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Dr. Pappadis receives funding from the National Institute on Aging to study Geriatric TBI

Jul 23, 2020, 17:47 PM by SCOA

Dr. Pappadis receives funding from the National Institute on Aging to address the care of older adults with traumatic brain injury

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Older adults (>65 years) have the highest incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) relative to infants aged 0-4 years and adolescents/young adults aged 15-24. Growing numbers of older persons are living with TBI, due to the increasing aging population and to medical advances that improve survival after TBI. Falls are the most frequent cause of TBI in older persons, followed by motor vehicle accidents.  Risk factors for falls in older adults include older age; being female; cognitive, visual or physical impairments; taking certain medications; and improper footwear. Pre-existing medical conditions along with the post-injury cognitive, physical, and psychological consequences present a healthcare challenge for older adults with TBI. A need exists for an acute-to-chronic disease model of TBI to optimize the chronic care management of older adults with TBI. Evaluating the clinical care trajectories following injury and identifying disparities in care among older patients with TBI have not been investigated.

To address this problem, Monique R. Pappadis, PhD, Assistant Professor, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, has been awarded $596,828 from the National Institute on Aging for her 5-year project, "Chronic Care Management of Geriatric Traumatic Brain Injury." The goal of the project is to generate data on the patterns and continuity of care to identify disparities in care and inform initiatives to improve quality of care of older adults with TBI following hospital discharge. Dr. Pappadis will first use Medicare data to explore longitudinally the patterns of care in older adults with TBI after acute discharge. She will then explore the facilitators and barriers to care, asking stakeholders (older adults with TBI, caregivers, and healthcare personnel) for their recommendations to improve care following acute discharge. Finally, she will examine the association between continuity of care and health outcomes following acute discharge among older adults with TBI. Once these studies are done, Dr. Pappadis plans to develop, adapt, and evaluate real-world evidence-based interventions to improve health care delivery and outcomes for older adults with TBI.

Monique R. Pappadis, PhD, is an Assistant Professor, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch. Her research areas include ethnic minority health and behavioral health disparities; minority aging and psychosocial adjustment to disability. She is currently a Scholar on The Texas Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) (P30 AG059301; PI: Markides) and the UTMB Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (P30 AG024832; PI: Volpi), both funded by the National Institute on Aging, NIH. Dr. Pappadis received a dual BS in 2003 from the University of Houston in Biology and Psychology. In 2008, she received an MEd in Health Education from the University of Houston. The University of Houston granted her a PhD in Social Work in 2014.

The Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, located within the School of Health Professions, was established in 2001 to develop an infrastructure to support research related to rehabilitation, disability and recovery. Programs include a respected PhD program, career training and development, funding opportunities for PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, and infrastructure for large data research and data sharing.

The Sealy Center on Aging has provided leading aging care since 1995. The Center focuses on improving the health and well-being of the elderly through interdisciplinary research, education, and community service by integrating the resources and activities relevant to aging at UTMB. The Center also implements our research findings in hospitals and clinics, bringing excellence and visibility to our health care system, and improving the health of our seniors.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA), one of the 27 Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), leads the federal government in conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The Institute seeks to understand the nature of aging and the aging process, and diseases and conditions associated with growing older, in order to extend the healthy, active years of life. Since its founding in 1974, NIA research has changed the way America understands aging. Find out more at

Research reported in this publication is supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number K01AG065492. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.