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Successful Aging

Developing new insights and strategies to help New Mexican older adults live independently and longer.

Supporting our Growing Senior Population

By 2030, the population over age 64 in New Mexico is expected to double, rising from 39th in 2010 to 4th in the nation.

Helping New Mexicans Remain Independent Longer

The Successful Aging Grand Challenge focuses on researching ways to compress the ‘period of disability’ of our aging NM  population, shifting the threshold of functional status so a person can remain independent longer to successfully age in place at home.

The Successful Aging Grand Challenge will work to create solutions on the expected demand on our diverse communities and healthcare systems by researching methods to: 

  • Expand programs and services for vulnerable populations,
  • Support independent living,
  • Create lifelong education opportunities,
  • Innovate technology to support senior autonomy, and
  • Promote healthy aging processes.

To achieve our research goals, we have four research thrusts: science and technology; organizational innovation and effectiveness; diverse, multigenerational community engagement; and economic development.

The Successful Aging Grand Challenge engages researchers, students, and staff from multi-disciplinary research, as well as community engagement organizations.

Contact Information

Please contact the Successful Aging Grand Challenge team by email at successfulaging@unm.edu

Leadership Team: Janice Knoefel, MD, MPH, Professor, Internal Medicine, Neurology, School of Medicine; Barbara Rodríguez, PhD, Professor, Speech and Hearing Sciences, Senior Vice Provost; Mark A. McCormick, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Kimberly Page, PhD, MPH, Professor, Internal Medicine, Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Preventive Medicine; Christophe Lambert, PhD, Professor, Internal Medicine, Center for Global Health, Division of Translational Informatics; Benjamin Clark, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology; Cindy Blair, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Preliminary Research Questions

As New Mexico ages, it is important that we understand the needs of our diverse population, especially in our culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Our team is conducting research to help older adults stay healthy longer by involvement in meaningful and healthy community activities. The state’s senior and community centers will play a vital role in social and physical activity.  Organizational innovation and effectiveness will improve access to to health care resources and services for older adults.

Technologies can enhance mobility, improve social connectedness, and decrease admission to hospitals. With the use of wearable and assistive technologies, older adults and caregivers can be in charge at home.

We will explore ways for New Mexico to foster economic growth in medical and healthcare sectors, to efficiently expand all levels of professional services supporting our aging population and innovate other economic activities secondarily related to healthcare and service industries.

The Successful Aging Grand Challenge team is pleased to announce the funding of four pilot research projects. These projects are directly related to Successful Aging’s main theme of compressing disability by addressing our identified research priority areas: science & technology; organizational innovation and effectiveness; engaging multigenerational and diverse communities; and economic development.

These pilot research projects have strong scientific merit and are highly likely to be successful in generating pilot data for extramural funding. The projects involve multiple investigators, practitioners and educators from UNM’s main and HSC campuses and engage diverse community partners.

Cultural Characteristics of Successful Aging from a Diné Perspective: The Significance of Diné Elder Knowledge in “Achieving Long Life- Happiness” as Community Well-Being

  • PI: Vincent Werito, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies
  • Co-PI: Lorenda Belone, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences, College of Education
  • Community Research Team members: Bernice Sage, Sherry Begay, Elroy Keetso, Patrick Werito

Intergenerational support among Vietnamese Residents and Service Usage Among Aging Asian New Mexicans

  • PI: Jacqueline A. Miller, PhD Senior Research Scientist, Center for Geospatial and Population Studies
  • Co-I: Scott D. Hughes, PhD, Research Scientist, Cradle to Career Policy Institute and Center for Geospatial and Population Studies
  • Co-I: Christina O’Connell, MSN, Director, UNMH Southeast Heights Clinic
  • Co-I: Adélamar N. Alcántara, PhD Director, Center for Geospatial and Population Studies.

Individualized Targeting and Neuromodulation of Late-Life Depression

  • Co-PI: Davin Quinn, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Co-PI: Christopher Abbott, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Rhythm and Timing Exercises, Cognitive Functioning, and Fall Risk in Older Community Dwelling Adults

  • PI: Steven Verney, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
  • Co-PI: Lisa Cacari Stone, PhD, Associate Professor, College of Population Health
  • Alexis Burks, MS, doctoral student in the UNM Department of Psychology

Congratulations to the investigators, and thank you for your continued commitment and creativity in this important Successful Aging Grand Challenge!

 

Call for Proposals for Pilot Research Projects

Overview and Aims of the Successful Aging Grand Challenge: By 2030, 26.5% of the population in New Mexico (NM) is projected to be 65 years of age and older, ranking 4th among all states. Our Grand Challenge goal is researching and implementing ways to compress the ‘period of disability’ of our aging population, shifting the functional threshold at which a person can remain independent in the community, to be able to age in place. To reach our goal, we will support research that is focused on engaging senior residents in community activities, to expand programs and services for vulnerable populations, supporting independent living (age in place), creating lifelong education opportunities, addressing quality of life disparities, innovating in basic science and technology to support senior safety and autonomy, and improving effectiveness to promote healthy aging in our state.

