Emerging Issues in Minority Aging Research: This project will create five different one-day conferences on current NIA initiatives that are relevant to minority aging research. The goal of the proposed conference series is to increase the quality, quantity, and relevance to communities of color of NIA-fundable research by providing both junior and senior researchers with new knowledge and greater interest in these emerging issues as they apply to minority elderly. This is significant because the number and proportion of the U.S. older population from racial and ethnic minority communities is growing rapidly: minorities will increase from 20% to over 40% of the older population between 2010 and 2050. Protecting and improving the health of these elderly requires a highly skilled research workforce with interests and capabilities in this area to produce new and useful knowledge. Yet the number and success of minority researchers funded by NIH is insufficient. The NIA's Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) program works to mentor and train junior faculty who conduct research on minority aging to strengthen the next generation of NIA-funded ethnic and racial minority researchers. The conferences will focus on: Cognitive health disparities research and national policy, Use of well-being measures in minority aging research and policy analyses, Stigma in minority aging research, Mutability and reversibility of risk factors across diverse populations, and Concepts and measures of stress and resilience for minority aging research. Each will feature leading scholars on the topic, top scholars on minority aging, and representatives from multiple NIA-funded centers and networks. The programs will disseminate the state of the art on the topic, inform researchers on how existing research needs to be modified or expanded to be more valid and relevant for minority elders, and provide tools that can be used by researchers to further develop the fields in research with minority elders. The conferences will be held as preconferences to the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) annual scientific meetings. There will be at least 50 participants at each conference and the majority will be minorities and/or women. The planning committee will be compromised of the confirmed keynote speakers who are leaders in the field, researchers from RCMAR sites with expertise in the topic, and members of other NIA-funded networks. The executive committee will be the RCMAR directors group. The project is innovative in the topics covered, the research networks involved, and the synergy with GSA. Program evaluation includes a process evaluation, a retrospective pre/post knowledge and confidence survey, and four-month follow-up survey on conference impacts. The lead investigators are national leaders in minority aging and gerontological education who have successfully led 11 previous GSA preconferences that reached over 600 researchers. This proposal is a renewal of the previous successful series with new topics but similar objectives of improving the knowledge and interest in emerging issues supported by NIA among RCMAR Scholars and faculty as well as among others with research agendas in minority aging and related issues;and raising awareness of how minority aging issues intersect these priority topics to promote research in the cutting edge issues.
Older adults from racial and ethnic minorities communities often experience health risks and respond to health interventions differently than non-Hispanic whites. Understanding how to maximize the health of all older adults requires researchers who are knowledgeable about the theories, methods, and existing science relevant to minority elders. This conference series will educate researchers about the state of the art in emerging areas of NIA-funded research critical to population health and provide them with skills and motivation to expand that research in minority communities, increasing its relevance to the groups that will soon comprise 40% of the older adult population.
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