Center for Improving Care Delivery for the Aging

CICADA, the Center for Improving Care Delivery for the Aging, is Penn’s Resource Centers for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR).  It aim is to train emerging scientists from underrepresented backgrounds in the interdisciplinary science of HSR as it applies to the most pressing issues for aging Americans, particularly minority elders.

CICADA selects three new RCMAR Scientists each year through a competitive call for pilot grants that last one year. It targets three categories of trainees to become RCMAR Scientists: (1) MD and MD/PhD clinical fellows who have completed their residency, (2) PhD postdoctoral trainees, and (3) MD/PhD, MD, and PhD junior faculty [defined as Instructor or early-stage (<3 years) Assistant Professor]. Eligible trainees are persons who are underrepresented in research based on the Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity (NOT-OD-15-053) definitions, including Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, American Indians or Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders; individuals with disabilities; and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Trainees must either be actively engaged in HSR in aging relevant to CICADA themes or committed to developing new research skills in HSR applied to aging and must be at Penn during their training as a RCMAR Scientist.


Year 2 RCMAR Scientists (2019-2020)

Nwamaka Eneanya, MD, MPH is currently an attending nephrologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University, medical degree from Meharry Medical College, and master’s degree in public health from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Eneanya’s research focuses on palliative care, informed decision-making and racial disparities among patients with advanced chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease. Her work has been supported by NIDDK, NIMHD, and the American Society of Nephrology.

Salama Freed, PhD, MA, MS is a postdoctoral researcher at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics and the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine. Dr. Freed earned her PhD in Economics from Vanderbilt University in 2018. Her research agenda focuses on three areas: 1) affordable health care provision for the elderly, 2) health insurance and health care access, and 3) the role of payment policies and incentives in health care spending. Each of these topics fits into her broader interest in evaluating innovative methods and policies that may contain rising health care costs while providing necessary care to vulnerable populations. Her work at LDI and Perelman focuses on evaluating long term care provision for the rapidly expanding elderly population. Her CICADA project investigates the role of information on competition between nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Eleanor Rivera, PhD, RN is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health at the Penn School of Nursing.  Her research focuses on illness representation theory, which is a patients’ unique understanding of their diagnosed disease, and can be based on factors such as their lived experience and personal definitions of health and wellness.  She believes that centering the primary care experience around these illness representations is crucial to the creation of realizable and relevant treatment plans.  Her current research is taking that model into the chronic kidney disease population, to assess the relationship between illness representation and multiple health outcomes such as adherence and health services resource use.  Her dissertation research, published in Geriatrics in 2018, was given the Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization Interdisciplinary Paper Award by the Gerontological Society of America.

Year 1 RCMAR Scientists (2018-2019)

Kevin Ahmaad Jenkins, PhD is a vice-provost post-doctoral fellow in the School of Policy and Practice at Penn. After obtaining his bachelor’s and master’s degrees focused in medical and legal history, Dr. Jenkins earned a PhD in Sociology and Criminology & Law from the University of Florida. His work examines the influence of race, racism, and psychosocial stress among patients living with chronic disease. Most recently, Dr. Jenkins has investigated how experiences with racism-induced stress, both in and outside of the health care setting, contribute to more rapid decline in kidney function.

G. Adriana Perez, PhD, CRNP, ANP-BC, FAAN is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the Penn School of Nursing and past Chair and current Policy Advisor of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN), Public Policy Committee. She was a Congressional Fellow supported by the Atlantic Philanthropies and CDC Healthy Aging Program to work with Latino city planners, local policymakers, stakeholders, and residents to inform environmental policies that promote healthy aging. Her current research is on promoting primary care and preventive services through the leadership of bilingual Latina nurses. The pilot offers her the opportunity to extend her research to address specific challenges of high-risk older Latinos and their caregivers.

Jasmine Travers, PhD is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health at the Penn School of Nursing, a National Clinician Scholar at the Yale School of Medicine, a Penn Dean's Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow for Academic Diversity, and an LDI Associate Fellow. Her pilot project will study the differences in psychosocial, mental health, and medical health outcomes among minority older adults receiving longer-term services and support in community-based settings compared to nursing home settings.