The University of Florida’s Pain Research and Intervention Center of Excellence, or PRICE, and the UF Institute on Aging, or IOA, were awarded a five-year, $1.9 million grant from the National Institute on Aging to establish a new center – the UF Resource Center for Minority Aging Research.
Under the leadership of principal investigator Roger B. Fillingim, Ph.D., director of PRICE and professor at the UF College of Dentistry, the center will pursue two primary goals, the first of which is to promote the diversity of the aging research workforce by identifying, supporting and mentoring promising investigators from underrepresented backgrounds. The second goal is to enhance the health of older populations by conducting state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research investigating social and behavioral contributions to pain and disability among older adults.
A partnership between PRICE and the Institute on Aging, the UF RCMAR truly represents a team effort as the leadership includes faculty members from three UF colleges and five different departments. The center will be housed at UF’s Clinical and Translational Research Building, and the faculty will comprise a multidisciplinary group of talented and productive scientists whose expertise spans the spectrum of clinical and translational research related to biopsychosocial contributions to pain and disability among older adults.
For the five-year period spanning 2018-2023, UF’s Resource Center for Minority Aging Research is one of 18 sites funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Institute on Aging, up 11 sites from the last five-year grant period from 2012-17 that featured seven sites across the country. The institute funds multiple resource centers across the country with the mission of decreasing health disparities in minority elders through research, mentoring, improved recruitment and retention methods for research studies, creating culturally sensitive health measures with greater precision, and increasing the effectiveness of interventions.
“Pain is a major public health problem across all ages, but it is a particular concern for older adults who are at greater risk for pain and tend to experience pain that is more widespread and more disabling,” Fillingim said. “We are particularly excited that the UF Resource Center for Minority Aging Research will allow us to provide training and support for investigators who will address these complex issues related to pain and aging. These scientists represent the future of pain and aging research, and we hope that their work will lead to reduced pain and improved quality of life for older adults.”
Four cores, detailed below, will help guide Fillingim and the UF Resource Center for Minority Aging Research work towards the center’s mission and goals.
UF RCMAR’s Four Cores
- Administrative Core (AC): The AC will provide intellectual leadership and programmatic oversight to the center. Using a team leadership approach, the AC is responsible for implementing all aspects of the RCMAR program and for coordinating activities and promoting cohesion and synergy across the RCMAR Cores. In addition, the AC Leadership ensures the success of the UF RCMAR by facilitating interactions and collaborations between the RCMAR and other UF entities and with programs at other institutions.
- Research Education Component (REC): The REC builds upon UF’s commitment to developing a diverse biomedical research workforce and to its longstanding strength and investment in interdisciplinary research in both pain and aging. The REC proposes a multimodal approach to recruiting promising investigators from underrepresented backgrounds, and we emphasize competency-based development of skills for conducting high-impact social and behavioral research addressing our theme of biopsychosocial contributions to pain and disability among older adults.
- Analysis Core (AnC): The AnC provides: 1) training, mentoring and research career support to RCMAR Scientists; 2) biostatistical support in study design, proposal development, data management, statistical analysis, and research dissemination for RCMAR Scientists’ research; and 3) new methodology for adaptive design of clinical trials and simultaneous statistical inference.
- Community Liaison and Recruitment Core (CLRC): The CLRC capitalizes on research strengths of two disciplines, epidemiology and communication science, to provide infrastructure that supports the recruitment and community engagement needs of RCMAR scientists as well as contribute to scholarly understanding of what processes are most effective for engaging diverse stakeholder groups.