• May 14, 2014

    Website was early model for senior-friendly design

    Logo: ', built with you in mind'

    NIHSeniorHealth, a senior-friendly website from the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine, offers health and wellness information for older adults., the premier federal health and wellness website for older adults from the NIH, celebrated its 10th anniversary in October 2013. Jointly developed by the NIA and the National Library of Medicine, NIHSeniorHealth pioneered the development of senior-friendly web design when it launched in 2003. Using NIA-funded cognitive aging and vision research along with results from focus group and usability tests, developers designed a website especially tailored to the needs of adults 60+.

    According to the Pew Research Center, health information is one of the key topics that older adults search for online. By pairing authoritative health information with an easy-to-use design, NIHSeniorHealth uniquely positioned itself to serve a population increasingly interested in health issues but unfamiliar with how to access this information on the Internet.

    A range of senior-friendly features has made NIHSeniorHealth particularly easy for older adults to use. Large type and high color contrast schemes help with vision issues, plain language and chunking of content facilitate comprehension, and consistent page layouts and placement of buttons and prompts make for easy navigation.

    Older adult reading senior-friendly content on computer

    Special features on the NIHSeniorHealth website make it simple for old adults to use. For example, you can click on a button to make the type larger.

    The content is geared toward the health interests of people 60 and older, too. Visitors to the site will find information on healthy aging and ways to prevent and treat aging-related diseases, as well as tips on medical care and personal safety. To accommodate the different ways older adults assimilate information, NIHSeniorHealth presents its content in a variety of formats, including background information, quizzes, videos, and frequently asked questions. NIHSeniorHealth relies on NIH’s institutes and centers for its content, and to date, 16 have contributed more than 60 topics to the site.

    Innovations over the years have included updates to the look and feel of the site and the development of a trainer’s toolkit to help older adults learn to find additional reliable online health information on their own.

    In 2012, a revitalized NIHSeniorHealth was introduced. With a new design and updated approach, the site is now enhanced, for both the novice computer user and those who over the last decade have gained some experience searching for materials online. A search function now allows users access to age-related health information from a variety of reputable websites, and a “share” button lets them more easily send information from NIHSeniorHealth to their friends and families.    

    Today, NIHSeniorHealth is reaching out to a broader audience to address the interests of web-savvy baby boomers looking for health information. Twice a week, Healthy Aging Tips are sent out to a growing subscriber base, and NIHSeniorHealth will soon launch its own YouTube channel, opening up many of its 150 videos to a wider audience. To stay current with the changing needs and expectations of web users, NIHSeniorHealth will incorporate more links to other government agencies on its pages and will debut new interactive features, beginning with its upcoming topic, Quitting Smoking for Older Adults.

    To learn more, watch these videos about NIHSeniorHealth:

    “Introducing NIHSeniorHealth” (2003)

    “Introducing the Toolkit” (2007)

    “Healthy Eyes Topic on NIHSeniorHealth” (2013)

    “Complementary Health Approaches on NIHSeniorHealth” (2013)

    Visit NIHSeniorHealth at

  • May 13, 2014

    The Women of Color Research Network (WoCRn), an online community to help women succeed in research, with a special focus on enhancing diversity in biomedical science, has received the Health Improvement Institute’s Aesculapius Award of Excellence. The award, named for the Greek god of healing, is presented to one website and one public service announcement each year to recognize excellence in communicating health information to the public.

    N I H's Women of Color Research Network (W o C R n) logo

    The Health Improvement Institute’s Aesculapius Award of Excellence was recently awarded to NIH’s Women of Color Research Network (WoCRn).

    The WoCRn is a web-based forum and networking site, managed by the Women of Color subcommittee of the NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers, co-chaired by NIA Deputy Director Dr. Marie A. Bernard. Early-career researchers interact with peers and more experienced investigators in this online community. Members can exchange ideas about career development, get advice on navigating the NIH grants process, and participate in discussion groups on topics such as mentoring, science policy, and work-life balance. The site also posts news items pertinent to scientific workforce diversity for comment and discussion. Learn more about the WoCRn.

  • May 13, 2014
    Dr. Stephanie Studenski, BLSA director and chief of the Longitudinal Studies Section

    Dr. Stephanie Studenski joins NIA as BLSA director and chief of the Longitudinal Studies Section in the Translational Gerontology Branch of NIA’s Intramural Research Program.

    On January 24, 2014, NIA welcomed Dr. Stephanie Studenski as chief of the Longitudinal Studies Section in the Translational Gerontology Branch of NIA’s Intramural Research Program. In this role, she will direct the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), one of the nation’s longest and most prestigious studies of aging.

