The public health impact of interventions for slowing cognitive decline and reducing dementia risk in minority older adults is often not realized because stakeholders have not been involved in the development of preventive strategies or interventions intended for them.
The overarching goal of the JHAD-RCMAR’s Community-Liaison and Recruitment Core (CLRC) is to communicate and collaborate with community organizations to increase the translation of the preventive strategies and interventions that are developed. The CLRC works with co-directors of the Research Education Component and RCMAR Scientists to identify and make actual connections to community organizations and other partners essential to their research projects. We will look for principles of community engagement in the review of the pilot projects submitted for funding. We also encourage elements of community engagement in the implementation phase and/or dissemination of the research findings.
Currently, a Community Resource Institute (CRI) is being developed to address training and community development issues within the JHAD-RCMAR. The CRI will be a focal point for the activities for the partners, establishing a learning community that will be available to all stakeholders and provide a forum in which the RCMAR Scientists can network and develop new skills that will be transportable beyond the JHAD-RCMAR, while providing mutual support to the Center’s activities. We are also planning to convene conferences and workshops to provide a forum for RCMAR Scientists and members of community-based organizations to present ideas for future studies and to obtain feedback from senior investigators and community members. Meetings also will include components that focus on the identification of priorities, intervention approaches, and strategic planning.
The CLRC also seeks to collaborate and identify the core skills necessary for community members to participate in study tasks and to develop a curriculum to teach skills, such as those involved in survey techniques and data collection. Core courses are being designed that address necessary skills across research topical areas, but with a special emphasis on older adults. The CRI training agenda is being developed in collaboration with community partners to ensure that training activities are relevant to partners.
The co-directors of the CLRC, Dr. Janice Bowie and Dr. Elizabeth Tanner discuss recruitment, sampling procedures, and provide or facilitate resources and contacts with relevant providers and community stakeholders that can enhance the RCMAR Scientists’ pilot projects. To evaluate recruitment efforts, they assess the number of individuals referred and eligible for study participation, enrollment into study protocols, completion of study activities, and retention, as applicable. Since each project differs on eligibility criteria and procedures involved in participation, recruitment outcomes are determined separately for each pilot project. When possible, the co-directors coordinate recruitment and research efforts among JHAD-RCMAR Scientists so that only one request of participants time is needed. In collaboration with the Analysis Core, the CLRC generates descriptive statistics to characterize referral and enrollment patterns.