Healthier Black Elders Center

Fall 2023 HBEC Newsletter

The Healthier Black Elders Center is the community engagement core for the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR). The HBEC has been supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the past 22 years. Our goal is to address the health disparities that exist within the Detroit community. We depend on Detroit older adults to participate in our research and help inform our processes.

  • We maintain a Participant Resource Pool (PRP) A database of older adults willing to engaging in research.
  • We educate the public by providing free workshops on topics of interest, including blood pressure, caregiving, diabetes, balance, fitness, brain health, nutrition and other topics relevant to successful aging.
  • We train healthcare professionals on issues relevant to caring for older African Americans
  • We share best research practices with universities, the community and healthcare providers
  • We train scholars to research the health of older African Americans

Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and the University of Michigan provide staff and faculty to jointly lead this initiative. The HBEC facilitates the operation of the Community Advisory Board and volunteers.

HBEC & Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR) Website

For more information, contact Vanessa Rorai at or 313-664-2604.

The Participant Resource Pool

Our core goal is to encourage more older African American adults to participate in research. Research is critical to understanding why African Americans are at much higher risk of developing certain diseases and why these diseases have a greater impact on their health and longevity. To address this problem, we created a Participant Resource Pool (PRP) of approximately 1,200 older African Americans willing to consider participating in research. If you agree to be part of the PRP, we guarantee that:

  • All research projects meet the highest quality federal state and university standards

  • Your information will be handled with the strictest confidence

  • You will be considered for research that is of interest to you

  • You have the right to decline a research project for any reason at any time

Why Join the Healthier Black Elders Center?

Benefits of becoming a member: 

Connection: HBEC boasts over 1,100 members and growing. Join us at our monthly Lunch & Learns or on our weekly Party Line call to connect with other HBEC and community members. All are welcome to attend our programs regardless of membership!
Representation and Safety: Our Community Advisory Board (CAB) members are Black older adults from our community with various backgrounds. CAB members ensure studies are safe and ethical, and Lunch & Learn topics are meaningful to HBEC members. The HBEC CAB and Institutional Review Board examine every study before it is allowed to recruit.
Health Education: The more we know, the better we live. HBEC members have access to year-round health programs on topics such as, staying fit after 50, managing diabetes, and how participating in democracy impacts our health and well-being. We mail a bi-annual newsletter with health infor-mation, current research, and community events.
Compensation: Your time and effort is important to us. Many of our studies provide compensation. Compensation rate will be discussed with you prior to joining a study.
No Clinical Trials: HBEC does not engage in clinical testing or medication trials. Studies typically involve (but are not limited to) basic health tests such as blood pressure readings, surveys, focus groups, and skills testing, but do not involve taking a medication or trying a new procedure.
All Studies are Voluntary: HBEC members are not required to partipate in reseach in order to maintain membership. When you are contacted by one of our research teams, you always have the choice to join or decline any study. 

Become an HBEC Member Today
Thank you for your interest to join the Healthier Black Elders Center (HBEC). Completing this survey (15 min.) will mean your information will be put into our pool of potential research participants and saved in our secure database. This does not obligate you to participate in research studies. Your answers may determine which studies you may qualify for, and receive invitations to participate. For example, if you answer on the survey that you have type II diabetes and a researcher is looking for individuals with type II diabetes, your contact information may be shared with that researcher to invite you to participate in their study. Researchers only receive your name and contact information; they may contact you by mail, telephone, and/or email.  If there are any questions you do not want to answer, please choose prefer not to answer or skip the question.
HBEC Volunteer Pool Survey (15 Min.)

Information for Researchers Interest in Accessing the Participant Resource Pool:
Research Volunteer Pool - Introduction, Instructions, Applications


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HBEC Spring 2022 Newsletter
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AARP Emergency Broadband Benefit

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New MCUAAAR Scientists
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HBEC Spring 2021 Newsletter
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How do Covid-19 Vaccines Work in the Body?
Celebrating the Life and Work of Dr. James Jackson
Virtual Lunch and Learn Schedule

HBEC Fall 2020 Newsletter
In this issue:
Research Update: Participating in Research from your Home
Cleaning Versus Disinfecting 101
How to Join a Zoom Meeting Guide
Meet the New MCUAAAR Scientists

HBEC Summer 2020 Newsletter
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Research Update: HBEC's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic 
Staying Fit during the Pandemic 
Wisdom for COVID-19 Survivors 
Community Lunch & Learn

HBEC Fall 2019 Newsletter
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Research Update: Stress and Health
Glaucoma Treatments Prevent Eye Damage
CAB Member Spotlight: Henry Swift
Volunteers Needed for these Research Studies
Community Lunch & Learn

HBEC Spring 2019 Newsletter
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Research Update
MCUAAAR Scientists
CAB Member Spotlight
Metabolic Syndrome
Community Lunch & Learn

HBEC Spring 2018 Newsletter
In this issue:
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A Career Dedicated to Diversity
MCUAAAR Pilot Scholars
CAB Member Spotlight
Caregiver Help
Community Lunch & Learn

HBEC Summer 2017 Newsletter
In this issue:
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Tips Regarding Safety
Financial Health Workshops
Help FInd a Cure for Alzheimer's
Who We Are

HBEC Fall 2016 Newsletter
In this issue:
Scams & Identity Theft
African American Men & Diabetes
Diabetes Superfoods
Gardening in Detroit City
Event Listing

HBEC Spring 2016 Newsletter
In this issue:
Helping Our City Stay Fit
Keeping Your Brain Healthy
Financial Health After 60 Workshops
Pilot Scholar Spotlight

HBEC Fall 2015 Newsletter
In this issue:
City Revitalization and Area Seniors
Transportation Research
Understanding Memory Loss
HBEC Upcoming Events

HBEC Spring 2015 Newsletter
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Passion for Healthier Black Elders
Brain Research Needs Your Help
Is it Safe to Microwave in Plastic?

HBEC Fall 2014 Newsletter
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Diabetes Care: What's Your Number?
Research Opportunities

HBEC Fall 2013 Newsletter
In this issue:
Cholesterol to Cavities
Pain Advocate Receives Recognition
Chadiha Honored with Diversity Award

HBEC Winter 2013 Newsletter
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HBEC Director Name to NIH Advisory Board
Rencher Serves on State Commissioner

HBEC Summer 2012 Newsletter
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Pain Education and Management
Eating Safe Fish Project
Volunteerism and Health

Detroit Comedian Horace Sanders

HBEC Spring 2011 Newsletter
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Health Concerns of Metro Detroiters
Training Researchers on Policy Work
Choosing a Doc Who Understands Aging

HBEC Fall 2010 Newsletter
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Participant Resource Pool Grows
Medicare's Gap & Detroit Dental Clinics
Motivated Seniors

HBEC Spring 2010 Newsletter
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Event Stresses Participation in Wellness
Female Caregiving
HBEC Senior Volunteers at Work

HBEC Fall 2009 Newsletter
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The Career of Olivia Washington
Events HelpsMany in Tough Times
Is Laughter Good Medicine?
Diverse Approaches to Research