About NIA

Health Disparities Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2009-2013

3.0: Areas of Emphasis in Community Outreach, Information Dissemination, and Public Health Education

3.1 Area of Emphasis: Support the infrastructure and resources needed to promote high-quality research to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities.

The NIA works with the public, media, research community, and physicians and other health care providers to disseminate information on aging research and on health conditions and diseases associated with growing older through its Office of Communications and Public Liaison (OCPL). These health communication activities aim to keep these audiences abreast of the most current advances in aging research and have up-to-date information on how to prevent disease, promote health, and address special needs of older people, with the goal of advancing good health with age. The NIA continues to show strong progress in providing diverse audiences with information about NIA, its research and, in particular, providing information about minority health and health disparities. NIA believes that it is imperative to communicate research findings and health messages to the public. In this manner, NIA contributes substantially to collective efforts to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities for older adults.

3.1.1 Objective One: Foster interdisciplinary exchange and encourage collaborative research designed to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities.

Scientists have found that individual differences in the subjective experience and physiological and psychological impact of stressors may exacerbate or buffer the impact of stressors on health. We will encourage multi-level and interdisciplinary research in collaboration with relevant NIH Institutes on the interactive effects of genes, behavior, and social environments on health and well-being among health disparities populations.

NIA also recognizes that the complexity of contemporary science demands a synergistic approach to ensure collaboration among researchers from multiple scientific disciplines along the continuum of research. We will invest in multidisciplinary research programs and provide supplemental funding to support promising interdisciplinary endeavors.

3.1.1.1 Action Plan

NIA will elucidate the biological mechanisms and pathways through which social, psychological, and environmental stresses contribute to declines in health and well-being among minority populations. Additionally, we will facilitate communication among NIA-supported researchers and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration regarding health disparities research areas. We will continue to sponsor workshops and conferences that bring together scientists from various disciplines for discussing and planning innovative health disparities research while providing funding opportunities that encourage interdisciplinary efforts with co-principal investigators and/or partnerships across two or more institutions or organizations as it relates to health disparities.

3.1.1.2 Performance Measures

  • Increase in activities promoting interdisciplinary/collaborative research related to health disparities.

3.1.1.3 Outcome Measures

  • Number of new collaborative research projects attributed to the increased activities.

3.1.1.4 Projected Budget*

2010

$15,569,226

2011

$15,569,226

*No inflationary increases are provided for 2010 and 2011. The sum of all projected budgets will exceed the total sum expended on minority health and health disparities research and activities due to overlap among objectives.

3.1.2 Objective Two: Engage in partnerships to create synergy and leverage resources within and among institutions and organizations to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities.

The NIA research portfolio is broad based and includes research related to a variety of diseases and conditions relevant to the work of other NIH and outside organizations. This provides NIA with numerous opportunities to build partnerships with other NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs), other government agencies, academic institutions, and professional and advocacy organizations.

3.1.2.1 Action Plan

NIA will work closely with other NIH Institutes and Centers, and other government agencies, to collaborate across the continuum of research from basic science through translational research to clinical studies and to disseminate information about proven interventions (research translation) in health disparities among older adults. We will continue to participate in trans-NIH efforts such as the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research and the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research as they relate to health disparities.

Further, we will partner with other government agencies, professional organizations, and advocacy groups to ensure that health disparity research results are translated into public health programs and medical practice and used to inform public policy. The NIA will continue to work closely with collaborators outside the United States to support studies to better understand the aging experience on a global level. To that end, NIA co-funds more than two dozen cross-national, aging-related datasets and single-country studies of aging with partners like the World Health Organization.

3.1.2.2 Performance Measures

  • Number of activities to promote collaborations and partnerships.
  • Examples of ways in which resources have been leveraged and interventions translated into public health and medical practice.

3.1.2.3 Outcome Measures

  • Number of partnerships formed.
  • Publications and presentations documenting which resources have been leveraged and interventions translated into public health and medical practice.

 3.1.2.4 Projected Budget*

2010

$15,569,226

2011

$15,569,226

*No inflationary increases are provided for 2010 and 2011. The sum of all projected budgets will exceed the total sum expended on minority health and health disparities research and activities due to overlap among objectives

3.1.3 Objective Three: Develop and distribute research resources.

Developing, communicating, and distributing research resources as well as research findings, and health messages to older adults are an important part of the NIA mission.

3.1.3.1 Action Plan

NIA will create and make available DNA resources for genetic studies on aging and disease and support access to imaging and other advanced technologies in shared facilities for examining aging biological systems.

We will support the development of population-based data sets, especially from longitudinal studies, suitable for analysis of biological, behavioral, and social factors affecting health, well being, and functional status throughout the lifecourse. Efforts will continue in supporting data archiving and data sharing, with adequate protections for confidentiality and privacy of research participants and their families.

We will support computer technologies to record and analyze interdisciplinary research findings on basic biological studies and long term population-based data. Further, we will develop innovative changes in the design, planning, and implementation of clinical trials and social and behavioral studies on the health and well being of older people.

