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 in the early spring semester. 

Request For Proposals for 2021-2022 


Watch the recording of the information session and Q&A


Currently Funded Pilot Projects

Photo of Carrie Henning-Smith
Photo of Julia Drew

Rural-Urban Differences in 5-Year Mortality among Older Adults in the United States: The Role of Socio-Demographic and Health Characteristics, Living Arrangements, and Spousal Mortality

Carrie Henning-Smith, Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Management, and Julia Drew, Research Scientist, IPUMS

This project will investigate rural-urban differences in five-year mortality among older adults and variation in mortality risk by individual socio-demographic and health characteristics, living arrangements, and spousal mortality. This demographic research will produce new knowledge about the large number of older adults living in rural areas and deepen our understanding of mortality risks in urban versus rural areas.


Photo of Lynn Blewett

The Budgetary Impact of Assisted Living Availability on State Medicaid Spending on LTSS

Lynn Blewett, Professor of Health Policy and Management

This project will document and evaluate Medicaid financing of assisted living services in Minnesota. We have three aims: (1) conduct a preliminary scan of state Medicaid financial support for care in Assisted Facilities; (2) operationalize an assisted living support variable to include in our Minnesota LTSS Projection Model; and (3) provide baseline data on Medicaid coverage of home care services in assisted living facilities. We will develop an initial financial projection model that assesses the impact of the availability of Assisted Living facilities on use and costs of Medicaid spending on LTSS. The model will include both supply information on number and type of Assisted Living, Nursing Facilities, and waivered services as well as demand based on current projections of Minnesota’s aging population and need for LTSS currently available in Minnesota’s LTSS Projection Model. 


Photo of Evan Roberts
Photo of Anna Prizment

Do Grandparents Moderate the Association Between Early Life Conditions and Health at Older Ages?

Evan Roberts, Assistant Professor of Sociology, and Anna Prizment, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation

Grandparents can be a crucial source of material and social assistance to families and make a significant difference to early-life environments. Because early-life social environments and experiences have an important impact on the life course and aging trajectories, the availability and role of grandparents potentially shapes the aging pattern of subsequent generations. We will expand understanding of how grandparents influence the aging and mortality of their grandchildren by creating a dataset of women observed in childhood in the 1920s, for whom we can objectively measure the presence, proximity, and socio-economic status of grandparents and track health and mortality in recent years. Using these data, we will examine whether the proximity and resources of grandparents during childhood moderates the association between early-life social and economic conditions, and health outcomes at older ages.


Photo of Sarah Flood
Photo of Jesse Berman
Photo of Kathryn Grace
Photo of David Van Riper

The Impacts of Extreme Weather on Older Adults’ Time Use

Sarah Flood, Research Scientist, IPUMS; Jesse Berman, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Science; Kathryn Grace, Associate Professor of Geography; and David Van Riper, Director of Spatial Analysis, ISRDI.

This project seeks to understand how older adults’ daily lives are affected by extreme weather and to explore demographic variation in the impact of such events. This project promises to advance our understanding of the effects of different types of extreme weather on daily lived experiences and well-being and speaks directly to NIA’s current “heightened interest in research to understand how extreme weather and disaster events impact older adults” (NIH PAR-19-250). Using novel data linkage, the research team will provide a population-based understanding of older adults’ time allocation and well-being on days when they experience extreme weather events. 


Photo of Rachel Hardeman
Photo of Sam Meyers

The Paradox Of Racial Disparities In Alzheimer’s Disease

Rachel Hardeman, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Samuel L. Myers, Jr., Professor of Public Policy.

This research seeks to resolve a paradox that drives misunderstandings of the impact of Alzheimer’s on African American and white populations. Although research on the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia indicates a much higher incidence among African Americans than whites, mortality rates indicate the opposite. The proposed pilot study tests two competing hypotheses for the divergence in the racial gaps in the recorded diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders vs official mortality statistics. The first hypothesis is that there is a pattern of misdiagnosis of African American patients with cognitive deficits possibly due to lower quality medical care or lack of access to expensive modern screening technologies that minimize misdiagnoses. The second hypothesis is that there is a statistical anomaly arising from the fact that relatively few deaths result in autopsies, the definitive assessment of the presence of Alzheimer’s disease.