Project Summary

Background: Most aging-focused researchers lack the knowledge and skills required to apply patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) methods, including within comparative clinical effectiveness research (CER), and believe these methods require too many resources with very minimal benefit. This traditional research paradigm assumes researchers are the primary experts, but ignores the reality that researchers come with their own bias that drives their research foci, methods, and dissemination.  

Proposed Solution to the Problem: This project will virtually engage older adults, including those from underrepresented communities, caregivers, students, faculty, and funders nationally to deconstruct this traditional research paradigm. By working directly with multi-lens advisory structures, the project team will: (1) demonstrate that this work is possible, (2) provide clarity as to the obstacles that stand in the way, and (3) achieve commitment from stakeholders to work side-by-side on solutions for meaningful change.

Objectives: Our primary objective is to increase the willingness and readiness of researchers to implement PCOR/CER with older adults and their caregivers, including those from underserved populations. The project’s aims are to (1) educate stakeholders on PCOR/CER benefits and strategies, (2) train more aging-focused researchers and broader stakeholders to apply PCOR/CER skills, and (3) obtain buy-in from academic leaders and funders to include PCOR/CER in their research curricula and funding portfolios.

Activities: To address the project aims, the project team will (1) engage older adults and broader stakeholders through engagement structures to inform its work; (2) assess outstanding needs for multimedia education and implement new products to address these needs; (3) adapt and expand its Training and Mentoring Program to support more researchers, students, and older adults to apply PCOR/CER concepts; and (4) modify and expand its PCOR Self-Assessment to new academic programs and funders.

Projected Outcomes and Outputs: In the short-term, the project team expects 500 researchers and stakeholders will be exposed to its education products, 10 training recipients, and eight academic leaders and funders infusing PCOR/CER into their curricula or funding portfolios.

In the mid-term (zero to two years post project period), the team’s education products will reach an additional 500 individuals, and five additional academic programs and/or funders are expected to apply PCOR/CER to their work.

In the long-term (three and more years post project period), the team’s products will inform 100 research, teaching, or funding products. Outputs include Engagement Process Reports, Multi-Media Utilization Reports, PCOR Self-Assessment Progress Reports, and Training Impact Reports.

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: Patients will be defined as older adults, including those who are frail and their caregivers. Broader stakeholders are aging-focused students and researchers, higher education leaders, and funders. The team’s engagement structures include (1) a Steering Committee, (2) an Older Adult Subcommittee, and (3) topic-specific work groups. Older adult and student learners will be paid advisors on the project management team. Steering Committee members, subcommittee members, and mentors will receive a stipend, caregiver support, and technology support, as needed.

Project Collaborators: The project team will subcontract with the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston to co-lead this project and to provide an academic and student lens to project activities. Additional partners include the UMass Boston Gerontology Department and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of Southern California, The John A. Hartford Foundation, and the Healthier Black Elders Center.

Project Information

Erin McGaffigan, MS, MSW, PhD
Collective Insight

Key Dates

18 months


Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: July 5, 2023