Background: Older adults are often underrepresented in research, and when they are represented, study participants tend to be healthier than the population being studied. Many aging-focused researchers lack the knowledge required to apply PCOR concepts, which limits opportunities for older adults and caregivers to inform their work.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: Through virtual information sharing and capacity-building activities, the Aging PCOR Learning Collaborative will promote a paradigm shift by providing opportunities to reimagine older adults as collaborating partners, not just research subjects.
Objectives: The project’s aims are to proactively share PCOR information related to aging; encourage teaching curricula and funding portfolio redesign; and provide technical assistance and training. With these activities, more researchers will learn how to engage stakeholders while gerontology programs and funders will more readily apply PCOR concepts to teaching curricula and funding portfolios. In the long run, a paradigm shift will make PCOR more common, leading to patient-centered systems of care for older adults.
Activities: Project activities include the development of a virtual network to share resources and experiences; video clips and podcast episodes to introduce PCOR to new audiences; a gerontology PCOR self-assessment to examine ways to infuse PCOR into teaching; aging-related funder discussions on ways to infuse PCOR into funding portfolios; and technical assistance and trainings to develop or improve engagement practices.
Projected Outcomes and Outputs: In the short term, more aging-focused researchers and stakeholders will gain PCOR knowledge; this will lead to increased expectations for PCOR use as evidenced in teaching curricula and grant Requests for Proposals. In the long term, PCOR adoption should lead to intellectual infrastructure for patient-centered systems of care. Outputs include aging-focused PCOR video clips and podcast episodes; a higher-education self-assessment tool; and technical assistance and training products.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: The project team defines patients as older adults with chronic conditions and their caregivers. Gerontology students, researchers, faculty, and funders also are stakeholders. Stakeholders will participate on the steering committee, which will meet six times per year to inform implementation, evaluation, and dissemination activities. Two older adults and a PhD student will join the management team, which will meet two times per month to inform grant progress. A short-term workgroup will include the older adult, student, and faculty voice in the design of the Gerontology Department PCOR Self-Assessment Tool.
Project Collaborators: The team will subcontract with Collective Insight to facilitate the steering committee and workgroup, develop the virtual network, and manage technical assistance and training. The team will partner with UMass Boston’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, CJE SeniorLife and the Bureau of Sages, and Sages’ symposium participants to engage stakeholders in information sharing, systems redesign, and technical assistance and training. The team will engage subject matter experts to provide technical assistance and training, and will work with the Gerontological Society of America; the John A. Hartford Foundation; and the SCAN Foundation to reach stakeholders and offer educational opportunities.