our history

ARCAD is positioned as a pillar that will support, link, facilitate and focus on research on aging, dementia, social and health systems that are relevant to the quality-of-life for elderly Ugandans. The centers mission is to produce high quality research that will transform our countries thinking about an ageing population, inform service development, provision and public policy, and improve the elderly’s wellbeing.

The center will pursue its mission through enhancing its roles in facilitating the formulation of research directions, collaborating with different researchers across disciplines and geographical regions, fostering communication within and between stakeholders and researchers, and ensure knowledge translations to advance the needs of aging Ugandans. ARCAD will bring coherence to currently dispersed efforts among researchers and stakeholders, state, and communities. It will support and leverage on the existing efforts to builder a stronger and more relevant research institute.

ARCAD will support excellence in traditional research and capacity-building programs. All program activities will be organized with a focus on both aging and dementia. Such a dual focus has not typically been promoted by research agencies in Uganda, but is particularly relevant to the area of aging.

It is critically important, as the country improves in its health indices that priority should be given to the health of the increasing proportion of the population reaching old age. However, the prevalence of illness, and often multiple illnesses, in older adults cannot be ignored and must be addressed within the context of enhancing quality-of-life for those with illness and in need of care. The ARCAD organizational structure allows for research on the process of aging (e.g., biological mechanisms of aging; the meaning of aging), as well as research relating to specific health conditions (e.g., chronic care and mental health). Healthy aging can be achieved and it is a worthwhile goal that cannot be defined as only an absence of disease.

ARCAD will support both investigator-initiated and targeted research, with substantial proportions allocated to the latter. Traditional individual investigator-initiated projects and integrated projects that promote multi-disciplinary approaches will be facilitated. At least in the transitional phase, these submissions would undergo peer-review outside ARCAD, through IRB review committees.

Targeted research will address identified areas of priority. ARCAD would play a proactive role in bringing together people from various backgrounds to identify priority areas, and assemble experts from various disciplines to address specific questions. ARCAD would also coordinate a national longitudinal dataset emerging from such consultations. The peer-review for these projects is likely to be international and organized by ARCAD.

The capacity-building activities of ARCAD are vital and fundamental since age research has never been viewed as a substantive area with associated levels of funding or growth in human resources in developing countries, despite an awareness of its relevance. As a result, there is a need to build capacity across all disciplines with emphasis in a variety of areas to emphasize issues of social gerontology and policy. Support will be provided through the traditional mechanisms of student and new investigator competitions. In addition, opportunities for skills upgrading or re-training will be available for established investigators.

Databases of research and researchers who study aging will be maintained to allow ARCAD to respond to high-priority requests for information in a timely fashion, and to allow the center to draw together experts across regions and disciplines for the development of specific targeted activities. A liaison function of ARCAD would maintain close ongoing relations with relevant state and local government agencies, stakeholders, researchers and members of the public and ensure the dissemination of research findings.

Stakeholders (e.g., government policy makers, community-based not-for-profit agencies working with seniors, formal and informal providers of care to seniors, and elderly Ugandans) will be involved in key decision-making bodies within ARCAD. Stakeholders will constitute one third of ARCAD’s Advisory Board. Researchers from each of the four cross-cutting ARCAD themes (i.e., 1) basic biomedical, 2) applied clinical, 3) health service/system, 4) social and cultural aspects of population aging) make up the remainder of the Advisory Board. Stakeholders will also be involved in forums that identify gaps in knowledge. These identified areas will be targeted for research activity.