While overall US Asians are the highest-income, best-educated minority group, more Asians live below the poverty line compared to white Americans, are less likely to enroll in biomedical research, and are more likely than white Americans to experience disparities in many social and health outcomes. Perhaps equally important, there has been inadequate community engagement and support necessary to empower the Asian American community to be fully engaged in biomedical research. These impediments necessitate further development and implementation of sustainable and equitable partnerships among the Asian American community and researchers through collaborative research development and reciprocal transfer of knowledge and expertise to improve the health of the U.S. Asian population.

The New York and Chicago metropolitan areas are the ideal settings for this Asian RCMAR. Asian Americans are the fastest growing population in the U.S., growing by 56% between 2000 and 2013. In the New York Metro Area (11 counties in NJ and 7 counties in NY), there was a 36% growth in the Asian American Population.3 Regarding the older adult population, out of nearly 1.5 million AAPI older adults in the U.S., over 12% live in New York and New Jersey. In addition, the New York Metropolitan area has nearly 2.1 million Asian Americans, of which nearly 190,000 are older adults.3 Between 2000 and 2010, there was a 72% growth in the AAPI older adult population in New York, with 120% growth in New Jersey. Illinois has the fifth largest Asian population in the U.S., which is primarily concentrated in the greater Chicago area. From 2000 to 2010, there was a 39% growth in Asian Americans in the Chicago metro area, with a 40% increase living in poverty.

Our RCMAR and this CLRC are founded on decades of our assembled investigators’ deep engagement, trust, and research with a wide range of Asian populations in New York and Chicago areas. Such substantial engagement and relationships will create the essential scaffolding to catalyze an increase the much-needed research and scientific workforce development necessary to reduce disparities among and improve the health of Asian older adults. To accomplish this, we propose a synergistic multi-level strategy that optimizes research recruitment, retention, and engagement through the following specific aims:

  1. At the Community Partner Level: Build a sustainable and collaborative community steering committee connecting community and academic institutions for community-engaged, action-oriented health promotion research in Asian older adult populations;
  2. At the Individual Community Member and Scholar Levels: Expand community-engaged research capacity among RCMAR Scholars and Asian community members through culturally-appropriate, community-tailored, reciprocal education and training in biomedical and behavioral research to fully understand the barriers, challenges, socio-cultural context of conducting research in and with Asian communities;
  3. At the Individual Research Participant Level: Facilitate the recruitment and retention of Asian older adults, through an innovative, culturally, and linguistically appropriate research literacy support tool;
  4. Translate RCMAR research findings at community, state, regional and national levels to inform practice and policy coordinating with other RCMAR cores, with National RCMAR Centers and other aging population research centers.

Through these systematic, multi-level approaches and based on our deep community and ethnographic experiences over the last decade, our Asian RCMAR will begin to fill the dire gap in research and in the research workforce focused on U.S. older Asians.