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Coordinating Center of the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers

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Abstract Led by Wake Forest School of Medicine since its inception in 2005, the Coordinating Center (CC) for the NIA- funded Older Americans Independence Centers (OAIC) Program has become a dynamic force for initiating, facilitating, and coordinating activities that maximize interactions and collaborations within the OAIC network and between the OAIC network, other NIA programs, and the aging research community. During this funding cycle, the CC has fostered dramatic growth in the number and impact of OAIC collaborative projects. With this cycle, the CC will be awarded as a U24 cooperative mechanism with enhanced funding to pursue new initiatives and build on CC accomplishments. This proposal will take advantage of these positive changes to further enhance the impact of the OAIC program with the following 4 bold Specific Aims, each of which includes several innovations and new initiatives, and which were informed by our preliminary data, including semi-structured interviews with each OAIC director and with NIA program officers. Aim 1. Enhance communications and coordination within the OAIC program and with the greater aging research community. Aim 2. Facilitate and promote OAIC-themed collaborative research. Aim 3. Enhance the development of the next generation of researchers in aging. Aim 4. Establish a process for accelerating dissemination and implementation of key OAIC research findings. Our aims will be achieved by: 1) building on our 12 years of experience and earned trust in progressively building collaborations; 2) adding several innovative strategies to our current array of well-functioning programs and processes; 3) expanding our dynamic leadership team (below); 4) obtaining regular input and guidance from the OAIC Directors Committee and the NIA program office; 5) empanelling 4 working groups to assist in carrying out each of the Aims; and 6) utilizing a formal, structured plan to continually evaluate progress toward each aim and the overall program. The CC will be led by a cohesive team of highly experienced OAIC leaders with complementary skills and well- defined roles: Dalane W. Kitzman, MD, project PI, associated with the CC since its inception and Director since 2015; Michael Miller, PhD, a CC co-investigator since its inception; Karen Bandeen-Roche, MD (Johns Hopkins), leader for Aim 3; Jeff Williamson, MD, MHS (Wake Forest), leader for Aim 4, and Nicholas Pajewski, PhD, junior faculty `leader-in-training' for Aim 2. This proposed renewal of the CC will further enhance and extend OAIC collaboration, provide vital new translational opportunities, particularly for junior faculty, promote development of new investigators, and disseminate key OAIC research findings to positively influence the care of older Americans.
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