Project Summary

Background: Death rates of Detroit seniors are twice as high than in the State of Michigan, according to the “Dying Before Their Time” study that gained national attention in 2002 and again in 2020. Premature death rates and the disproportionate burden of metabolic, cancer, and heart diseases were not abated over the nearly two-decade span. The African American majority city is the most impoverished in the nation and more than half of older adults (OAs) live in medically underserved areas. Furthermore, Detroit has one of the lowest internet connectivity rates in the nation and OAs lack access and skills to use devices which impedes connecting to health enhancing information and telehealth. Digital exclusion contributes to African American OAs dramatic lag behind other groups in terms of health outcomes and participation in research.

Proposed Solution to the Problem: The project team will adapt and implement the Detroit HealthLink for Equity in Cancer Care model to address African American aging PCOR/CER by cultivating research and technology proficiency in a newly established Aging Research Council (ARC) to galvanize older adult involvement with PCOR/CER.


  • Establish an Aging Research Council (ARC)
  • Build older adult capacity to be involved with virtual research
  • Identify and prioritize PCOR/CER topics relevant to older African Americans


  • Convene an Aging Research Council (ARC) made up of older Detroit residents, researchers, and local community health and aging advocacy organization members
  • Adapt existing engagement tool, “Guide to Using Your Tablet to Connect to the Internet, to Use Email, and to Join Video Calls” for use among older Detroit residents;
  • Deliver technology and adapted guide to older ARC members
  • Adapt existing engagement tool, “Building Your Capacity” (BYC) curriculum for African American aging related PCOR/CER
  • Deliver adapted BYC curriculum to ARC
  • Facilitate interactive processes and dialogue to prioritize research needs relevant to older African American populations and produce a report that summarizes the project
  • Disseminate tools and project summary report

Projected Outcomes and Outputs:

Short-term outcomes during the project period include:

  • An urban aging focused “Build Your Capacity” research training curriculum. This adapted curriculum will be designed for training older adults to participate and partner in aging PCOR/CER with a focus on the health outcomes that disproportionately affect older African American populations.
  • A senior-centered “Guide for Using Your Computer” manual. This manual will be tailored for older adults to increase their knowledge and use of technology so that they can participate and collaborate in PCOR/CER.
  • An African American Older Adult Driven Research Agenda. We will develop a report that includes a PCOR/CER agenda driven by older African American Detroit residents.

Medium-term outcomes (0-2 years post-project period) include:

  • Increased capacity of older adults to be involved in PCOR/CER
  • Increased capacity of researchers to involve older adults in virtual PCOR/CER
  • Sustained operation of the ARC

Long-term outcomes (3+ years post-project period) include:

  • Broader dissemination of project outcomes and tools including creating a webpage to archive materials and tools
  • Collaboration among researchers who will partner with older adults to investigate questions based on PCOR/CER agenda

Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: Convene 15 stakeholders who will be integral to the project; the stakeholders will make up the Aging Research Council (ARC) that will include three researchers, two community health advocates, and two aging advocates who will identify and engage eight older African American Detroit residents who lack experience with technology to be involved throughout the two year project.

Project Collaborators: Institute of Gerontology, Detroit Food Policy Council, Village of Oakman Manor of Presbyterian Villages of Michigan, Hope Village Revitalization, Denby Neighborhood Alliance, Oakland County Cancer Action Council, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors, Center for Health Equity and Community Knowledge in Urban Populations, Wayne State University, Friends of Parkside

Project Information

Carrie Leach, MPA, PhD
Wayne State University

Key Dates

March 2025


Project Status
State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: April 19, 2024