Life Course Development

Current Projects

Alzheimer's Disease Risk and Ethnic Factors: The Case of Arab Americans

The planned project (funded by the National Institute on Aging) will form the basis of a future prospective study to advance understanding of racial/ethnic health disparities in AD incidence. The specific aims are to: 1) Characterize cognition and AD risk among Arab Americans in metro-Detroit; 2) Determine the contribution of immigrant factors to cognition and AD risk among older Arab Americans; 3) Identify aspects of social networks that have greatest effects on cognition and AD risk. This project will produce currently unavailable normative data that will assist practitioners in the assessment of AD in English and Arabic speaking Arab American elders.

Leveraging Social Networks: A Novel Physical Activity Intervention for Senior Housing

Leveraging social networks: a novel physical activity intervention for senior housing (2020-2024; Principal Investigator): This Career Development Award (K01) funded by the National Institute on Aging aims to develop and test a social network-based physical activity intervention designed for affordable (HUD subsidized) senior housing communities. This project includes career development activities and conducting of a pilot feasibility study, as a first step in developing a novel low-cost intervention that will work with naturally occurring social resources to increase physical activity in lower income communities and reduce health disparities.

Housing context and functional health among lower income older adults: The mediating role of social resources

Housing context and functional health among lower income older adults: The mediating role of social resources (2019-2020; Principal Investigator): This pilot project funded by the Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging, a National Institute on Aging funded center aims to: 1) Determine if the social resources available to lower income older adults vary by housing context; 2) Investigate if there is an association between housing context and functional health among lower income older adults; and 3) Determine if social resources mediate the link between housing context and functional health.

Brain Health and Ethnic Disparities in ADRD Risk: The Case of Arab Americans

The project (funded by the National Institute on Aging) leverages the first prevalence study of ADRD among Arab Americans (AG057510) to examine brain mechanisms underlying links between sociocultural risk/protective factors and ADRD. The purpose of this research is to investigate the links between immigrant/cultural factors, brain health, and clinical outcomes related to ADRD. Our specific aims are: 1) Quantify differences in brain aging among Arab Americans and Whites in metro-Detroit and determine the contribution of brain health to group differences in ADRD; 2) Determine the contribution of immigrant/cultural factors (e.g., national origin, age of migration) to brain aging among Arab Americans; 3) Characterize the influence of social relations on brain and cognitive aging among Arab Americans and Whites.

Developing Sustainability Indicators for the Great Lakes

This project funded by the Erb Family Foundation aims to identify, develop, and refine social and economic indicators to facilitate a more complete understanding and demonstration of the value of the Great Lakes. Data from these indicators will help determine actions needed to ensure sustainable growth, and monitor progress toward achieving true swimmable, drinkable, and fishable Great Lakes and tributaries.

Take a Hike! Aging, walkability and physical function in Flint's older adults

 This project funded by the University of Michigan’s MCubed program examines how physical mobility, balance self-efficacy, and cognition are related to physical activity, neighborhood walkability, and engagement in life space among urban dwelling older adults who reside in and around Flint, MI.

The Michigan Center for Contextual Factors in Alzheimer’s Disease (MCCFAD)

The Michigan Center for Contextual Factors in Alzheimer’s Disease (MCCFAD) is the collaborative effort between University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University. The Center is based on the campuses of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. MCCFAD is one of the Alzheimer’s disease-focused Centers coordinated by the Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (AD-RCMAR) and it is funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Our research, training and community-based activities are implemented through four interacting components: the Administrative Core, the Research and Educational Core, the Analytic Core, and the Community Liaison and Recruitment Core.

The MCCFAD is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) grant P30AG059300.

Website: https://mccfad.isr.umich.edu/

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in ADRD Risk: The Impact of Social Relations

Social relations, a multidimensional concept with high intervention potential, have been found to predict cognitive health and ADRD, though these associations may differ across race/ethnicity. Still not identified are: (1) how early and mid-life social relations are associated with ADRD risk in different racial/ethnic groups; and (2) specific aspects of social relations that modify ADRD risk. This study will leverage three waves of the Social Relations Study, plus a fourth wave of the >65 sample, to examine social relations and ADRD risk across racial/ethnic groups. The project is funded by the National Institute on Aging.