In addition, adults 65 and older, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions, are more likely to have severe outcomes from coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection than other age groups. With approximately half of COVID-19 deaths occurring in nursing and assisted living homes, and our nation at various stages of lockdown, our aging population is endangered by the virus, lack of treatment for comorbid conditions, and the impact of physical and social isolation. We thus particularly welcome COVID-19 related proposals for our aging population.

Request for Proposals: We are currently requesting proposals for projects directly related to Successful Aging, compressing the “period of disability”, and COVID-19 response that address any of the four multi-disciplinary research priority areas we have identified as linked to our overall goals: science & technology; organizational innovation and effectiveness; engaging multigenerational and diverse communities; and economic development.

Pilot Research Projects: We anticipate awarding three applications for up to $10,000 each. Pilot research projects must address one or more of the four research priority areas we have identified as linked to our overall goals. Collaborative and community-engaged research is encouraged. Priority will be given to proposals strong in scientific merit, involve multiple investigators/practitioners/educators from across central and north campuses, and highly likely to be successful in generating pilot data for extramural funding.

Requirements: Funding must be spent within one year from the date of award. Any unspent funds will be returned to the Successful Aging Grand Challenge index. Quarterly Progress Reports will be due after the initial award. If the project is not progressing on time, then alternative strategies for moving the project forward will need to be described in the progress report. The Successful Aging Grand Challenge reserves the right to terminate funding for projects that are significantly delayed. All investigators selected to receive funding will also be expected to submit a Final Progress Report at the end of the funded project, detailing study findings. We will also request updates on, and all presentations, submitted publications and grant applications (pending or funded) relating to the project.

Format (4 pages max., 11 pt Arial font, single spaced, 0.5” margins).  Submit the proposal as a single PDF with bolded headings as sections of your proposal.

Project Title. Please provide a brief title that characterizes the proposed project.

Project Team. Describe the members of the study team, including the Principal Investigator(s) (PI; multiple PIs are allowed for proposals), Co-Investigators (Co-I), and Collaborators. In describing the study team, provide the following information for all team members: Name; Title and Department; # of peer-reviewed publications; active grant titles and total funding, the role of current funding as PI or Co-I (if no current funding, then # of former grants as PI or Co-I); and expertise relevant to the project. PI(s) must be faculty, staff, or postdoctoral students employed by UNM.

Project Aims. Describe the critical need for the project and what will be implemented, developed, or studied. For implementation projects, the goals and model for implementation should be described. For pilot projects, the specific aims/hypotheses should be described.

Background for Proposed Project and Fit with the Successful Aging Grand Challenge. Describe the scientific knowledge base that supports the project, preliminary studies related to the project, and how the proposed project fits with the conceptual goals and aims of the Successful Aging Grand Challenge.

Approach. Describe your plan to address the project aims. Outline the methods you propose and how they will achieve results. Detail the anticipated outcomes and alternative approaches if results are not achieved.

Plan for Extramural Grant Funding. Describe specifically how the implementation project or pilot project data will lead to an application for extramural grant or foundation funding. Priority will be given to applications that describe specific funding mechanisms that can be pursued and timeline for future proposal submissions, and list the extramural funding agencies to which a proposal will be submitted.

Timeline. Provide a timeline for starting and completing the project, as well as completion of project-specific milestones (e.g., IRB/IACUC submission, recruitment, etc.). All projects must be completed within one year from the award date. The Successful Aging Grand Challenge reserves the right to terminate funding for projects that are significantly delayed.

Contingency plan for COVID-19 disruption. Please indicate how the project can be accomplished if resurgence of the virus results in additional restrictions, including but not limited to continued stay-at-home orders, social distancing measures, limited UNM operations, and/or limited access for students to laboratories.

Budget and Budget Justification. Provide itemized budget, detailed budget justification and a brief description of why each component of the itemized budget is essential to the project. Up to three projects will be funded with budgets up to $10,000. Any unspent funds will be returned to the Successful Aging Grand Challenge index. Note: do not include funds for F&A (indirect costs). Use the internal budget worksheet: https://hsc.unm.edu/financialservices/preaward/common/forms/ibw.xlsm. No faculty salary is covered.

Review process: Review criteria will be based on strength of the project team with respect to prior experience, scientific merit, preliminary work supporting the project, fit with the Successful Aging Grand Challenge aims, approach, and likelihood of leading to extramural funding. The review will be patterned after the NIH review process. Reviewers will be individuals internal and external to the Successful Aging Grand Challenge, and the number of reviewers will be determined by the number of proposals received. All proposals will be reviewed on a scale from 1-9, with 1 being the best. To apply, submit the proposal as a single PDF (4 pages max excluding budget, biosketches, and bibliography, 11 pt Arial font, single spaced, 0.5” margins) to successfulaging@unm.edu by 5pm on June 23, 2020. Applicants will be notified no later than July 10, 2020.

If you have questions, contact: successfulaging@unm.edu

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