Laura Block Awarded Grant to Study Alzheimer’s Disease and Mental Illness Co-Occurrence in Nursing Home Residents

Laura Block, BS, BSN, RN, was awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31) grant to support the study Characterizing Alzheimers Disease and Serious Mental Illness Co-Occurrence Among Nursing Home Residents and Relationship to Symptomatology and Care Practices. 

The study is funded by the National Institute on Aging. The primary research aim is to examine comorbid Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias and serious mental illness in nursing home residents. The mentor team includes Dr. Tonya Roberts, Dr. Donovan Maust (Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan), Dr. Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi (UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health), and Dr. Barbara Bowers. Dr. Roger Brown is a collaborator on the project. The total award costs are $96,817.

Ms. Block is a PhD Student in Nursing with a research focus on long-term care and cognitive aging among older adults with serious mental illness (SMI) and is advised by Dr. Tonya Roberts. Ms. Block’s pursuit of advanced training in nursing and dementia-focused research is driven by personal and professional experiences caring for people with dementia.

Her role as a Registered Nurse (RN) in a Skilled Nursing environment, with added pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic, has deepened her commitment to dementia-focused research in post-acute and long-term settings of care, and the cognitive aging experience and associated care needs of people with SMI.

Ms. Block also works as a Project Assistant for Dr. Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi of the School of Nursing, supporting a wide array of research studies focused on promoting effective and equitable care and research for persons living with and at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.