    “I am pleased and honored to join such an exciting enterprise and look forward to new collaborations within and beyond NIA,” Dr. Studenski commented.

    Over her 30-year career, Dr. Studenski has conducted observational studies and clinical trials focusing on human aging and age-related disease, mainly using biomechanical and neuroimaging techniques to evaluate risk factors and mechanisms of late-life disability. She has translated her findings into clinical practice by leading efforts to develop physical performance measures for clinical use and by designing and testing novel interventions to improve mobility and reduce falls.

    “Stephanie has been at the front edge of research on aging all her professional life, and her creativity never ceases to amaze me,” said Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, NIA scientific director and former BLSA director. “She brings to the BLSA outstanding expertise in the area of geriatrics and research on aging and mobility decline. Both are key to begin translating some recent study results into clinical assessment tools and potentially new interventions. In her hands, the BLSA will continue to grow in innovation and scientific productivity.”

    Dr. Studenski comes to NIA from the University Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), where she was a professor of geriatrics in the Department of Medicine, with a secondary professorship with the Schools of Allied Health, Public Health, and Nursing. At UPMC, she served as associate director for research in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology as well as the Aging Institute. She also held a part-time staff physician appointment at the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Centers at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Pittsburgh. Before joining the UPMC staff in 2002, she held positions at University of Kansas Medical Center (1992-2002) and Duke University Medical Center (1979-1992).

    Dr. Studenski has co-authored more than 200 peer-review journal publications, three books, and nearly 40 invited papers and book chapters. She has presented at many national and international meetings, often as a keynote speaker, and served on several advisory boards, including NIA’s national advisory council.

  • May 13, 2014
    N I A’s Health Disparities Research Persons Network (H D P R N) group on LinkedIn

    Members can now join NIA’s Health Disparities Research Persons Network (HDPRN) group on LinkedIn.

    NIA’s Health Disparities Research Persons Network (HDRPN) has a new home with LinkedIn, the popular professional networking site.

    Developed in 2008 by NIA’s Office of Special Populations, the HDRPN provides technical and capacity-building assistance to scientists interested in aging research, especially studies involving diverse and underserved groups. Moving the HDRPN’s virtual network to LinkedIn will help enhance connections among senior investigators and early and mid-career investigators who seek professional guidance about effective study design, minority health, health disparities, and subject recruitment.

    Benefits of joining the HDRPN on LinkedIn

    • Greater interface with NIA’s Office of Special Populations and a direct line to learn about opportunities to participate in grant reviews and advise on other projects to support underserved populations
    • Notices about conferences and workshops related to aging, health disparities, and diversity
    • Opportunities to exchange ideas and potentially collaborate on research to effectively address the needs of diverse aging populations

    Network members can now link their personal LinkedIn profiles to the new NIA Health Disparities Resource Persons Network group.

  • May 13, 2014

    Phelps, Ryan appointed to new roles

    NIA’s Division of Neuroscience recently announced the appointment of two long-serving staff members to new leadership positions.

    Dr. Creighton (Tony) Phelps, Deputy Director of NIA’s Division of Neuroscience

    Dr. Creighton (Tony) Phelps recently appointed as new Deputy Director of NIA’s Division of Neuroscience.

    Dr. Creighton (Tony) Phelps is the new Deputy Director of the division. Dr. Phelps has served as the acting chief of the Dementias of Aging Branch for the past 18 months and will continue to direct the efforts the national network of Alzheimer’s Disease Centers, a program he has overseen since 1992.

    Dr. Phelps has greatly influenced NIA’s Alzheimer’s disease research program. He first joined the Institute in 1985, helping to coordinate the review of research grant applications related to the neurobiology of aging and Alzheimer's disease. In 1987, he became the division’s program director in charge of neurobiology and neuroplasticity. After working at the Alzheimer’s Association from 1989 to 1992, he returned to NIA to help build the infrastructure to advance Alzheimer’s research, including the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center in Seattle and the National Cell Repository for Alzheimer’s disease in Indianapolis.

    Dr. Phelps has focused on the development of major initiatives related to the genetics and genomics of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, programs aimed at identifying Alzheimer’s risk factor genes. He continues to work closely with national advocacy organizations, as well as with sister NIH institutes focused on dementia, to advance understanding of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. In recent years, he has coordinated a project culminating in the 2011 update of the NIA-Alzheimer’s Association guidelines for the clinical and pathological diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

    Dr. Laurie Ryan, Chief of the Dementias of Aging Branch for NIA’s Division of Neuroscience

    Dr. Laurie Ryan recently appointed as new Chief of the Dementias of Aging Branch for NIA’s Division of Neuroscience.

