Current Projects

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Ohio 2021 Family Satisfaction Surveys

Ohio Department of Aging
Principal Investigators: Jane Straker 
June 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021

This study surveys family members in all Ohio’s nursing homes and residential care facilities.  Data are reported for every facility; results appear on Ohio’s long-term care consumer guide at

Opening Minds Through Art (OMA): An Intergenerational Art Program for People with Dementia

Kappa Kappa Gamma
Principal Investigators: Elizabeth Lokon
July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022

In January 2011, the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority adopted the Opening Minds through Art (OMA) program as their primary philanthropy project. For the past 10 years, members of the sorority got trained in attitudes and skills necessary to be effective OMA volunteers and OMA leaders in order to conduct the OMA program at the Oxford Community Adult Day Service site. The Oxford Community Adult Day Service is part of the Oxford Senior Citizen’s Center. Each week, 8-12 sorority members serve 6-10 elders at the adult day center and facilitate the creative expression of these elders using the failure free OMA methodology and visual arts projects. The program culminates in an annual art show and silent auction at the Oxford Community Arts Center.

Age-Inclusivity at Miami University: Addressing Ageism in the Classroom and Across Campus

Gerontological Society of America
Principal Investigators: Suzanne Kunkel 
April 1, 2021 through December 15, 2021

This effort consists of two projects that employ research on ageism and age-inclusive teaching to further the Age Friendly University Principles, and are integral to our efforts to become a more age-inclusive institution. Both projects have the capacity to expand and influence thinking and practice at colleges and universities beyond Miami University.

Project 1 addresses ageism as the root of the problem that has kept institutions of higher education age segregated and unable to recognize older adults as constituents. This project will produce an Ageism Inventory assessment, to be used prior to anti-ageism training.  

Project 2 will provide evidence-based training to faculty members that will create age-friendly education and encourage the participation of older adults in educational programs (AFU principle 1).

Evaluation of Ohio’s MyCare Demonstration

The Ohio State University, pass through funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Principal Investigators:Robert Applebaum, Jennifer Heston-Mullins and John Bowblis
May 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021

In 2014, Ohio implemented a demonstration designed to integrate Medicare and Medicaid services for older adults. This study is an evaluation of the MyCare demonstration effort to assist state policy makers in determining program effectiveness.

System Factors and Racial Disparities in Nursing Home Quality of Life and Care

The Regents of the University of Minnesota, pass through funds from the Department of Health and Human Services
Principal Investigators: John Bowblis
May 1, 2020 through August 31, 2021

Over half of Americans aged 57-61 will stay in a nursing home (NH) at least once in their lifetime. Meanwhile, the growing proportion of NH residents with serious mental illness (SMI) has led some to call NHs “de facto mental health care. In fact, those with SMI are 3.5 times more likely than those without to become NH residents, with this number even higher for those with diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias (AD/ADRD). The goal of our original grant is to comprehensively examine organizational structures and processes of care that underlie racial disparities in quality of life (QOL) and quality of care (QOC) for NH residents. This supplement seeks to expand our study to focus on QOL and QOC of racially/ethnically diverse NH residents with SMI and AD/ADRD vs SMI alone. Racial/ethnic minority older adults are at increased risk of both AD/ADRD compared to white adults and having SMI diagnosis.

AARP COVID-19 State Long-Term Care Dashboard: Phase 2

Principal Investigators: Jane Straker and Ian Nelson
January 8, 2021 through December 31, 2021

This project reports federal data aggregated to state-level statistics on COVID-19 prevalence, protection and testing, and examines visitation policies, and oversight and monitoring in long-term care facilities for use in the AARP COVID-19 dashboard.  The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in facilities with high proportions of Black, Indigenous and people of color will also be described and examined to prepare a report on contributing explanatory factors.

Predicting COVID Outbreaks in Ohio Nursing Homes

The Ohio State University, pass through funds from the Ohio Department of Health and the US Department of Treasury
Principal Investigator: Robert Applebaum
December 8, 2020 through June 30, 2021

This project will assemble data to develop a model to predict COVID 19 outbreaks in Ohio nursing homes. The project will combine data from an array of sources including CMS COVID web-site, Nursing Home Compare, Nursing Home Minimum Data Set, Medicaid and Medicare Cost Reports, and internal data collected by the Ohio Department of Health. In addition to helping to compile the data set, Scripps researchers will assist in building the model and in interpreting results.

Expansion of Dementia-Capable Communities Within Urban and Rural Settings in Ohio Using Evidence-Based and Informed Programming

Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging
Principal Investigator: Jennifer Heston-Mullins
October 1, 2020 through July 30, 2023

This project will evaluate interventions to increase community dementia capability and improve outcomes for community-dwelling individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias (ADRD), those at risk of developing ADRD, and their caregivers.

