by Maile Richardson
Recently, Jason Flatt, PhD, MPH joined Healthforce Center’s faculty. He wears many hats at UCSF as an assistant professor in the Institute for Health and Aging, department of social and behavioral sciences, and assistant director of the Masters of Science in Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership (MS-HAIL) at the school of nursing. He’s especially interested in exploring different models of health care and workforce-related issues for dementia care.
For Jason, research into workforce issues related to the aging population is personal. In high school, he worked weekends coordinating activities at a skilled nursing facility. This experience demonstrated the importance of enriching seniors’ lives and making their need for socialization a priority. It piqued an interest that he was able to cultivate through his studies and into his career. Jason’s interest in dementia also came from a personal, familial experience. During his PhD program, his grandmother received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. As her disease progressed, it was clear to him that she was becoming more and more isolated. Fortunately, his family was able to get her into great programs like adult day care and other services. He saw first-hand the value of not just the physical activity the programs provided, but also the social engagement.
Recently, Jason conducted a study about dementia prevalence in lesbian, gay and bisexual older adults. He chose to focus his study of dementia prevalence in this specific subset of the population because there is currently little to no research in this area. His research found that the prevalence of dementia in lesbian, gay and bisexual older adults was 8 percent, while the general population has a prevalence of 10 percent. He thinks this difference might be attributed to the LGBT cohort in his study being on the younger side, while having higher levels of education. Though his study is not yet complete, his findings have appeared in U.S. News and World Report, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Advocate on multiple occasions.
This video, produced by the Alzheimer’s Association California & Nevada, features Jason at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference.
Next Steps with Research
Jason is currently working on a study of staffing for adult day health centers (ADHCs) providing care to individuals with dementia. The study emphasizes the need for ADHCs to be readily equipped to provide appropriate services and to have staffing structures for effective care of people with Alzheimer’s and related dementia.
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Maile Richardson is an assistant with Healthforce Center. She supports multiple leadership programs and is interested in diversity and equality in the health care industry.