Older Adult Research Specialist Training

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is preparing older adults from diverse backgrounds for new roles as Older Adult Research Specialists.

When a particular group is not well represented in research on a topic such as Alzheimer’s disease or diabetes, the results of that research may not be as beneficial to that group of people. The underrepresentation of certain groups in research can contribute to health disparities and hinder progress in achieving health equity.

In general, older adults from historically marginalized groups, older adults who live in rural areas, and those with less education are not well represented in research studies.

There are many reasons for this underrepresentation of diverse older adults in research. And, there are many solutions. We need you to help us discover, create and enact those solutions, both through work on campus as part of research teams and through work in the community.

The Role: Older Adult Research Specialists will serve a variety of roles:

  • Innovators and change agents (identifying and developing solutions that can be used by researchers across campus to more effectively recruit and retain diverse older adults in research studies. Older Adult Research Specialists will also create new resources for older adults – to learn about research, including key findings and what they mean for older adult health, and to increase understanding of particular studies and what participation will involve.)
  • Educators (of other older adults in communities, of co-workers on research teams; the latter will include key considerations for including older adults in research)
  • Community engagement specialists who connect with diverse groups of older adults across Colorado
  • Communication specialists who can help build bridges by more effectively communicating about opportunities to participate in research, what participation will involve, and research findings

The Preparation: You do not have to have a background in science or research. We invite older adults with no such background. We are seeking to engage diverse older adults who can help researchers more effectively connect and communicate with people like yourself – your peers.

Successful completion of the following requirements:

  • Complete the free, 7-week (virtual) Health Navigator Training provided by the Multi-disciplinary Center on Aging (~42 hours total)
  • The Health Care Navigator Training must be successfully completed before registering for the University of Colorado’s Older Adult Research Specialist training program. The Older Adult Research Specialist training is a 7-week, cohort-based training (~40 hours total). All participate in a team-based solution-focused project that will contribute to the resources available to recruit and retain diverse older adults in research.
  • Specialist training program. This is a 7-week, cohort-based training (~40 hours total). All participate in a team-based solution-focused project that will contribute to the resources available to recruit and retain diverse older adults in research.

The Benefits to You:

  • Encore careers in a dynamic learning environment that will allow you to be a leader creating new ways to engage peers in research (options will include part-time and full-time positions)
  • Interact with both young researchers, as well as top researchers in the country; learn about leading innovations in older adult health
  • Free Health Navigator Training and opportunity to complete the associated assessment; those who pass the assessment are eligible to be listed on a statewide registry of certified health navigators (a great resume builder!)
  • Opportunity to engage with peers through the Older Adult Research Specialist training, completing team-based, solution-focused projects (an opportunity to apply knowledge, skills and ideas). No registration fee; stipends provided.
  • Once training is complete, older adults will have opportunities to apply for paid positions as Older Adult Research Specialists who can enhance the workforce at the Anschutz Medical Campus (options will include part-time and full-time positions).
  • Contribute to Age-Friendly University practices as CU Anschutz becomes one of only two campuses in the State of Colorado to achieve designation as an Age-Friendly University.

For additional questions, inquiries can be directed to:

Jodi Waterhouse, Director, Outreach Programs, CU Anschutz Multidisciplinary Center on Aging 
Jodi.waterhouse@cuanschutz.edu 
or 303-724-0832

Or

Dr. Kathryn Nearing, Assistant Professor, CU Anschutz Division of Geriatrics 
Kathryn.nearing@cuanschutz.edu