Press Release

Studies on Aging and Late-Life Functioning Given Policy Impact Award

May 3, 2023

The National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) and National Study of Caregiving (NSOC) have been awarded the 2023 Policy Impact Award by the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). According to AAPOR, the award recognizes “outstanding research that has had a clear impact on improving policy decisions, practice and discourse, either in the public or private sectors.”

NHATS is designed to support policy-relevant demographic research investigating trends, trajectories, and consequences of late-life disability for individuals and families. NHATS also serves as a foundation for NSOC, which interviews family and unpaid caregivers of NHATS participants. 

Funding for NHATS and NSOC is provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institutes of Health (NIH). The studies are led by faculty from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research (ISR), with data collection by Westat.

“Through NHATS and NSOC, the NIH NIA aims to foster research that guides efforts to reduce disability, improve care, maximize health and independent functioning, and enhance the quality of life for older people and their caregivers. This kind of recognition underscores the importance of these resources as tools for building an evidence base for policymakers, practitioners, and the public to support better function and care, including care for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their families,” says John W. R. Phillips, PhD, Chief of the NIA Population and Social Processes Branch.

Brad Edwards, Vice President and Director of Field Services at Westat and NHATS co-investigator, will accept the award and acknowledge the contributions of the project team, past and present, at AAPOR’s 78th annual conference on May 12 in Philadelphia. These key leaders include ISR’s Vicki Freedman, PhD, and the Bloomberg School’s Jennifer Schrack, PhD, and Jennifer Wolff, PhD, who today co-lead NHATS and NSOC. Also making invaluable contributions to the work were the late Judith Kasper, PhD, of the Bloomberg School, who co-led NHATS and NSOC until her death in 2021 and Laura Branden, recently retired from Westat, who directed data collection activities since the studies began in 2011.

“It’s very gratifying to witness the growth of a new, complex research effort like this deepening our understanding of how daily life changes as we age, enhancing the lives of many older Americans,” notes Edwards.

NHATS and NSOC have grown to become a catalyst for policy- and practice-relevant analyses of aging, disability, and care. As of 2023, more than 6,000 individuals had registered to use the data and nearly 700 peer-reviewed articles using NHATS and NSOC had been published.

The NIA/NIH funding was provided under award numbers R01AG062477 and U01AG032947. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIA or the broader NIH.

Learn more: AAPOR Award Winners

PRNewswire Press Release


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