Population Survey of Greene County, Ohio: Older Residents' Perceptions of the Age-Friendliness of Their Communities and Desired Senior Center Programming

Greene County Council on Aging
Principal Investigator: Sara McLaughlin
January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021

Age-friendly communities promote healthy and active aging. Given its growing older population, fostering age-friendly communities throughout Greene County, Ohio is an important goal. To that end, we will conduct a population survey of older Greene County residents. The primary objective of the survey is to gain an understanding of (1) older residents’ perceptions of the age-friendliness of their communities and (2) the kinds of programs they would like their local senior centers, which play a vital role in helping older adults remain actively engaged, to offer residents. The insights gained from this survey will serve to inform policy and programming aimed at building age-friendly communities throughout Greene County.

The Impact of Person-Centered Care on Nursing Home Quality

The Donaghue Foundation
Principal Investigator: Katherine Abbott
December 1, 2020 - November 30, 2022

In 2015, the Ohio Department of Medicaid mandated that all Medicaid certified nursing homes (NH)s use the Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory (PELI) to enhance person-centered care. The PELI is a valid and reliable evidenced-based tool that providers can use to learn about an individual’s most important preferences and integrate the information into personalize-care plans to improve the quality of care. However, there is a lack of evidence on whether using the PELI improves outcomes that are important to NH communities. The goal of this proposal is to use data collected from six different sources to explore the impact of the state-wide initiative. We seek funding for longitudinal analyses (i.e., multi-level modeling) regarding three key questions:

  1. Resident and Family Satisfaction.  Is provider use of the PELI a predictor of resident and family satisfaction? 
  2. Clinical and Care Process Outcomes.  Is provider use of the PELI a predictor of clinical (e.g., pressure ulcers, falls) and care process outcomes (e.g., physical restraints, antipsychotic medication use)?
  3. Measures of Quality. Is provider use of the PELI a predictor of quality ratings (e.g., overall star rating, health inspection rating, staffing rating, quality rating, number of complaints)?

The highly productive research team will partner with the Ohio Person-Centered Care Coalition to interpret empirical results and develop practice-based recommendations for long-term care providers.  Findings will be disseminated through conferences and publications to help inform the use of evidence-based initiatives like the PELI in practice and policy.  

The Older Adult Population of Greene County Ohio

Greene County Council on Aging
Principal Investigator: Matt Nelson
November 1, 2020 - January 31, 2021

The Greene County Council on Aging is interested in planning for the current and future needs of the older adults of Greene County. Scripps will provide a report on the population characteristics of older adults in Greene County such as gender, income, disability and internet usage with an emphasis on geographic (city/township) and age-group differentiation (age 60 and over) where possible. Data will come from the American Community Survey (ACS) five-year summaries. A final report will be delivered in January 2021.

Improving the Education and Labor Market Outcomes of Students in Subbaccalaureate Postsecondary Institutions: What can we learn from Ohio's system of public career and technical centers?

The Regents of the University of Michigan, pass-through from the Institute of Educational Sciences (IES)
Co-Principal Investigator: Phyllis Cummins
July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2023

Access to postsecondary training and short-term credentials has never been more important in the U.S. than it is now. Increasing the number of individuals holding high quality postsecondary certificates in occupational fields is a key avenue for reestablishing and maintaining economic vitality. To that end, a number of states have built systems of public career and technical centers (CTCs) that offer education leading to postsecondary certificates and that operate alongside the more well known community colleges (CCs). Research indicates that CTCs have student completion and employment rates that are notably higher than CCs, but we know little about the factors that contribute to the favorable educational and labor market outcomes of CTC students. This three-year study, funded by a $1,400,000 federal grant from the Institute for Education Sciences, aims to pinpoint the institutional policies, strategies, and practices that contribute to the success of CTC students and can be adapted to improve outcomes nationwide for students in community college career and technical programs, especially those in short-term credential programs. Peter Bahr (University of Michigan) leads the project as Principal Investigator. Phyllis Cummins (Miami University) serves as co-Principal Investigator, and Matthew Regele (Xavier University) serves as co-Investigator.

Basic Skills and Problem-Solving Skills in Technology-Rich Environments in the STEM-Related Workforce Development Programs in the U.S.

University of Maryland Baltimore County, pass-through from the Institute of Educational Sciences (IES)
Co-Investigator: Phyllis Cummins
July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2023

This project will examine basic skills including literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills as academic readiness indicators in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)-related workforce development programs of postsecondary education institutions in the U.S. We will conduct a series of (1) secondary data analyses, (2) primary data collection and analyses, and (3) qualitative review of the workforce development programs and interviews with the key stakeholders. Given the importance of STEM-related occupations in the context of global competitiveness, national economic development and existing employment issues (e.g., job replacement due to the automation), the postsecondary STEM-related workforce development programs play a critical role to prepare future workforce. However, little is known about basic skills distribution and the roles of basic skills for the education/training outcomes in postsecondary workforce development program settings. Takashi Yamashita (University of Maryland Baltimore County) leads the project as Principal Investigator. Rita Karam (RAND) is a Co-Principal Investigator and Phyllis Cummins (Miami University) serves as a Co-Investigator.

