Healthier Black Elders Center

Our Purpose

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 tim

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

HBEC Newletters:

HBEC Spring 2023 newsletter

HBEC Spring 2023 Newsletter

In this issue:
Research Update: Black Elders and Voice Technologies
Identity Theft Protection
Stay Motivated to Exercise
Lunch & Learn Schedule
Critical Crossroads: In Praise of Ignorance

HBEC Fall 2022 Newsletter
In this issue:
Research Update: The 'WALLET' Study
How Your Credit Score is Calculated
Aerobic Exercise Helps Manage Risk for Dementia
Meet Our New CAB Members
Critical Crossroads: What to Consider Before Statewide General Election

HBEC Spring 2022 Newsletter
In this issue:
Research Update: Why Older African Americans Participate in Research
Lifestyle Changes to Help Prevent High Blood Pressure
New CAB Member Spotlight: Roland Samaroo
New Community Outreach Coordinator: Sarah Whitney
Critical Crossroads: What Matters to You?

HBEC/AARP Special Mailer
In this issue:
Lunch & Learns Schedule
Party Line is Back
AARP Emergency Broadband Benefit

HBEC Fall 2021 Newsletter
In this issue:
Research Update: Adapting Research During the Pandemic
What to do in a Flood
New MCUAAAR Scientists
CAB Member Spotlight
CAB Critical Crossroads

HBEC Summer 2021 Newsletter
In this issue:
Research Update: WISDOM Study on Breast Cancer Screening
New HBEC Subcommittee: Critical Crossroads
Detroit Area Eat Safe Fish Program
Depressive Symptoms and What you Can Do

HBEC Spring 2021 Newsletter
In this issue:
Research Update: Staying Connected to HBEC Members During a Crisis
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
In this issue:
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
In this issue:
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
In this issue:
MSU Team Members
Research Update
MCUAAAR Scientists
CAB Member Spotlight
Metabolic Syndrome
Community Lunch & Learn

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

HBEC Summer 2017 Newsletter
In this issue:
Helping Seniors Be Healthier
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
In this issue:
How to Talk to Your Doc
Passion for Healthier Black Elders
Brain Research Needs Your Help
Is it Safe to Microwave in Plastic?

HBEC Fall 2014 Newsletter
In this issue:
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
In this issue:
$2.7 NIH Grant Renewed
HBEC Director Name to NIH Advisory Board
Rencher Serves on State Commissioner

HBEC Summer 2012 Newsletter
In this issue:
Pain Education and Management
Eating Safe Fish Project
Volunteerism and Health

Detroit Comedian Horace Sanders

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

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

HBEC Spring 2010 Newsletter
In this issue:
Event Stresses Participation in Wellness
Female Caregiving
HBEC Senior Volunteers at Work

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