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Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC)

To understand and optimize reserve and resilience



The overall goal of the Duke Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (Duke OAIC) is to support research and training that improves the independence of older Americans. Our primary focus is understanding and optimizing reserve and resilience. Our approach is founded on the insight that independence in older adults is related to an individual’s ability to withstand or recover from functional decline following acute or chronic health stressors. Our overall strategy for the OAIC is to serve as a sustained resource to our investigators through a broad range of training and research studies; the goal will be to address knowledge gaps in our focus with an emphasis on translational and interdisciplinary research. We recruit and develop early stage investigators in aging research related to our focus and utilize the substantial strengths of the Duke academic and health system environment to advance our focus.

Our goals are accomplished through the synergistic activities of the Leadership and Administration Core (LAC), Research Education Component (REC), Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core (PESC), and 3 Resource Cores: Molecular Measures Core (MMC), Physical Measures Core (PMC), and Analysis Core (AC).

AIMS of the Duke Pepper Center
  1. To better understand and optimize reserve and resilience in older adults through an integrated research program.
  2. To develop and evaluate new methods that advance the study of reserve and resilience.
  3. To identify and develop the next generation of researchers who will become leaders in aging and geriatrics research related to the Duke OAIC focus.
  4. To support pilot studies through the PESC that acquire information needed to select or design successful, more definitive research studies related to the Duke OAIC focus.
Duke Pepper Center 2017 Requests For Applications for Funding in Aging Research
  1. The Duke Pepper Center Research Career Development Award promotes the development of future research leaders who are conducting basic, translational, or clinical research within the focus area of physical resilience. The Research Education Component will fund up to 3 Awards, of 1-2 year duration, with funding beginning July 1, 2018.

    [Download Research Career Development Award RFA]

  2. The Duke Pepper Center Health Innovations Technology Development Award funds the development or adaptation of technologies that can be used to measure physical capabilities in a way that can contribute to the Physical Measures Core overall theme of physical resilience. The duration of the project may be for one or two years. The budget request is $10,000/year in direct costs.

    [Download Health Innovations Technology Development Award RFA]

  3. The Duke Pepper Center Pilot Study Award includes, but is not limited to, feasibility studies (i.e., for interventions or other research methodology), development of new methodologies or technologies, analysis of existing data, and exploration of high risk but innovative ideas. The duration of the pilot study may be for one or two years. The budget request for pilot studies is $25,000-$40,000/year in direct costs.

    [Download Pilot Studies Program in Aging Research Award RFA]

Duke Pepper Center Resilience Symposium at the 21st IAGG World Congress (San Francisco, CA)

    Jack Rowe, IAGG President, extols the virtues of a Pepper Center symposium focused on resilience!

    Left to right: Daniel Belsky, PhD – Duke Pepper Center presenter, Stephanie Studenski, MD, NIA – presenter,
    Jack Rowe, MD, IAGG President, Cathleen Colon-Eméric, MD – Duke Pepper Center session Co-Chair,
    Heather Whitson, MD – Duke Pepper Center session Co-Chair, Karen Bandeen Roche, PhD – Johns Hopkins Pepper Center – session Discussant, Kenneth Manning, MS, Durham VAMC – presenter, Janet Bettger, SCD, Duke Pepper Center presenter.

A Sample of Duke Pepper Center Research Presentations at IAGG 2017
  1. Researchers in the Physical Measures Core presented an overview and initial findings from The 6th Vital Sign: A Mobile App for Population Health Surveillance of Walking Speed. Walking speed is a more accurate predictor of life expectancy than age or gender.

    [View Slideshow]

  2. Cathleen Colón-Emeric, MD, presented Measuring Physical Resilence in Older Adults, which discussed definitions of resilience and challenges in its functional measurement.

    [View Slideshow]

  3. Nicki Hastings, MD, presented Association of Age with Patient Experience of Care in Medically Complex Veterans. For primary care recipients in the VA system, overall satisfaction with care differed by age, but assessment of quality of chronic illness care did not differ.

    [View Slideshow]

  4. Researchers from Duke Medical Center and the National University of Singapore collaborated on a presentation: Does Healthcare Complexity Relate to Lower Confidence or Non-adherence to Medication?: Analysis of SAFE-PHASE study.

    [View PDF]

Pepper Researcher Testifies on Nutrition & Aging Before US Senate Committee
Connie Bales, PhD, RN testified before the US Senate Special Committee on Aging on the association of proper nutrition with healthy aging. Two trends have combined to alter the profile of malnutrition in the elderly: the obesity epidemic and population aging.

[Read Transcript]

Intervention Development Workshop: For Early Investigators
The Duke Pepper Center Research Education Component invites early investigators to register for a free, 7-session series focused on intervention development for older adults. The objective of this workshop is to support researchers in developing and testing complex interventions targeting older populations. Expert faculty facilitators will review key points using case study examples, highlight resources and provide self-study materials. Ample time for discussion, small group work, and problem-solving around the scholars’ research areas will be provided.

[View Flyer]

Data Integration Working Group (DIWG)
The Duke Pepper Data Integration Working Group meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month. The DIWG is open to members of the Duke community and is a wonderful inlet for individuals who want to learn more about the resources and opportunities of the Duke Pepper Center.
When: Thursday Sept 28th, 9:30-11:00am
Where: Learning Lab 1502 Blue Zone, Duke Clinics
Topic: (tentative) Bill Kraus will discuss using Mobile Health to measure behavioral circadian patterns and biological resilience.
Looking Ahead:
Oct 12th: TBA
Distinguished Professorship Award
William E. Kraus, MD, Duke Pepper researcher and Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core Co-Leader, has been awarded a Distinguished Professorship by the School of Medicine for his extraordinary scholarship in advancing science and improving human health. Dr. Kraus has had a major influence on U.S. public policy on exercise recommendations, and is the author of over 300 peer-reviewed publications.

[Read more]

Physical Resilience: A Systematic Review of Research and Conceptual Themes
Duke Pepper Center researchers recently conducted a systematic review of current literature on resilience to present a conceptual framework that encompasses the related construct of physiologic reserve and to guide future research.

[PubMedCentral free article]

Quantification of Biological Aging: Translational Pathways
Dan Belsky, PhD, a Duke Pepper Fellow is studying the relation of clinical and genomic biomarkers to healthspan.

[View Diagrams]