Assistant professor of communication disorders Sara Mamo has received the PACE Organization of Rhode Island (PACE-RI) 2020 Academic-Research Partnership Award, according to an announcement on the University of Massachusetts Amherst website. The award recognizes one academic partner for their dedication to supporting the PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) mission to blend and deliver medical and social care for older adults with significant health needs who want to continue to live at home.

Sara Mamo

“Receiving this recognition from PACE-RI was the most delightful surprise!” said Mamo. “I feel so fortunate that I have had several PACE organizations willing to work with me and support my research program. To discover that they find the relationship to be mutually beneficial is very gratifying. I definitely feel like I should be thanking them every day, but that there is no need for them to be thanking or recognizing me! I have never felt prouder of an academic award.”

Mamo is currently conducting a study of age-related hearing loss in people with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Age-related hearing loss is associated with more negative health outcomes, such as more falls and hospitalizations.

The research audiologist is working with PACE-RI and other partner PACE organizations to try to identify where communication problems might be happening and create interventions that can be applied at the group level. For example, in a pilot study at one PACE site, she found that it was helpful to install a speaker system to improve room acoustics during group activities. Currently, to adjust to COVID-related restrictions, she has adapted her intervention to include virtual staff trainings and the use of personal headset amplification devices to support the increased communication difficulties because of mask-wearing.

“PACE-RI continues to be an excellent partner as we work together to determine the most effective ways of providing and supporting the use of personal amplification for more older adults as they start to return to the Day Health Centers as participants receive their COVID vaccinations,” said Mamo.

PACE is a provider of health care and insurance for adults 55 and older with complex medical conditions who want to live at home. It delivers both insurance and medical care, as well as a range of health and social services including adult daycare, rides, and meals. PACE-RI has provided care for older adults in Rhode Island for fifteen years and operates three health centers across the state.

Source: University of Massachusetts Amherst

Image: University of Massachusetts Amherst