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The Gerontologist 47:845-850 (2007)
© 2007 The Gerontological Society of America

The CITRA Pilot Studies Program: Mentoring Translational Research

Kathleen Walsh Piercy, PhD, Editor

Elaine Wethington, PhD1, Risa Breckman, MSW2, Rhoda Meador, MS3, M. Carrington Reid, MD, PhD2, Myra Sabir, PhD3, Mark Lachs, MD2 and Karl A. Pillemer, PhD1

Correspondence: Address correspondence to Elaine Wethington, Cornell University, Department of Human Development, MVR Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853. E-mail: ew20{at}

Purpose: We developed an innovative pilot studies program to foster partnerships between university researchers and agencies serving older people in New York City. The development of researchers willing to collaborate with frontline service agencies and service agencies ready to partner with researchers is critical for translating scientific research into evidence-based practice that benefits community-dwelling older adults.Design and Methods: We adapted the traditional academic pilot studies model to include key features of community-based participatory research.  Results: In partnership with a network of 265 senior centers and service agencies, we built a multistep program to recruit and educate scientific investigators and agencies in the principles of community-based research and to fund research partnerships that fulfilled essential elements of research translation from university to community: scientific rigor, sensitivity to community needs, and applicability to frontline practice. We also developed an educational and monitoring infrastructure to support projects. Implications: Pilot studies programs developing community-based participatory research require an infrastructure that can supplement individual pilot investigator efforts with centralized resources to ensure proper implementation and dissemination of the research. The financial and time investment required to maintain programs such as those at the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging, or CITRA, may be a barrier to establishing similar programs.

Key Words: Community-based participatory research • Investigator development • Research to practice

All GSA journals Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2007 by The Gerontological Society of America.