Pilot Grant Program

The LCC pilot grant program nurtures the development of interdisciplinary collaborations and encourages innovative research on the demography and economics of aging. Support from our pilot grant program encourages the vibrant LCC research community and external network to prioritize and pursue pressing population-based questions related to later life course health and well-being through improved understanding of social and economic contexts, disparities, and social participation.

As part of this initiative, we request new proposals annually. 

See projects from previous years.


Currently Funded Projects

Picture of Cindy Vang

Discrimination and Resilience on Health Across the Lifespan: A Mixed-Methods Study of Asian and Asian American Older Adults

Cindy Vang, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, California State University, Chico

This project will investigate discrimination, resilience, mental health, and cognitive health across the life course for Asian and Asian American (AAA) older adults using an exploratory sequential mixed methods approach. We will (1) characterize the levels of discrimination, resilience, cognitive health, and mental health of AAA older adults across the life course and (2) provide the context of overcoming discrimination experienced by AAA older adults across the life course.

LCC Theme: Life-Course Dynamics as Disparity Mechanisms

Picture of Elizabeth Wrigley-Field

Infectious Disease Exposures in Early Childhood Among Contemporary Old-Age White and African American Cohorts

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, Assistant Professor, Sociology, University of Minnesota

It is well established that early-life infectious disease exposures can be harmful to long-term health. These exposures changed dramatically in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century—and thus, during the critical childhood periods of the cohorts that recently reached, are now reaching, or will soon reach the ages when most deaths happen. Yet we have little systematic information about what this childhood infectious disease exposure burden actually looked like across and within birth cohorts, including its variation by race and place. This project will create a new dataset that will generate a far more comprehensive description of these infectious environments than has ever been previously available and will set up future research into the consequences of those environments for aging trajectories.

LCC Theme: Later-Life Course Population Trends in Context

Picture of Frank Heiland

Perceived Workplace Age Discrimination and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Cognitive Functioning among Older Workers

Frank Heiland, Associate Professor, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research

This pilot project will explore the role of perceived workplace ageism in racial/ethnic disparities in cognitive functioning among older workers approaching retirement age. We will examine the differences in cognitive performance between older workers who identify as non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Black, Indigenous, and (other) people of color (BIPOC) and Hispanic. Our first goal is to assess the significance, magnitude, and direction of the relationship between perceived workplace ageism and cognitive functioning among older workers. The second and related goal is to investigate whether perceived workplace ageism moderates the relationship between paid work and cognitive health in later life, for example, by increasing the risk of early withdrawal from the labor force or unemployment among older workers.

LCC Theme: Interrelationships of Work, Family, Community Participation, and Health

Picture of Theresa Andrasfay

Disparities in Inflammation at Older Ages: Exploring the Role of Occupation

Theresa Andrasfay, Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

The objective of this project is to determine which occupational characteristics impact inflammation at midlife and how these are implicated in socioeconomic inequality in midlife inflammation. Because inflammation is a risk factor for many health outcomes—e.g., disability, pain, chronic conditions—and is important for the overall aging process, the results will help clarify the role of work as a social determinant of health and quality of life at older ages and identify potentially modifiable occupational risk factors.

LCC Theme: Interrelationships of Work, Family, Community Participation, and Health

Picture of Renada Goldberg

Work Precarity and the Aging Workforce: Trends in Health Disparity Among Older Service Sector Workers

Renada Goldberg, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Simmons University

The main objective of this study is to measure the mechanisms by which work precarity contributes to disability and negative health outcomes for older non-college-educated workers in the service sector, measuring racial-ethnic differences in the experience of work precarity.

We have three aims: (1) Establish levels of work precarity based on a variety of measures, including wages, hours, work/family conflicts, period of unemployment, or access to health insurance, among older non-college workers (age 50+) in health care, retail, and food service; 

(2)  Measure the degree to which the level of work precarity predicts disability and negative health outcomes over time among older non-college workers (age 50+) in health care, retail, and food service; and (3) Measure whether there are differences in levels of work precarity and disability across racial-ethnic groups of older non-college workers (age 50+) in healthcare, retail, and food service.


LCC Theme: Life-Course Dynamics as Disparity Mechanisms