A new grant from the National Institutes on Aging is funding the creation of a research center at the University of Pennsylvania devoted to improving palliative care for people with dementia living in facilities.

The five-year, $2.5 million grant to the Palliative and Advanced Illness Research (PAIR) Center will fund the creation of a second NIA Roybal Center at Penn. These centers are meant to convert research on behavioral and social aspects of aging into practical interventions in the community.

The new center, called Transformative Residential Palliative Care for Persons with Dementia Through Behavioral Economics and Data Science, will be headed by Scott Halpern, director of PAIR and a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at Penn.

There are 13 Roybal centers in the United States; Penn is the only institution with two. Its first is the Roybal Center on Behavioral Economics and Health.

According to the LDI Health Economist, a web-based magazine, the new center will use Genesis HealthCare facilities to test ideas. The center will include researchers from multiple universities, including Harvard, Brown, Yale, and, locally, Drexel and Pennsylvania State.

The first two projects will work to improve physician communication with patients and family members about end-of-life planning and to test an online care planning tool that has been designed for use with patients with dementia in long-term care.