Home » Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC)

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.
SAVE THE DATE! -Thursday May 10th 8:00am-Noon @ Kirby Horton Hall in Duke Gardens
Workshop for Clinical Researchers: Physical Function Assessment in Older Adults
Balance, mobility, cardiovascular endurance, and strength are essential elements for successful aging and independent living. Clinicians and researchers alike who care for older adults need to be able to recognize, assess, and treat functional impairments. However, very few allied health professionals or clinical researchers are aware or receive adequate hands-on training in functional assessment tools available for rapid and accurate assessment of clinically meaningful impairment in older adults.
The Duke Pepper Physical Measures Core is pleased to announce a half-day workshop that will highlight functional assessments that can be utilized across the continuum of functional ability and implemented across a variety of settings (e.g., resource-rich vs. resource-limited, outpatient vs. inpatient). This workshop includes presenters with clinical and research expertise in performance-based measures of physical function and will consist of instructional keynote presentations and interactive training tutorials. Faculty, clinical providers, trainees, and fellows who are looking to gain actionable skills in the area of functional assessment for older adults are encouraged to attend!
Registration is free and will open February 1. Space will be limited to 24 participants.


Duke Health's Clinical Practice Today features Duke Pepper Research project To Improve Post-Surgery Outcomes in Seniors
The Duke Pepper research initiative POSH (Perioperative Optimization of Senior Health) is featured in a recent article of Clinical Practice Today, a monthly bulletin of Duke Health. The pre-surgical exercise project focuses on patients older than age 65 who are scheduled for surgery but not currently exercising.
Researchers are currently analyzing whether increased activity before surgery, as measured in step counts, improves resilience and is correlated with a more positive recovery from surgery.

[Article link]

Duke Pepper Center Research Selected as Editor's Choice in Journals of Gerontology, Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences Special Edition On Caloric Restriction and the Biology of Aging
Duke Pepper researchers Daniel Belsky, PhD, Kim Huffman, MD, PhD, Carl Pieper, DrPH, and William Kraus, MD are among the co-authors of the Editor’s Choice selection in the latest issue of The Journals of Gerontology, Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences, which focuses on Caloric Restriction and the Biology of Aging. Their article, Change in the Rate of Biological Aging in Response to Caloric Restriction: CALERIE Biobank Analysis, is a retrospective examination of data from the National Institute on Aging CALERIE randomized trial. Their analysis across 3 time points found that caloric restriction slowed biological aging as measured by Klemera–Doubal Method Biological Age and homeostatic dysregulation.

[Article link]

Pepper Researcher Receives NIH Grant To Lead the Duke Center for REsearch to AdvanCe Healthcare Equity (REACH)
Kimberly Johnson, MD, has received one of 12 NIH awards to fund a specialized research center designed to conduct multidisciplinary research, research training and community engagement activities focused on improving minority health and reducing health disparities.
Dr Johnson also received funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study the barriers and facilitators of advance-care planning for different racial groups: Reducing Disparities in the Quality of Palliative Care for Older African Americans through Improved Advance Care Planning (EQUAL ACP).

[Duke Medicine News story]

Data Integration Working Group (DIWG) Semi-monthly (2nd and 4th Thursdays)
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 Jan 25th, 9:30-11:00am
Where: Learning Lab 1502 Blue Zone, Duke Clinics
Topic: Progress Reports
In the coming weeks, DIWG will present progress reports from its exceptional awardees. The next meeting be a dual presentation with Rasheeda Hall and Amy McNulty, who will discuss their current aging-related research, including Pepper projects. Titles NOT revealed until showtime!
Looking Ahead: Feb 8th: Proposed agenda: DIWG leadership—review of current projects, core needs, Center progress
Feb 22nd: Open
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]

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]