About Us

About the Duke Roybal Center

Mobility is fundamental to active aging. Intimately linked to health status and quality of life, the self-initiated day to day movements of older adults are shaped by their behavior and their environment. The number of older Americans is rapidly increasing and there is a critical need to build and accelerate research capacity to test and scale behavioral interventions, programs and practices that promote healthy aging in general and mobility in particular. To address this need, we propose to establish an NIA Edward R. Roybal Center at Duke University with the theme of “Accelerating Translational Behavioral Intervention Research on Aging and Mobility.” Our goal is to catalyze researchers across disciplines to develop and test innovative behavioral interventions to optimize mobility for older adults. These interventions will aim to foster independence and community participation, reduce unplanned health service use, and enhance quality of life. Our center aims are to (1) develop the next generation of scientists committed to programs of translational research using interventions grounded in behavioral or social science principles to improve mobility and promote independent living of older adults; (2) use an experiential learning-based approach to behavioral intervention development and implementation; and, (3) accelerate translation so interventions can be successfully developed, validated, and scaled across NIH Stage Model levels. Our three overarching aims will be met by the Center’s two cores, designed to enhance the research infrastructure for behavioral intervention development, stimulate new research collaborations, and promote translational behavioral research in aging and mobility. The Management and Administrative Core will coordinate the Center’s activities; promote interactions and networking among pilot awardees, Center scientists who represent all levels of the NIH Stage Model, and collaborating partners; integrate with our long-standing NIA-funded Pepper and Demography and Economics of Aging Centers; and use experiential learning activities (e.g. intensive lab-based intervention development and grant writing workshops) to engage investigators in learning the practical research skills necessary for conducting intervention research from problem conception to implementation.Our Pilot Core will use a novel accelerator model that provides awardees with support and practical experience in working with a dedicated research team to conduct pilot research that is feasible, rigorous, and informs theory-based intervention development. We will leverage a skilled implementation team to foster the development and testing of behavioral interventions to benefit older adults with efficient project management for progression to more advanced levels in the NIH Stage Model. This approach was proven effective in our CTSA and builds from the Pepper Center’s success on innovation in aging and mobility. The Duke Roybal Center will become a central resource for behavioral intervention development and implementation, accelerating the translation of research into practice, products, and policies that positively impact the daily activities of older adults.

Relevance to Public Health Statement

Mobility limitations weaken overall health, particularly for older adults. Despite research and theory to optimize mobility, little is translated to practice or products that affect day-to-day life. The Duke Roybal Center will provide a research infrastructure with a novel experiential learning and team science approach to enhance behavioral intervention development and implementation skills and stimulate, facilitate and accelerate the science on behavioral interventions to optimize mobility and promote independent living for older adults.

Our Goals

” The goal of the Duke Roybal Center is to catalyze researchers across disciplines to develop, test and implement innovative behavioral interventions grounded in behavioral or social science principles to improve mobility and promote independent living of older adults. ”

More specifically, our Center aims to:

(1) Develop the next generation of scientists committed to programs of translational research using behavioral interventions grounded in behavioral or social science principles to improve mobility and promote independent living of older adults.

(2) Use an experiential learning-based approach to behavioral intervention development and implementation (e.g., activities such as intensive lab-based intervention development and grant writing).

(3) Accelerate translation so interventions can be successfully scaled across the NIH Stage Model levels.