Establishing a Framework for Gathering Structural and Social Determinants of Health in Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers

Shana D. Stites, Sharnita Midgett, Dawn Mechanic-Hamilton, Megan Zuelsdorff, Crystal M. Glover, David X. Marquez, Joyce E. Balls-Berry, Marissa L. Streitz, Ganesh Babulal, Jean Francois Trani, J. Neil Henderson, Lisa L. Barnes, Jason Karlawish, Dave A. Wolk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Structural and social determinants of health (SSDoH) are environmental conditions in which individuals are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes across the life course. Growing evidence suggests that SSDoH can help to explain heterogeneity in outcomes in Alzheimer's disease and Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD) research and clinical practice. The National Institute on Aging has prioritized collecting SSDoH data to elucidate disease mechanisms and aid discovery of disease-modifying treatments. However, a major nexus of AD/ADRD research, the national network of Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers (ADRCs), collects few SSDoH data. We describe a framework for feasibly gathering and modeling SSDoH data across ADRCs. We lay out key constructs, their measures, and empirical evidence for their importance in elucidating disease and prevention mechanisms. Toward a goal of translation, the framework proposes a modular structure with a core set of measures and options for adjunctive modules. We describe considerations for measuring SSDoH in existing geographically and culturally diverse research cohorts. We also outline a rationale for universal implementation of a set of SSDoH measures and juxtapose the approach with alternatives aimed at collecting SSDoH data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)694-703
Number of pages10
JournalGerontologist
Volume62
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's
  • Measurement
  • SSDOH
  • Social determinants of health

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