The Research Division of The Hebrew Home at Riverdale (HHAR) currently occupies approximately 3,000 square feet of newly-renovated space on the HHAR campus.

The Research Division (RD) initiated a broad-based program of externally-supported research in the mid 1980's. Since that time it has grown from a one-person operation to an internationally recognized locus of research dealing with both institutional and community-based care for elderly persons.

The RD has approximately 20 full and part-time staff, including three at the Ph.D. level, and several persons with Masters' Degrees (Public Health, and Biostatistics).

Staff members of the RD have served on the editorial boards of several journals including Psychology and Aging, The Gerontologist, and the Journal of Mental Health, Policy and Economics, and have served as associate editors of Biometrics and Medical Care. Staff members have served as the senior editors of special issues of Alzheimer's Disease and Associated Disorders: An International Journal, Research and Practice in Alzheimer’s Disease, The Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, the Journal of Mental Health and Aging, and Medical Care.

The RD has produced numerous training programs for staff caring for persons with dementing illness in the areas of depression, vision impairment and elder mistreatment. The Research Division completed an award-winning training video sponsored by a grant from the New York State Department of Health titled, "Freedom of Sexual Expression: Dementia and Resident Rights in Long Term Care Facilities." The training video has received national media attention.

The RD has focused research in the areas of:

  • Quality of life and quality of care for individuals with dementia
  • Technological intervention for elderly persons in long-term care and the community
  • General technological and quality assurance support of investigators from across the country, through acting as the Coordinating Center to large, multi-center studies

Topics of investigation include

  • Epidemiology of dementia, depression and vision disorders
  • Impacts of programs such as primary care nursing and special dementia care units
  • Development and evaluation of staff training programs regarding recognition of depression
  • Methods for increasing functional vision
  • Methods for reducing behavioral disorders
  • Increasing staff sensitivity in dealing with sexual behaviors of residents

The RD hosts a formal interest group of the Gerontological Society of American (GSA). Research in Quality of Care (RESQCARE) promotes quality of care and best practices related to care delivered to older individuals in acute and long-term care settings, and in the community. Members of this group include the internationally acclaimed leaders in the field of long-term care.

Finally, the RD has been at the forefront of development and applications of statistical methods related to culture fair assessment. Experts have conducted psychometric analyses for a variety of measures used to assess chronic care populations. Several members are consultants to the Statistical Coordinating Center to Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement and Information System (PROMIS), the NIH roadmap initiative that aims to provide infrastructure for establishing item banks and computerized adaptive testing in health.

The Division staff is also affiliated with the National Institute on Aging’s Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR), a multi-site project which seeks to reduce health care disparities between minority and non-minority older adults. It maintains collaborative relationships with major academic and government institutions such as The Weill Cornell Center for Aging Research and Clinical Care; The Columbia University Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, Stroud Center and Biomedical Informatics; The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Department of Neurology; The New York University College of Nursing; and the New York State Department of Health.

Senior staff has mentored approximately 150 doctoral and post-doctoral students with diverse backgrounds attending 20 different universities. The RD staff has structured internships for postdoctoral fellows, hosted visiting scholars from other universities across the country, and provided training at workshops across the country and most recently, a senior staff person was a faculty member of the weeklong psychometrics workshop sponsored by the University of Washington and the University of California , Davis ADRC. This workshop trained 20 investigators in the applications of Item Response Theory (IRT).

A non-profit organization, the RD obtains funding from federal and state grants, and from federally-funded subcontracts to major medical centers. Funding sources have included the New York State Department of Health, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Agency for Healthcare, Research and Quality; the National Institute for Nursing Research, the National Institute on Aging.