May 06, 2019

St. Catherine University Awarded $1.5 Million R25 Grant from National Institutes of Health-National Institute on Aging

The grant will be used to implement the Katies for Aging Research and Equity (KARE) program, which will prepare diverse students for careers in aging research.

Funds will help build cross-disciplinary gerontology minor and aging research opportunities for diverse students

St. Catherine University announced today that it has been awarded $1.5 Million over 5 years from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Institute on Aging (NIA). This grant, the largest St. Kate's has received to date from the NIH, will be used to implement the Katies for Aging Research and Equity (KARE) program, which will prepare diverse students for careers in aging research.

"This opportunity is a compelling example of how our St. Kate's values of academic excellence and community create the necessary synergy to support future development and innovation in a field of growing demand," said Lynda Szymanski, Interim Provost, St. Catherine University. "Our liberal arts foundation, paired with a health science application to critical societal issues, has long been a feature of our health education programming, and dovetails effortlessly with the philosophy NIA promotes through this MSTEM-based grant."

The R25 grants from NIA are awarded to institutions that propose creative and innovative research education programs to diversify the workforce in aging by supporting undergraduate competency and completion in medicine, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (MSTEM), as they relate to aging. According to the NIH, adults age 65 and older will represent 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2030 -- an 8% increase from 2005.

A University-wide Principal Investigator team, including Dr. Katie Campbell (Interprofessional Education), Dr. Josh Guggenheimer (Exercise and Sports Science), and Dr. Marcie Myers (Biology), from the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences will lead this interprofessional and cross-school initiative.

"This grant helps St. Kate's define solutions to meet the needs of the rapidly growing aging population," said Lisa Dutton, Dean of Health Sciences, St. Catherine University. "It will provide our students with the support, education, and skills needed to conduct research that contributes to a better understanding of the complex health factors associated with aging. This grant advances our undergraduate research programming along with our mission to educate diverse women to lead and influence."

"Our shared humanity is a common thread amplified in the care of aging populations," said Tarshia Stanley, Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences. "St. Kate's is an ideal place for this work because we help our students connect a basic science foundation to real-world health issues. Using multiple sources and experiences to gain knowledge and perspectives is key to how meaningfully we interact as provider and patient. The team built across competencies here at St. Kate's is a truly innovative approach."

KARE is an innovative and integrated research education program that will prepare the next generation of underrepresented minority women to be leaders in aging research by combining student support, education, and mentored research opportunities for students working with scientists and clinicians at St. Kate's, as well as at Mayo Clinic and the HealthPartners Neuroscience Center.

  • From the time of recruitment into the KARE program, scholars will receive holistic support through community building activities, career development programming, academic and research mentorship, and networking events within the larger aging research community. Scholars will also remain connected to the program beyond graduation as part of an active community of KARE alumnae.
  • KARE scholars will receive a cross-disciplinary education in Gerontology with a focus on age-related health disparities and interprofessional collaboration. Coursework will focus on the environmental, sociocultural, behavioral, and biological factors that underlie age-related health disparities among diverse populations of older adults.
  • Each KARE scholar will be engaged in mentored aging-related research through multiple on-campus and off-campus research opportunities. As a complement to ongoing aging research at St. Catherine University, external partnerships have been developed with the Mayo Clinic Kogod Center on Aging in Rochester, MN and the HealthPartners Neuroscience Center in St. Paul, MN. KARE scholars will have the opportunity to focus on clinical, behavioral, or biomedical projects within the field of aging research either at the University or with one of the KARE partner institutions.

Funding is supported by the National Institute On Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25AG060892.