The Healthy Aging Research Network: Modeling Collaboration for Community Impact
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As the first Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Prevention Research Centers Program thematic network, the Healthy Aging Research Network was established to better understand the determinants of healthy aging within older adult populations, identify interventions that promote healthy aging, and assist in translating research into sustainable community-based programs throughout the nation. To achieve these goals requires concerted efforts of a collaborative network of academic, community, and public health organizational partnerships. For the 2001-2014 Prevention Research Center funding cycles, the Healthy Aging Research Network conducted prevention research and promoted the wide use of practices known to foster optimal health. Organized around components necessary for successful collaborations (i.e., governance and infrastructure, shaping focus, community involvement, and evaluation and improvement), this commentary highlights exemplars that demonstrate the Healthy Aging Research Network's unique contributions to the field. The Healthy Aging Research Network's collaboration provided a means to collectively build capacity for practice and policy, reduce fragmentation and duplication in health promotion and aging research efforts, maximize the efficient use of existing resources and generate additional resources, and ultimately, create synergies for advancing the healthy aging agenda. This collaborative model was built upon a backbone organization (coordinating center); setting of common agendas and mutually reinforcing activities; and continuous communications. Given its successes, the Healthy Aging Research Network model could be used to create new and evaluate existing thematic networks to guide the translation of research into policy and practice.
author list (cited authors)
Belza, B., Altpeter, M., Smith, M. L., & Ory, M. G.