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. 

Watch the recording of the 2020 information session and Q&A

See projects from previous years.

Currently Funded Pilot Projects

Picture of Janette Dill

Measuring the supply and turnover of direct care workers in long-term services and supports (LTSS) in the care of adults with AD/ADRD

Janette Dill, Associate Professor, Health Policy and Management

The long-term goals of this project are to assess the supply of the LTSS direct care workforce needed to support the growing demand for AD/ADRD care and to measure the extent to which compensation and resource-related constraints contribute to high turnover and instability in the LTSS direct care workforce. This pilot study will conduct preliminary analyses toward these goals, leading to a rigorous study that will use robust, nationally-representative datasets to measure the supply of the LTSS direct care workforce relative to the AD/ADRD population in local labor markets, identifying areas with relative shortages of this critical workforce. This will be the first study to provide crucial national and regional rates of employer and industry turnover among LTSS direct care workers, including turnover rates across LTSS sectors.

LCC Themes: Later Life-Course Population Trends in Context and Life-Course Dynamics as Disparity Mechanisms

 

Picture of Wei Duan-Porter

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Risk for Cognitive Decline and Dementia among Veterans with PTSD

Wei Duan-Porter, Assistant Professor, School of Medicine

Our long-term goal is to address the negative effects of PTSD on cognitive functioning over the life-course, focusing on racial and ethnic minorities. We will meet this objective by building on our prior work with a national cohort of racially and ethnically diverse veterans in VA care who had PTSD and no diagnosis of dementia in 2009 (n=7645). The proposed pilot work will identify surviving respondents and evaluate potentially higher mortality among minority (vs. White) participants. We will update VA data on medical conditions, health care utilization, and participants’ addresses. To examine community-level markers of socioeconomic disadvantage, we will link publicly available Census data on several key measures (e.g., proportion unemployed and proportion of households below the poverty line) using participants’ home zip codes. We will also evaluate the feasibility of recruiting minority participants for cognitive assessments by telephone (using the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status [TICS-M] and telephone-modified Mini-Mental Status Exam [T-3MS]). 

LCC Theme: Life-Course Dynamics as Disparity Mechanisms

 

Picture of Hannah Neprash

Primary Care Exam Length and Potentially Inappropriate Prescribing among Older Adults

Hannah Neprash, Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Management

This project will use a database of national electronic health record (EHR) data from athenahealth, Inc., a large health information technology company, to test for a relationship between exam length and PIP. This database contains detailed information on more than 40 million primary care visits for adults aged 65 and older, including exam length and medications ordered by the clinician during each visit. To quantify exam length, we will use methods developed and deployed by study team members. To define and quantify PIP, we will rely on the 2019 American Geriatric Society Beers Criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults. This proposed work will contribute much-needed evidence on possible age-related disparities in time use in the form of interaction times between older Americans and their physicians and how that relates to the quality of care that older adults receive. Time use studies typically focus on paid work or family relationships, not community relationships, and yet time spent in medical care is arguably key to healthy aging. We will also promote understanding about how race and gender in combination with being over 65 shape exam times and their health impacts.

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

 

Picture of Colleen Peterson

Comparing the Utility of Subjective and Objective Measures of Older Adult Health and Physical Functioning to Predict Long-Term Driving Difficulty and Driving Cessation

Colleen Peterson, Postdoctoral Associate, Families and Long-Term Care Projects Team, University of Minnesota

The proposed exploratory study will identify the simplest and most predictive measures of driving difficulty and driving cessation by identifying relationships between several self-reported subjective and objective physical health measures and long-term incidence of driving difficulty and driving cessation. Limited research has evaluated both objective and subjective mental and physical health indicators to predict only older adult driving cessation over shorter follow-up periods. The more long-range prediction capacity a tool for driving cessation has, the more potential it has for reducing negative older adult health outcomes by linking them earlier to interventions that might delay driving cessation (e.g., rehabilitation to reduce physical difficulties) or support its successful transition (e.g., community-based transportation resources). The proposed study will identify simple, long-range predictors of both driving difficulty and driving cessation to inform evidence-based clinical practice and research.

LCC Theme: Later Life-Course Population Level Trends in Context

 

Picture of Tom VanHeuvelen
Picture of Jan VanHeuvelen

Intergenerational Health Socialization in Rural America

Tom VanHeuvelen, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Jane VanHeuvelen, Assistant Professor, Sociology

The goal of the proposed study is to investigate health socialization occurring within families that impacts health knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors throughout the life course. We focus on health socialization between retirement aged residents between 65 and 90 of rural areas and their adult children. We seek to identify key factors in the socialization process that influence adoption of health promoting behaviors among retirement-aged rural residents. Because health socialization is necessarily relational, we propose a data collection process that will capture the interconnected nature of health behavior and health socialization.

LCC Themes: Life-Course Dynamics as Disparity Mechanisms and Later-Life Course Population Trends in Context