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Initiated by the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, the University Seminar on the Future of Aging Research has as its mission to provide an interactive interdisciplinary forum for scientists to engage with one another, to generate new ideas and new methods, and to stimulate new approaches to the science of aging. The format emphasizes dynamic exchanges and dialogue, catalyzed by brief presentations of new work by CU/CUMC researchers. Discussions are sparked by leaders in complimentary areas spanning context, individual, and organismal/biological perspectives.

Professor Jennifer Manly

Professor Brandon Pearson

Professor Kavita Sivaramakrishnan

Rachel Farber

Meeting Schedule

10/24/2022 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Quantifying future risk of Alzheimer’s Disease during early adulthood– The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health
Allison E. Aiello, Columbia University

12/05/2022 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Imaging Alzheimer's disease: the circuit mechanisms of memory storage and loss
Jae-eun Miller, Columbia University

02/13/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
From Racism to Dementia: Illuminating pathways through stories and memories
AJ Adkins-Jackson, Columbia University


We are all familiar with racial disparities in Alzheimer's disease related dementias (ADRD) that suggest persons racialized as Black have greater incidence and mortality than persons racialized as White. These figures are persistent in our scientific repertoire, though we are less familiar with the causes of racial disparities. Our interdisciplinary colleagues have repeatedly demonstrated that the root cause of racial disparities in health is racism. Though ADRD, and aging research in general, minimally explores this antecedent. In this presentation, we will explore three pathways by which racism influences the health of persons racialized as Black. We will discuss these pathways using Black stories from movies and television series. During our discussion, we will workshop these pathways further by exploring critical periods of exposure, physiological responses, and health experiences that may illuminate future research on the impact of structural racism on ADRD.

2:00 PM
Culturally Tailoring a Decision-Aid for the Older Latinx Population with Chronic Kidney Disease
Thalia Porteny, Columbia University


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects more than 1 in 7 US adults (~37 million people), disproportionately affecting Latinx populations who experience 33% higher risk of kidney failure than non-Hispanic Whites. Given their elevated risk of CKD and widely-held cultural concerns about care, it is critical to develop a decision-aid to support kidney treatment decision-making in a culturally appropriate manner to improve informed decisions for the Older Latinx population. I will first present our findings from the Decision Aid for Renal Therapy (DART) trial, proven to reduce decisional conflict and improve knowledge among older adults with kidney failure. I will then describe how we are currently tailoring and pilot testing the Decision Aid for Renal Therapy in Spanish (DART-S) for the Older Latinx CKD population using stakeholder engagement tactics and focus groups.

Discussion Questions:

1. Complex treatment decision-making is a personal process, but some cultural aspects may influence our decisions. How can we know if our tool is designed in a balanced way?

2. Having an effective dissemination strategy to reach our target DART-S population is one of our objectives and challenges. What are some innovative methods for disseminating DART-S?