There are multiple opportunities for families, persons with memory loss/other chronic conditions, and care professionals to participate in research projects that seek to design and evaluate innovative programs.

Summary of Current Projects

*Indicates projects or studies where you can get involved.
†Indicates projects or studies directed by the Families and LTC Projects.

University of Minnesota Caregiver Registry* †

Becoming part of the registry provides the Families and Long-Term Care Projects permission to contact you in the future about any upcoming opportunities to participate in our research as well other basic information. It does not enroll you in any study.

Sign up online:
Family Members

Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP)*

Goals of this collaborative are to educate and train Minnesota’s primary care and geriatrics workforce to care for older adults in integrated models and to partner with community-based organizations across the state to address gaps in the care of older adults. Current initiatives for the Families and Long-Term Care Projects team are state outreach by Dr. Gaugler through presentations in each of the 87 counties in Minnesota and offering resources and referrals to attendees following these presentations.

Immigrant Memory Collaborative †

The goal of this project is to fill the gap in knowledge of dementia prevalence, care needs, and resources among African immigrants in Minnesota. A community-engaged assessment will be conducted, based on our partnership with the African Career, Education, and Resources, Inc. (ACER) and guided by a project advisory board.

The NIA IMPACT Collaboratory

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) Imbedded Pragmatic AD/ADRD Clinical Trials (IMPACT) Collaboratory works to build the nation’s capacity to conduct pragmatic clinical trials of interventions embedded within health care systems for people living with dementia and their caregivers. The goals of the IMPACT Collaboratory are to:

  • Develop and disseminate best practice research methods;
  • Support design and conduct of pragmatic trials, including pilot studies;
  • Build investigator capacity through training and knowledge generation;
  • Catalyze collaboration among stakeholders, healthcare providers, and investigators; and
  • Ensure the research includes culturally-tailored interventions and people from diverse and under-represented backgrounds.

The BOLD Public Health Center of Excellence on Dementia Caregiving

The Public Health Center of Excellence on Dementia Caregiving employs a public health dissemination strategy to achieve the outcomes of increasing access to topic-specific tools and materials and increasing use of topic-specific best practices and proven strategies to support unpaid caregivers of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). The Center features a robust, engaged network of 17 leading national organizations that represent caregivers of people with ADRD from diverse communities, care contexts/settings, and backgrounds.

Designing and Evaluating a Comprehensive Support Program for Families Caring for Relatives Living with TBI-AD/ADRD *

This study will be the first of its kind to develop a support program for caregivers of people living with traumatic brain injury as well as Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease related dementia (TBI-AD/ADRD). We call this program the TBI-AD/ADRD Caregiver Support Intervention (TACSI).

The Porchlight Project

Recommendations of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act as well as the National Research Summits on Care, Services, and Supports for Persons with Dementia and their Caregivers have called for continued creation of innovative, scalable, and sustainable community-based supports for older persons with Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease related dementias (AD/ADRD) and their caregivers. The proposed real-world efficacy trial (Stage III of the NIH Stage Model) features an established collaboration between Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota to evaluate a novel adaption of a statewide volunteer program (the “Porchlight Project”) to assist people with AD/ADRD and their family caregivers better manage dementia at home. If successful, the Porchlight Project will offer a potentially efficient, wide-ranging service model for states and communities to implement for volunteers, persons with AD/ADRD, and family caregivers.

Academic Leadership Career Award

Although considerable investment in dementia care science has occurred, questions continue as to whether the existing evidence base is sufficient to warrant widespread dissemination and implementation of innovations to improve the health and well-being for people living with dementia and their caregivers. The short-term career objective and the focus of this Academic Leadership Career Award is to implement graduate curricula, extensive mentoring, and robust support to enhance pre- and post-doctoral training in the science of dementia care interventions (the Advanced Behavioral Intervention Design in Dementia Care program). The long-term objective that will result from this effort is the creation, leadership, and maintenance of infrastructure at the University of Minnesota that serves as a national resource for advanced methodology in dementia care intervention science.

Developing a Culturally Immersive Psychoeducational Intervention for Black Immigrant Older Adults with Dementia and Their Caregivers: The Black Immigrant Project

Black older adults and their caregivers in the United States are unduly burdened by poor health outcomes related to dementia. Black immigrants are poised to make up a significant portion of the Black older adult population and are at risk of poor health outcomes related to dementia, similar to U.S. born Black older adults. The present training and research will directly facilitate the development of interventions that meet the intersecting cultural and social needs of Black immigrants with dementia and their caregivers, which is an important first step towards improving their health.

Home Alone: Developing a Home-Based Intervention for People with Cognitive Impairment Who Live Alone*

This research study will evaluate a support program for older adults with memory impairment who live alone. The seven-session program is designed to help promote well-being and living safely. Coaches will share strategies for lifestyle planning and increasing meaningful activity and social engagement. The program can be delivered at participants’ homes or via telehealth (e.g., secure video conferencing or by phone).

Qualitative Research to Quantify Exposures to Racism among Older Adults*

The overall objective of this pilot project is to identify through qualitative inquiry the elements of racism across the life course that affect healthy aging and healthcare experiences for Black older adults. Black older adults have worse health outcomes and poorer access to high-quality healthcare services as compared to their white counterparts. Emerging evidence documents the role of community and social factors (i.e., racism, segregation, structural poverty) in healthy aging processes and access to healthcare. However, little is known about the specific impacts of exposure to racism over the life course on healthy aging. Our work will explore and elucidate how multiple systems and institutions of structural discrimination (including within healthcare) can lead to widened racial inequities in healthy aging. Furthermore, we will explore how factors of resistance and resilience (e.g., familial and cultural factors) moderate the impact of racism on healthy aging. We will sample Black older adults ages 50 and above in the Midwest (Minneapolis, Minnesota) and anticipate reaching data saturation with 24 participants.

Center for Dementia Respite Innovation

The Alzheimer’s Association, in partnership with USAging and the University of Minnesota (UMN), proposes to advance the field of dementia respite care through a 5-year grants award program entitled the Center for Dementia Respite Innovation. Our overall goal is to enable community-based respite programs to improve and increase the delivery of person-centered dementia care with a focus on innovation, collaboration, outcomes, accessibility, affordability, and sustainability.

Public Summaries of Completed Projects

A Proactive Health Monitoring Intervention for Dementia Caregivers: The eNeighbor (R18 HS22836, 2014-2020)

Care to Plan: Preliminary Efficacy of a Tailored Resource for Family Members of Persons with Dementia (R21 AG060419, 2019-2022)   

Refining a Driving Cessation Management Intervention for Person with Dementia and
their Family Caregivers: CarFreeMe™ (R21 AG067537, 2020-2022)

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