CHHS Team Awarded Alzheimer’s Research Grant

Posted: August 3, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

A team of researchers in the College of Health and Human Services has been awarded one of six grants given by the Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award Fund for 2006-07.

Jeanne Sorrell, professor of nursing, and Catherine Tompkins, assistant professor of social work and director of the Bachelor of Social Work Program, will study “Ethics of Respect for Spirituality in Persons Living with Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Their research seeks to answer the question, “How do members of a faith community describe experiences of spiritual connections to Alzheimer’s disease?”

The investigators will explore the concepts that comprise spiritual pathways and identify categories of spiritual connections within the social context of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and their families living in a faith community.

They plan to focus on three areas: spiritual beliefs related to coping with Alzheimer’s disease for both persons with Alzheimer’s disease and caregivers, both in the early and late stages of the disease; ways in which spirituality contributes to the overall concept of quality of life within a faith community; and ways in which members of faith communities facilitate or hinder the development of spiritual connects for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and their families.

Implications of an ethics of respect for spirituality in persons living with Alzheimer’s disease will be discussed in terms of their implications for health care practice, education, research and policy.

The Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award Fund was established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1982 to stimulate innovative investigations into Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders along a variety of avenues. The competition is administered by the Virginia Center on Aging at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

The other grants went to researchers at the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and Eastern Virginia Medical School.

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