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GSA Welcomes RCMAR National Coordinating Center

James Appleby - CEO Blog

We were thrilled to receive the news that the National Institute on Aging (NIA) has awarded GSA a grant to become the new home to the National Coordinating Center for the Resource Centers on Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) program! This is a major milestone moment for the Society!

Established 26 years ago, RCMAR is the NIA Division of Behavioral and Social Research’s flagship infrastructure and mentoring program for scientists from diverse backgrounds. The collaborative agreement that GSA has undertaken represents the largest grant we’ve ever received from NIA, and we’ll be working very closely with their team members to steward the program.

GSA has engaged several distinguished scholars from our membership to lead this endeavor. GSA Vice President of Policy and Professional Affairs Trish D’Antonio, BS Pharm, MS, MBA, BCGP, will be stepping into the role of contact principal investigator. Joining us on the leadership team are principal investigators Tamara Baker, PhD, MA, FGSA; Lisa Barnes, PhD, FGSA; and GSA Treasurer Carmen Castañeda Sceppa, MD, PhD, FGSA.

Tamara, a past GSA secretary and Behavioral and Social Sciences Section chair, is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and associate director of research in the Department of Psychiatry’s Mental Health Equity Program. Her research to date has focused on pain management, health outcomes and behaviors, and domains of health disparities and social determinants of health among diverse race and marginalized populations.

Lisa is the Alla V. and Solomon Jesmer Professor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine and a cognitive neuropsychologist in the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Widely recognized for her contributions to minority aging and minority health, her research interests include disparities in chronic diseases of aging, cognitive decline, and risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

And Carmen, who currently serves as GSA treasurer, is dean of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences and professor of health sciences at Northeastern University. Her research seeks to understand the role of lifestyle interventions on advancing overall health and quality of life; she examines health and wellness in settings that promote physical activity among underserved and vulnerable populations.

These scholars have developed an ambitious and comprehensive portfolio of programs to support all RCMAR centers, working in close collaboration with the NIA. This work will enhance the prominence of the RCMAR program and bolster behavioral and social research on aging and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias throughout and beyond the aging field.

Our initial agreement to run the National Coordinating Center is for five years, and builds on the decades of commitment GSA has had to issues surrounding minority aging research. Many GSA members are currently running or involved with individual RCMAR centers across the country. We look forward to working with all center principal investigators to support the mentorship and career development of researchers from diverse backgrounds and foster rigorous behavioral and social science research!

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