    Dr. Laurie Ryan is the new Chief of the Dementias of Aging Branch. In this role, she oversees the development, coordination, and implementation of NIA’s basic and clinical Alzheimer’s disease research program and directs the Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials research portfolio. Since 2005 when she joined the division, Dr. Ryan has served as program director for Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Trials.

    Dr. Ryan received her bachelor's degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 1986 and her master’s from Loyola College in Maryland in 1991. She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University in 1997 and completed a fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital/Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

    Dr. Ryan came to the NIA from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. She began her career at the DVBIC as clinical neuropsychologist for the site, when DVBIC was an eight-site military, Veterans Affairs, and civilian partner traumatic brain injury disease management program that included clinical care, research, and education. In 2003, Dr. Ryan was named assistant director for research and senior neuropsychologist for the national DVBIC, where she oversaw clinical research development and implementation with a focus on clinical trials.

  • May 13, 2014

    Inside N I A, A Blog for ResearchersDid you miss these? Now is your chance to catch up on the most popular posts from the NIA blog for researchers. The easiest way to get the blog regularly is to subscribe. We invite you to join the conversation!

    1. NIA budget update

      February 12 – Richard Hodes, NIA director
      The NIA got good news about our budget for fiscal year 2014: $130 million more than last year.

    2. Are impact ratings random?

      January 29 – Robin Barr, director, NIA Division of Extramural Activities
      Applicants sometimes ask us if grant reviewers can really determine which grant applications are the very best. Our funding data seems to show that they can.

    3. It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. It is modern times at NIA.

      March 26 – Robin Barr, director, NIA Division of Extramural Activities
      The NIA updated its 2014 funding policy in March. This post describes grant application success rates, paylines, and how this year's funding compares to previous years.

  • May 6, 2014

    Cartoon of four people in conversation.

    We offer many different kinds of grants: training grants, fellowships, career development awards, scientific meeting grants, awards for small businesses, centers, and even construction awards (elsewhere at NIH).

    To distinguish between these different kinds of grants, we name these programs differently and code them with different strings of letters and numbers. The letter-number strings are called "activity codes." Dr. Robin Barr, director of the NIA Division of Extramural Activities, has a new blog post describing activity codes for research grants. "An R01 research project grant is the dollar bill of NIH," Dr. Barr writes. "It is our most recognized award, our most common award, our most flexible award, and our most understood award. So why is it not our only award?"

    Read the full blog post: Activity codes—why not R01 and only R01?

    The NIA blog publishes weekly with information on grants and funding policy, research priorities, scientific meetings, and topics of interest to researchers and others in the scientific community. Subscribe to get it weekly in your email inbox, or grab the RSS feed.


  • May 5, 2014

    The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is recruiting a dynamic and experienced psychological or behavioral scientist with academic training and expertise related to behavioral medicine, mechanisms of behavior change, and the design and conduct of behavioral and/or community interventions. The person hired for this position will play a major role in shaping the scientific agenda at the National Institute on Aging in behavior change and the development of novel interventions for adaptive aging. Our job announcement was posted today, Monday, May 5, 2014. The vacancy closes on May 14, 2014.

    Applications are submitted through at the following links:

    For all US Citizens:
    For Federal Employees:

  • May 5, 2014

    U S A dot gov blog postA new NIA guest post on the blog describes how to plan ahead before a medical emergency: "No one ever plans to be sick or disabled. But being prepared for all kinds of health situations can make all the difference in an emergency." Linking to NIA publications, the post describes how to gather important papers and give consent for advance directives. It also outlines legal and financial considerations when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and where to get more help.

    Read the full blog post: Plan Ahead for Legal, Financial, and Medical Needs Before an Emergency

    As the U.S. government's official web portal, connects the public to U.S. government information and services on the web.

  • April 30, 2014

    Cartoon of four people in conversation.

    Researchers tell us that recruiting older adults for research studies—especially older adults from underrepresented groups—is one of their greatest challenges.

    Dr. Nina Silverberg, assistant director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Program in the NIA Division of Neuroscience, just posted a blog describing efforts in this area. A new project aims to work through local aging services and public health networks to increase awareness among diverse older adults and to include older participants in all types of research "We are developing materials, focusing on healthy aging and research participation," she explains, "with the message that 'You CAN make a difference for yourself and future generations.'”

    Read the full blog post: Encouraging older adults to participate in research

    The NIA blog publishes weekly with information on grants and funding policy, research priorities, scientific meetings, and topics of interest to researchers and others in the scientific community. Subscribe to get it weekly in your email inbox, or grab the RSS feed.