Dr. George W. Rebok, professor in the department of mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Roland J. Thorpe, Jr., associate professor in the department of health, behavior and society at the Bloomberg School, received a $2.3 million, five-year grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to establish the Johns Hopkins Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center for Minority Aging Research. The center, which will be based at the Bloomberg School, will focus on Alzheimer’s disease, a condition for which there is no cure and which poses a growing health disparity, with African Americans at a disproportionate risk for the disease, compared to the non-Hispanic Caucasian population.
The center will mentor a diverse group of investigators in minority aging research on Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders and health disparities from a life course perspective; encompassing biological, behavioral and community factors contributing to maintenance of cognitive health and reduction of dementia risk among racial/ethnic older adults.
The Center will also conduct Alzheimer’s disease research that addresses disparities in cognitive impairment and dementia risk in late life in minority older adults within a framework that encompasses individuals, families, social networks, neighborhoods and communities. The Center’s emphasis on mentoring a diverse group of investigators will occur within the context of engaging communities and health care providers, especially family caregivers, primary care practices, communities of faith and community organizations. The goal is to develop strategies for early dementia detection and interventions with the potential to reduce the effects of cognitive impairment and dementia on minority older adults through new forms and methods of service delivery.
Drs. Rebok and Thorpe are both also core faculty in the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health. Dr. Rebok has conducted research on cognitive interventions with older adults, particularly minority older adults, and the effects of aging and dementia on driving. Dr. Thorpe’s research focuses on understanding how key social determinants of health such as race, socioeconomic status and segregation affect health and functional outcomes across the life course with a focus on men.