The National Institute on Aging awarded a $2.5 million grant to Penn’s Palliative and Advanced Illness Research Center to fund a second center for dementia research, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Penn’s new center, named the Transformative Residential Palliative Care for Persons with Dementia Through Behavioral Economics and Data Science, will be led by PAIR director and Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics senior fellow Scott Halpern.
This will make Penn the only institution in the United States with two NIA Roybal Centers, which focus on improving the health of older people, including those with dementia. The first Roybal center at Penn, the Roybal Center on Behavioral Economics and Health, was established in 2009.
The NIA currently supports 13 Roybal Centers in the United States. Nine of these centers focus on improving general health and mobility of older people, and four focus specifically on dementia research, according to the National Institute on Aging.
The new center’s first two projects include testing an online care planning tool for patients with dementia in long-term care and researching methods of improving communication about end-of-life planning between physicians, patients, and family members, the Inquirer reported.
A Penn Medicine team has recently developed an algorithm that measures the optimal time for patients to engage in end-of-life planning with their families.
The new Roybal Center will feature researchers from multiple universities, including Yale, Harvard, Brown, Drexel, and Penn State. These researchers will test ideas using Genesis HealthCare facilities, the LDI Health Economist reported.