Regenstrief scientists will play key role in nationwide effort to improve care for dementia patients

Regenstrief research scientists Christopher Callahan, M.D., and Alexia Torke, M.D., will play a key role in a major nationwide effort to improve healthcare and quality of life for people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. The project, funded by the National Institute on Aging, will create a massive collaborative research incubator to develop trials aimed at evaluating interventions for the disease that affects more than 5 million Americans.

The research incubator, called the NIA Imbedded Pragmatic AD/ADRD Clinical Trials (IMPACT) Collaboratory, is part of a five-year, expected $53.4 million grant being led by researchers at Brown University and Boston-based Hebrew SeniorLife. The collaboration is composed of eight working groups comprising experts from more than 30 research institutes, including Regenstrief Institute, Indiana University School of Medicine and Eskenazi Health.

The first objective of the project is to fund and provide expert assistance to as many as 40 pilot trials testing care-based, non-pharmacological interventions for people living with dementia. The second objective is to develop best practices for implementing and evaluating interventions and share them with the research community at large.

Drs. Callahan and Torke will lead the Training Core.

The number of people who suffer from Alzheimer's is only going to grow. We must develop solutions to improve the quality of care and quality of life for these people. Training the researchers who will ask and answer these questions will play a pivotal role in the success of this project, and I am thrilled to be a part of this meaningful collaboratory."

Dr. Christopher Callahan, Training Core leader and research scientist at the Indiana University Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief Institute

The responsibilities of the Training Core include developing, funding and coordinating a two-year junior career development award program to train researchers to conduct embedded pragmatic clinical trials in persons living with dementia, providing training activities, and integrating trainees into the collaboratory's academic activities. These scientists will play a key role in advancing research to help those living with dementia.

"This grant will revolutionize the national infrastructure for research into how care is delivered to people living with dementia and their caregivers," said Vincent Mor, PhD, co-leader of the collaboration and a professor of health services, policy and practice at Brown's School of Public Health. "The key is figuring out how to take an idea that worked in an ideal situation and adapt it so it can be piloted in the messy real-world system of care providers that exists across the U.S."

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