Dear Friends,

Welcome to this special research edition of the HIGN newsletter! Building on HIGN’s legacy of applied research in geriatrics, we are excited to share with you the exponential growth of our research portfolio that furthers our mission, ensuring older adults achieve optimal health and quality of life. Since 2016, when Dr. Bei Wu joined as our director of research, we have steadily developed our research faculty and infrastructure. With foci in health equity, implementation science/pragmatic trials, mobile health, and health services research, our growing team of over 40 students, staff, and faculty have developed innovative, real-world lines of inquiries that have substantial impact on policy and practice, touching the lives of tens of thousands of older adults and their families.

One of the most exciting things about fostering this growth has been to see our diverse and talented HIGN team work together to further the science and caring of older adults. Our research collaborative comes together every other week to ask questions, critique work in preparation for submission, problem solve research challenges, learn, and develop new collaborations. We’ve created a positive, collaborative culture where individuals throughout our enterprise feel belonging, leading to strong contributions in support of our flourishing enterprise.

For instance, Luchy Gonzalez, an undergraduate summer research scholar developed an impactful project on inequities in prescribing patterns in hospice amongst persons living with dementia. Xiang Qi, a PhD student, completed a study with Dr. Wu that highlights the impact poor oral health has on the cognitive status of older adults and was reported on by multiple news outlets. And three early career faculty collaborated to highlight the need for engaging nursing assistants in nursing homes to enhance receptivity to COVID-19 vaccination. These are but a few of the examples of how our collaborative work is informing policy makers and changing practice.

As we ring in 2022, we look forward to continued innovation and collaboration in impactful aging research. Dr. Jasmine Travers is launching her recently funded Beeson Award from NIA (tied for only the 4th nurse to ever receive this prestigious aging leadership award) to better understand the unmet needs that disproportionately drive avoidable nursing home placement amongst racial and ethnic minorities. Dr. Wu and a collaborator, Dr. Xinqi Dong, will further establish their new Rutgers-NYU Center for Asian Health Promotion and Equity (CAHPE) to understand the linkages between cardiometabolic disease and mental health through an NIMHD P50 award. And, Dr. Daniel David will complete work funded by the National Palliative Care Research Center focused on understanding the palliative needs of individuals living in Medicaid funded assisted living facilities. Other examples of our investigators are highlighted in more depth below. I’ll end this note with a moment of gratitude for Dr. Wu’s leadership of our HIGN research enterprise these past 5 years, as she transitions to her new expanded role here at NYU Meyers. In her new role, she will continue to serve as an HIGN affiliated faculty member, and we will continue down the impactful path she helped construct. In that vein, we look forward to developing new collaborations both internally and with our colleagues nationally and internationally to improve care for older adults!

Ab Brody, PhD, RN, FAAN
Associate Director, HIGN