Adults 60 and older are invited to join a registry that will help propel aging research at the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville Aging Studies Center, or JAX-ASCENT, will serve as a hub for behavioral, nutritional and pharmacologic clinical trials targeting older adults, particularly racial minorities and people of low socioeconomic status. Researchers will also study social determinants of health that contribute to chronic diseases and functional decline within those demographic groups.
Organizers are using a five-year award from the National Institutes of Health to develop the center, which will be housed in the Professional Office Building on the UF Health Jacksonville campus. Space renovations began in December and wrapped up in March. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for May 11.
“JAX-ASCENT was specifically created to provide an integrative physical and intellectual environment in which trainees at all levels and scientists from diverse disciplines can interact and conduct clinical and behavioral translational research on aging and independence of older adults,” said Tina Bottini, assistant dean for research administration and compliance at UF COMJ.
Bottini said the first planned study is a trial on age-related muscle mass loss. When the center becomes self-sustaining, there may be at least 10 research studies under way at any given time.
The center will include interview and examination rooms for health assessments, physical performance measures and cognition, memory, body composition and strength tests. JAX-ASCENT members will collaborate with UF faculty from the Gainesville campus, including personnel from the Institute on Aging and the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center.
The facility will house not only UF researchers, but also investigators from other institutions, some of whom will be funded by the NIH.
JAX-ASCENT wants to register 1,000 people each year. Registry members will receive information about the latest research being conducted and, if they qualify, may be invited to take part in a variety of studies.
There is no cost to participate and compensation may be provided, as well as transportation to and from the center, if needed.
Bottini says among older adults, racial minorities and people of low socioeconomic status have been underrepresented in clinical research, making it more difficult to develop the best prevention and treatment approaches to assist them. Jacksonville is an ideal location for this center because of the high concentration of residents who fall into those demographic groups.
“JAX-ASCENT will fill a critical gap in knowledge regarding the translation and dissemination of research from efficacy studies to underserved, minority older adults who are at high risk for geriatric conditions,” Bottini said.
For more information or to sign up for the registry, visit UFJaxAgingStudy.com or call toll-free at 866.386.7730.