Promoting cognitive health: A formative research collaboration of the healthy aging research network

James N. Laditka, Renée L. Beard, Lucinda L. Bryant, David Fetterman, Rebecca Hunter, Susan Ivey, Rebecca G. Logsdon, Joseph R. Sharkey, Bei Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Evidence suggests that healthy lifestyles may help maintain cognitive health. The Prevention Research Centers Healthy Aging Research Network, 9 universities collaborating with their communities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is conducting a multiyear research project, begun in 2005, to understand how to translate this knowledge into public health interventions. Design and Methods: This article provides an overview of the study purpose, design, methods, and processes. We examined the literature on promoting cognitive health, convened a meeting of experts in cognitive health and public health interventions, identified research questions, developed a common focus group protocol and survey, established quality control and quality assurance processes, conducted focus groups, and analyzed the resulting data. Results: We conducted 55 focus groups with 450 participants in 2005-2007, and an additional 20 focus groups and in-depth interviews in 2007-2008. Focus groups were in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese, with African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanics, non-Hispanic Whites, physicians and other health practitioners, rural and urban residents, individuals caring for family or friends with cognitive impairment, and cognitively impaired individuals. Implications: The data provide a wealth of opportunities for designing public health interventions to promote cognitive health in diverse populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S12-S17
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Aging
  • Attitudes about cognitive health
  • Brain health
  • Focus groups
  • Health communication
  • Nutrition
  • Physical activity
  • Public health interventions
  • Qualitative research
  • Social involvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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