art clinical research in long-term care facilities.
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