Advanced Behavioral Intervention Design Concentration

Learn About the Science of Interventions in Dementia Care and Across the Lifespan!

Recent summits and national reports have emphasized the need for more rigorous methodology when designing, evaluating, and disseminating/implementing dementia care interventions. This four-course sequence is designed to provide PhD students or post-doctoral fellows/trainees with a comprehensive overview of the science of behavioral interventions in dementia care and across the lifespan.

Course Sequence


  • Interested trainees will participate in weekly 60-minute group/peer meetings to touch base; discuss and share academic/professional issues; develop and refine Individual Development Plans; and review resources based on the National Postdoctoral Association’s competencies.
  • Interested trainees are also invited to a monthly, individual meeting with Dr. Gaugler to not only focus on any issues of academic/professional development but also discuss scientific progress on trainees’ individual intervention projects.

Dementia Care Specialization

  • For trainees interested in dementia care, this program will offer $5,000 for four individuals to use over a 2-year period on conference travel, research support, and participation in additional external training opportunities.

ABIDC Trainees

Dana Urbanski, AuD, CCC-A
PhD Candidate
Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, University of Minnesota

Hearing aids can be challenging to use, especially for community-dwelling older adults with co-occurring hearing loss and dementia who rely on informal caregivers for regular care, maintenance, and management of hearing aids. My current dissertation research focuses on identifying and describing barriers to home-based hearing aid use in dementia caregiving dyads—with the goal of identifying modifiable factors to serve as future intervention targets. As part of the ABIDC Concentration, I will leverage my dissertation findings toward creation and pilot testing of a new behavioral intervention to promote successful hearing aid use in dementia caregiving dyads. Following my training, I hope to secure a tenure-track position at a research-intensive institution where I will continue to refine, test, and implement the intervention in accordance with the NIH Stage Model. 

Sam Li, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Tennessee Health Science Center

Dr. Li’s research interests encompass various areas, including dementia caregiving, health disparities, health policy, and artificial intelligence/machine learning. His focus is on developing patient- and caregiver-centered interventions for dementia care, with the goal of enhancing health outcomes specifically in minority populations. Following his participation in the concentration, Dr. Li intends to design tailored dementia care interventions aimed at reducing health disparities and promoting health equity within the community.

Kalisha Bonds Johnson, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC
Assistant Professor, Tenure Track
Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

My research focuses on improving the quality of life of African American persons living with dementia and their care partners by empowering them to successfully navigate the health care system. Specifically, my work examines the parent-adult daughter dyads (i.e., pairs) and how these daughters assist with making health care decisions for their parent living with dementia. I’m interested in co-creating a health care decision-making intervention tailored to African American parent-adult daughter dyads. My future goals are to implement this intervention in real-world scenarios like with an embedded pragmatic clinical trial.

Quinton D. Cotton

Quinton D. Cotton, PhD, MSSA
Robert L. Kane Postdoctoral Fellow
School of Public Health, University of Minnesota

Quinton’s program of research draws on qualitative and mixed-methods research methodology and examines (1) the influence of life events and Social ISMs on health and wellbeing over the life course, (2) utilization of health and social service supports in clinical and community settings, and (3) mechanisms that underpin efficacy and effectiveness of community-based interventions. Black dementia caregivers in low resource environments and those with limited support and high life demands are especially vulnerable and deserve support that works for them.  Quinton plans to develop, test, and disseminate novel interventions that address the needs of Black American AD/ADRD caregivers and increase the availability of culturally tailored support to improve the health and social outcomes of Black dementia caregivers. Quinton will utilize his intervention training to develop a dementia care intervention for Black caregivers and pursue an NIH career development K-award.

How to Apply

Applications are currently closed.

The Advanced Behavioral Design Intervention Concentration is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (K07AG076616) to Dr. Gaugler.


Please contact if you have questions!

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