Aging and Disability Business Institute Phase 2: Advancing Integration, Partnerships and Payment Models Between Social Services and Health Systems

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), pass-through funds from the John A. Hartford Foundation, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Suzanne Kunkel
April 2019 - March 2022

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) is creating and implementing a series of business tools and resources to support formal contracting arrangements between community-based organizations and the health care system. Scripps Gerontology Center is working with the n4a to evaluate the effectiveness and overall impact of the resources and interventions offered through this project. 

Building Evidence for the Our Family, Our Way Communication and Care Coordination Process for Caregiving Families

The Retirement Research Foundation
Principle Investigator: Jennifer Heston-Mullins
January 2020 - October 2021

The goal of this study is to provide evidence of the impact of the Our Family, Our Way, a communication and care coordination process for caregiving families developed by researchers at Scripps Gerontology Center. Our Family, Our Way is designed to be used by families without the involvement of a professional and provides highly-structured and scripted materials to help address the communication challenges and unequal care and support arrangements that occur in some caregiving families.

Creating a Dementia Inclusive Community in Northwest Ohio through the Expansion of Supports and Services

MemoryLane Care Services, pass-through funds from the Department of Health and Human Services
Principal Investigators: Jennifer Heston & Suzanne Kunkel
September 2018 - September 2021

This project is a three-year collaborative project to build a dementia-inclusive community in the greater Toledo community of Northwest Ohio. Funded by the Administration for Community Living, the project is designed to improve the quality of life for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias (ADRD), those who are exhibiting symptoms but lack a diagnosis, and their caregivers. This project is a partnership with MemoryLane Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Services, Benjamin Rose Institute, and the Ohio Council for Cognitive Health in which Scripps will provide third-party evaluation.


Evaluation of Ohio’s MyCare Demonstration

The Ohio State University, pass through funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Principal Investigator: Robert Applebaum
March 2020 - December 2021

In 2014, Ohio implemented a demonstration designed to integrate Medicare and Medicaid services for older adults. This study is an evaluation of the MyCare demonstration effort to assist state policy makers in determining program effectiveness.

Long-Term Care Research

Ohio Department of Higher Education (formerly known as the Ohio Board of Regents)
Principal Investigator: Suzanne Kunkel
1988 - June 2021

The Ohio Long-Term Care Research Project was established by the legislature in 1988. The goal of this project is to provide information needed for effective planning, program development, and policy-making.

Ohio Long-Term Care Research Project webpage

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) II: A Quality Improvement Project

Ohio Department of Medicaid
Principal Investigator: Like Lokon 
October 2019 - June 2021

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an intergenerational art-making program for people with dementia and provides opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurocognitive disorders. The purpose of this project is to put OMA in more long-term care facilities in Ohio so that Ohio can serve as the national model for quality of care improvement through creative arts. Because OMA has been designated as a Quality Improvement Project by the Ohio Department of Aging, implementing OMA will meet nursing home licensing requirements. Thanks to funding from the Ohio Department of Medicaid, OMA will be offered at 36 additional nursing homes throughout Ohio by 2022.

Preference Based Living for People Living with Dementia in Ohio's Nursing Homes

Ohio Department of Medicaid
Principal Investigator: Katherine Abbott 
October 2019 - June 2021

Increasing the Preference-Based Care of People in Ohio’s Nursing Homes with a Special Focus on People Living with Dementia project is for all nursing home providers in Ohio who seek a sustainable way to provide preference-based, person-centered care. This project seeks to remediate a major barrier, expressed by 76% of Ohio providers, to providing preference-based care. Specifically, residents living with dementia who are unable to communicate their preferences. Individuals with cognitive impairment comprise half of all nursing home residents receiving Medicaid in Ohio. Therefore, remediating the barriers to preference assessment for individuals living with cognitive impairment in nursing homes is a critical need in Ohio and doing so is crucial to improving the quality of care for these residents.

In this project, we will build upon prior quality improvement materials to add a pragmatic audit trail for providers to track their process of Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory (PELI) assessment to the integration of preferences into care plans. We will develop and offer quality improvement projects (QIPs) that will focus on assessing preferences for people with moderate to severe dementia, as well as communicating those preferences across different care team members and shifts. We propose to develop materials from an evidence-based program for easy-to-use interventions that direct care staff can implement in their work with people living with dementia. We plan to augment the PELI assessment with visual cues to support individuals with dementia in expressing their preferences. Additionally, we will turn an existing in-person Leadership Communication Training into an on-line program that focuses on increasing care team members’ emotional intelligence to build relationships and enhance person-centered care. We will also develop and disseminate new education and training materials throughout the project in the form of newsletters, webinars and training videos. Finally, through a partnership with Linked Senior, we will scale up the mobile responsive Care Preference Assessment of Satisfaction (ComPASS-16) quality improvement website making it available to providers nation-wide.