The overall goals of the Pittsburgh Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Center (OAIC), funded since 2004, are to address the critical need to improve mobility, balance, and falls risk, both through improved understanding of their causes and through development of preventive and therapeutic interventions. With this renewal we also will extend our work into new and high potential areas and bring several innovations to our activities and Cores.
Our specific aims for the next 5 years are to: 1) Promote multidisciplinary research into the causes, consequences and treatment of age-related changes in mobility and balance. 2) Build on the exceptional expertise of our research team to extend our work into two new high potential areas: a) the mechanisms that mediate interactions between multiple body tissues/organelles (nerve, muscle, bone, fat; mitochondria), and their impact on mobility and gait; and b) health system and community (including long-term care) adoption of interventions to enhance mobility and balance 3) Train young investigators from multiple disciplines in an intellectually vibrant, collaborative environment with a new KL2 program aligned with our successful Clinical and Translational Science Institute. 4) Serve as a resource and partner to investigators, research programs, institutions, OAICs and the public. Our accomplishments and future plans are built on a set of enduring fundamental beliefs and values: 1) a theme (mobility and balance) that is cohesive yet accommodates a broad range of approaches and needs, 2) a commitment to multidisciplinary research, 3) a stable organization that can grow and evolve, and 4) rigorous preparation of the next generation of investigators and leaders. To accomplish these aims, our OAIC is built around 6 cores. In addition to the Leadership and Administrative Core and Research Career Development KL2 Component, we have a Pilot and Exploratory Studies Core, and 3 Resource Cores: a Clinical and Population Outcomes Core, an Integrative Systems Core and a Data Management, Analysis and Informatics Core. In the first year of the renewal, we will support 2 Pepper KL2 Scholars, 4 pilot projects, and 3 developmental projects that illustrate the scope and innovation of our work.
Mobility and balance disorders are common among the aged and contribute to reduced physical activity, falls, injuries, disability, loss of independence, and health care utilization. Our multidisciplinary group of collaborative investigators are dedicated to foster optimal mobility and balance among older American and develop preventive and therapeutic interventions to reduce falls and maintain independence.
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