Connecting the social and built environment to health and health inequalities

Ketlyne Sol

Research Investigator, Social Environment and Health Program

Dr. Sol a clinical psychologist with a clinical training emphasis in rehabilitation psychology, which focuses on the holistic assessment and treatment of individuals with chronic/progressive disabling illness and acquired/traumatic physical disability. Trained within a scientist-practitioner framework, she is interested in evaluating psychosocial factors, contextual factors such as sociocultural and physical environment, and processes to help improve coping and quality of life of individuals with physical disabilities. Due to the disproportionate amounts of older adult ethnic minorities who develop Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders (ADRD), she is further leveraging her clinical training and research experiences to additionally develop her skill and expertise in conducting research in disparities in ADRD to inform culturally relevant points of intervention and policy changes to reduce this disparity in aging.

Research Projects

Risk and resilience mechanisms underlying race disparities in ADRD: An examination of neighborhood resources, social networks, brain integrity, and cognition

(NIH/NIA K01 AG073588)

Racial disparities in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) are apparent and pervasive. However, the mechanisms and moderators are understudied. These disparities may, in part, be due to racial differences in available neighborhood resources such as parks and senior centers. The presence of these resources may contribute to brain and cognitive health in older adulthood. Furthermore, the impact of living in an under-resourced neighborhood may be buffered by individuals’ social networks. This study’s overall goal is to clarify risk and resilience mechanisms underlying race disparities in ADRD by: 1) Determining whether racial differences in neighborhood resources contribute to racial disparities in cognitive function; 2) Examining the moderating role of social networks in the association between neighborhood resources and cognition; 3) Characterizing the role of brain integrity in associations between neighborhood resources and cognition. The research plan will leverage primary data collection efforts of the Michigan Cognitive Aging Project, which is a regionally-representative cohort study of older adults in Southeastern Michigan. This K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award application will also facilitate the training and professional development of a junior scientist with existing expertise in direct clinical care to accelerate the applicant’s trajectory towards ADRD research independence. Our findings will have the potential to contextualize individual differences in ADRDs to inform interventions to mitigate persistent racial inequalities in ADRDs.