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Advancing Clinical Resources, Education, and Workforce Sustainability Through Research in Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine

      The Foundation’s mission is to support the advancement of education, clinical resources, workforce, and research. The 2022–2024 Foundation Strategic Plan outlines a number of areas to increase clinical resources; identify and fill gaps in educational needs for PALTC clinicians; and promote workforce programs in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Studies toward these ends underwent rigorous review this year.
      The Foundation is delighted to announce the winning proposal, “The Impact of Indoor Ventilation on COVID-19 Outcomes in U.S. Nursing Homes,” from the University of Rochester Medical Center. Brian E. McGarry, PT, PhD, and Ashvin D. Gandhi, PhD, co-principal investigators, have a well-established research program. Together, they are tackling environmental factors such as air quality and how air filtration systems can improve the safety of residents in nursing homes. Drs. McGarry and Gandhi have an excellent track record of producing high-quality, impactful research on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. nursing homes. To learn more about this study, please watch Dr. McGarry’s brief video discussing his research at www.paltcfoundation.org.

      Research Application and Review Process

      The application process is a two-step procedure. First, we request that you provide basic descriptive information in a brief “Letter of Inquiry.” Second, if your project is selected for a full review, we ask that you submit an extensive protocol, similar to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) format. This year we received 26 Letters of Inquiry reflecting a wide range of topics and research methods. Some proposals were descriptive in nature; others proposed to test hypothesis-driven research questions in a randomized, controlled process.
      The Foundation’s process allows for funding of one to two larger grants (up to $25,000) or several smaller grants (up to $10,000). The submitted grant budgets must specify how the funds will be allocated, outline the existing funding, and indicate that the research grant can be completed with the awarded and existing funds over 12 months. Indirect costs are not covered.
      The Proposal Review Committee members reviewed the proposals and used a ranking system to select 11 Letters of Inquiry (42%) for the next step of the process. The investigators of these selected proposals then submitted their full protocols and we reviewed and graded them using the NIH format. Although each proposal was assigned a primary and secondary reviewer, all committee members voted to select the “winning” proposals, and those with a potential conflict of interest recused themselves from voting on that proposal.
      The committee evaluated each proposal to determine:
      • Significance of the work;
      • Alignment with stakeholder priorities;
      • Investigator(s) capabilities;
      • Innovation;
      • Methodological approach — scientific and technical merit;
      • Environment of the research — support of the investigator(s);
      • Health equity, diversity, and inclusion; and
      • Budget.
      The Foundation selected the highest quality winning project for funding. The award was granted on September 1, 2022, and the funds must be spent and the research project completed by September 1, 2023.

      Special Projects and Initiatives

      In addition to funding research proposals, the Foundation cosponsors special projects or initiatives for AMDA – The Society for PALTC Medicine. Similar to the process for submission of research proposals, funds for special projects can be requested through the Society.
      In 2021, the Foundation cofunded the national Drive to Deprescribe (D2D) initiative and sponsored the addition of four clinical assessment tools to the AMDA Mobile App. Both projects resulted in products and services that have been very well received by the Society’s members and others in the PALTC community. This year, five proposals have been submitted by the Society for consideration of funding by the Foundation. A decision will be made in the fourth quarter of 2022.
      Funding for research proposals and special projects comes from donations made by individual and corporate donors dedicated to advancing the field and the Foundation’s mission. For further information on our grant process, please visit our site (https://paltcfoundation.org/paltc-grants/) or attend my roundtable session at the PALTC23 Annual Conference in Tampa in March 2023, where I will be sharing more information on how to structure a grant submission.

      Appreciation

      The Foundation and the Society would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Proposal Review Committee for their dedicated efforts. The 2022–2024 Proposal Review Committee consists of representatives from the Society’s boards as well as independent research investigators with a broad set of skills and experience in public health, healthy policy, and clinical management of older adults.
      We would also like to thank the individual and corporate donors who make the Foundation a priority in their annual philanthropic plans because these donations make it possible for us to conduct this national effort in support of innovation and excellence in PALTC. Together we are making a better PALTC world.

      Your Support

      For more information on how to support the Foundation now during its “Giving Thanks for PALTC Campaign” and to honor someone this holiday season with your donation please visit https://paltcfoundation.org. Those honored will receive a seasonal themed notice of their gift and will be listed on the 2022–2023 Wall of Caring & Honor. Donations can be designated to fund Education and Training, Workforce Development, Clinical Resources, or Research, or they can be unrestricted to serve the Foundation’s response to needs as they arise.
      Dr. Zarowitz is the Senior Advisor for the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at the University of Maryland. She serves on the Foundation for PALTC Medicine and chairs the Proposal Review Committee.