The University of Maryland Older Americans Independence Center (UM-OAIC) has successfully demonstrated that rehabilitation interventions improve cardiovascular fitness, ambulation, balance and activities of daily living which can reduce health-related risk factors in older individuals with chronic disabling diseases. The UM-OAIC’s mission is to determine and evaluate the mechanisms and efficacy of motor learning based exercise rehabilitation that focuses on the restoration and maintenance of function, and prevention of the functional decline that puts older adults with chronic disease at risk for disability.
The UM-OAIC hypothesis is that cardiovascular and neuromotor deconditioning are fundamental to the functional impairments and disabilities observed in older people with chronic disease, and the resultant physiological dysfunction is modifiable by impairment specific motor learning based exercise rehabilitation.
The Center’s aims are to:
- Conduct basic and clinical translational research that examines the mechanisms underlying the functional impairments associated with stroke, hip fracture, metabolic syndrome and prevalent chronic diseases in older people across the domains of neuromotor, muscular, metabolic, and cardiovascular function;
- Translate these findings from the lab to the clinic by designing novel, efficacious motor learning based exercise interventions for community implementation to determine clinical and mechanistic outcomes;
- Support Pilot and Exploratory Studies (PES), Developmental Projects (DPs) and externally funded grants that examine the mechanisms underlying disability, the processes of recovery, and the restoration and maintenance of function in older people; and
- Foster the career development of junior faculty from multiple disciplines into independent, academic scientists in geriatrics and rehabilitation through mentor-based, translational, bench to bedside research training.
The Center’s aims will be accomplished by developing multidisciplinary research working groups (RWGs) that design studies and shepherd older subjects through 1) clinical evaluations which define their functional, physiological and neuropsychological phenotypes, 2) Research Core (RC) studies which determine the mechanisms underlying their functional impairments, and 3) motor learning based exercise rehabilitation that assess rehabilitation outcomes, and then translate safe and efficacious treatments into randomized clinical trials with the goal of changing community practice. The restoration of functional independence through integrated, multi-modal rehabilitation strategies will transform the care of older people with disabilities.
The UM-OAIC consists of three RCs, a Research Education Core (REC), a Pilot and Exploratory Studies Core (PESC) and a Leadership and Administrative Core (LAC). Utilization of the research cores’ services is reserved for researchers that are conducting studies related to the Center’s mission and aims.
The three RCs’ services are vast and include assisting with study design development to hands-on training for investigators and staff. The research cores are led by UM-OAIC investigators with expertise in the specific focus of the core. Investigators interested in collaborating with the Center’s investigators and accessing Center resources may submit a services request through the Center’s Core Request System. Click Investigator Resource Materials for information related to study development and implementation.