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UC Davis establishes NIH-funded research center for aging Latinos


Assembling a nationally respected team of nurse, physician and mental-health leaders with broad expertise in brain health and minority aging, UC Davis in Sacramento, Calif., has established the Latino Aging Research Resource Center through a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Institute on Aging.

The center is one of seven National Institute on Aging-funded Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research in the nation and is the only one focused on Latinos and cognitive health. It builds on the internationally respected leadership in Latino mental-health disparities and cognitive decline at the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center and the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities, and it will collaborate with the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, according to a news release.

“We need to identify and train a larger cadre of committed researchers if we are to advance the science and reduce cognitive health disparities for aging Latinos and their families,” principal investigator and center Director Ladson Hinton, MD, director of geriatric psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a researcher at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, said in a news release.

The center includes faculty at both the schools of medicine and nursing. Its co-directors are Heather Young, RN, PhD, FAAN, associate vice chancellor for nursing and dean of the nursing school, and Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities.

“Research of a population’s healthcare needs must take into account health, socioeconomic factors and historical cultural perspectives,” Young said in the release. “We hope to entice young Latino scientists from across professions to add their expertise and then support them in their research, thus building capacity for the future.”

The center emphasizes community engagement through mentoring to encourage people to participate in research and to disseminate brain-health information to Latino communities. The center will award new pilot research grants each year. Initial projects include: volunteerism’s effect on cognitive health; Latina caregivers’ well-being and patient outcomes; and the impact of neighborhood context on older Latinos’ risk of diabetes.

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