NIA supports a robust clinical trials infrastructure that facilitates the translation of basic research to human application in age-related diseases, and vice versa. This support includes technical assistance for patient recruitment and retention of older adults in clinical trials. NIA will continue to make results of research on minority and other health disparity population recruitment strategies widely available to the research community.

3.1.3.2 Performance Measures

  • Tracking of distribution of research resources.
  • Use of population-based data sets relevant to health disparity populations.
  • Clinical infrastructure supporting the translation of basic research to human application, and vice versa

3.1.3.3 Outcome Measures

  • Leadership and impact on the field relevant to health disparities and aging research.
  • Numbers of research results (anecdotal descriptions) with potential to inform the academy in addressing the needs of health disparity populations.

3.1.3.4 Projected Budget*

2010

$15,569,226

2011

$15,569,226

*No inflationary increases are provided for 2010 and 2011. The sum of all projected budgets will exceed the total sum expended on minority health and health disparities research and activities due to overlap among objectives.

3.1.4 Objective Four: Disseminate information relevant to reducing and eliminating health disparities to the public, medical and scientific communities, and policy makers.

An essential component of the NIA mission is the dissemination of information about research and aging-related topics to the general public, health professionals, the media, policymakers, and advocacy organizations. The NIA reaches out to the public through the NIA Web site, two Information Clearinghouses with toll-free numbers, the NIHSeniorHealth Web site, newsletters, and online research sources like SOAR: Spotlight on Aging Research.

The NIA Web site, www.nia.nih.gov, provides information about NIA programs, research findings, grants and training opportunities, and public and professional education materials. The NIA Spanish-language Web site, www.nia.nih.gov/espanol has information on a wide range of health topics, free publications in Spanish, and links to other health-related, Spanish-language Web sites.

The National Institute on Aging Information Center (NIAIC), 1-800-222-2225, distributes a variety of educational materials for the public and health professionals, including Age Pages on more than 40 health topics from arthritis and diabetes to sleep and skin care. NIA’s evidence-based Exercise Guide provides simple, easy-to-follow exercises to improve endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Considering the growing number of Hispanic elderly, the NIA Office of Communications and Public Liaison has translated and printed the NIA Exercise Guide in Spanish and distributed the guide via the NIA clearinghouse and at various events.

At the direction of Congress, NIA established the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center to respond to a growing need for information about Alzheimer’s disease, research into possible causes and cures, and the disease’s impact on families, providers, and the health care system generally. This information clearinghouse responds to public inquiries via the Web, telephone, email, and regular mail; operates a clinical trials database; creates, maintains, and distributes Alzheimer’s-related health information; supports publications development such as the annual Progress Report on Alzheimer’s Disease and the online research and practice update Connections; and supports clinical trial recruitment. Information related to Alzheimer’s disease and memory problems is available at the ADEAR Center at 1-800-438-4380 or online at www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers.

NIHSeniorHealth.gov is a collaborative effort with the National Library of Medicine. Based on research on cognition and aging, the site provides information on more than 30 health topics. Information is available in a variety of senior-friendly formats, including large print, open-caption videos, and audio versions.

Research news and publication announcements can be received on a regular basis by subscribing to e-alerts issued by the NIA. OCPL also publishes SOAR: Spotlight on Aging Research, an online update highlighting NIA-conducted or sponsored research, recently published findings, events, and new publications. SOAR also provides links to current funding opportunities. Subscribe online at www.nia.nih.gov/contact/e-alert-sign.

Additionally, the NIA has collaborated with outside organizations to develop statistics that address health issues impacting persons 65 and older. One notable example is the Federal Forum on Aging –Related Statistics’ 2008 Chartbook entitled; Older Americans 2008: Key Indicators of Well-Being.

3.1.4.1 Action Plan

NIA will disseminate the latest advances in geriatric medicine, research on aging, and related health data through publications, professional education materials, public service announcements, and videos. We will also make available health information and reports of new research findings on the NIA Web site and through the NIA Information Center.

We will maintain and promote the NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center and the NIH Senior Health Web sites, and develop materials for special audiences and diverse populations including non-English language materials and materials for people with limited literacy. We will work with our grantees to support national education campaigns to encourage healthy practices among older adults and support innovative programs to promote positive attitudes toward older people’s health needs on the part of health care and other service providers and the public at large. Further, NIA will work with the Federal Forum on Aging-Related Statistics to compile statistics from various Federal agencies by racial and ethnic group and by socioeconomic status.

3.1.4.2 Performance Measures

  • Number of information materials distributed by language and other audience groupings.
  • Number of hits on NIHSeniorHealth.gov and other NIA-supported web sites.

3.1.4.3 Outcome Measures

  • Indicators of information use as determined through user surveys, focus groups, and other tracking and monitoring.

3.1.4.4 Projected Budget*

2010

$15,569,226

2011

$15,569,226

*No inflationary increases are provided for 2010 and 2011. The sum of all projected budgets will exceed the total sum expended on minority health and health disparities research and activities due to overlap among objectives.