The rapid increase of older persons (73% increase anticipated in US by 2020) and the diseases and disabilities complicating their care make research in this area a national priority. The ALACRITY Center focuses on late- and mid-life mood disorders because they are the leading cause of disability, increase medical morbidity and mortality, cause suffering, and increase the cost of care. Pharmacotherapy addresses the needs of no more than half of these persons and most non-pharmacological therapies are complex and have limited scalability and reach.
The ALACRITY Center puts into action a novel model of deployment-based behavioral interventions and implementation, streamlined based on neurobiology models and augmented by mobile technology. Rather than focusing exclusively on uptake and sustainability of available interventions, many of which are too complex for community use, the ALACRITY Center investigators are working to both simplify the treatments themselves and improve their delivery. Accordingly, the ALACRITY Center:
1) Targets groups identified by consumers, community partners, and our team;
2) Develops its interventions jointly with community partners and a transdisciplinary team and uses neurobiological concepts as a “simplification rule” for streamlining behavioral interventions so that they can be used by community clinicians;
3) integrates mobile technology to community interventions at the assessment, the intervention, and the adherence monitoring levels; and
4) tests its interventions at community sites using community clinicians to shorten the way to uptake and sustainability.
To maximize the impact of the ALACRITY research program, ALACRITY investigators work both in settings in which most older and middle-aged people receive care (primary care) and in settings serving persons with special clinical (elder mistreatment) and social needs (poverty). The ALACRITY Center’s approach is a clear departure from traditional intervention and services research and is expected to lead to a revolutionary change in how the field thinks about intervention development and deployment in the community.
ALACRITY supports a Methods Core will provide quality control for the Center’s projects, serve as an incubator for innovative approaches to novel design and analytic methods that enhance the information yield of effectiveness data. It also uses big-data to aid the identification of populations in need of novel interventions, provides policy support, and integrates novel mobile technology approaches to community interventions. The Core will also evaluate the Center’s productivity and impact on the field and disseminate its methodological advances.