Community-Led, Cross-Sector Partnership of Housing and Health Care to Promote Aging in Place (Unite Health Project): Protocol for a Prospective Observational Study

Lesli Skolarus*, Erica Thrash-Sall, Abby Katherine Hellem, Michael Giacalone, James Burke, Chun Chieh Lin, Sarah Bailey, Casey Corches, Mackenzie Dinh, Amanda Casetti, Maria Mansour, Kaitlyn Bowie, Rylyn Roth, Candace Whitfield, Anne Sales

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: For many older Americans, aging in place is their preferred living arrangement. Minoritized and socioeconomically disadvantaged older adults are up to 3 times more likely to experience disability than other groups, which increases their likelihood of being unable to age in place. Bold ideas to facilitate aging in place, particularly among vulnerable populations, are needed. One such idea is the Unite care model, a community-initiated, academic-supported, cross-sector initiative that combines 2 sectors: housing and health care. The Unite care model colocates a federally qualified health center clinic on an older adult affordable housing campus in Flint, Michigan. Objective: There are two aims to this study. Aim 1 is to evaluate the implementation of the Unite care model in terms of acceptability, adoption, and penetration. Aim 2 is to determine which older adults use the care model and whether the care model promotes aging in place through risk factor reduction and improvement in the physical and social environment. Methods: We will assess the care model using a concurrent, exploratory mixed methods design. For aim 1, acceptability will be assessed through semistructured interviews with key stakeholder groups; adoption and penetration will be assessed using housing and health care records. For aim 2, residents residing in the Unite clinic building will participate in structured outcome assessments at 6 and 12 months. Risk factor reduction will be measured by change in systolic blood pressure from baseline to 12 months and change in the physical and social environment (item counts) will also be assessed from baseline to 12 months. Results: Data collection for aim 1 began in July 2021 and is anticipated to end in April 2023. Data collection for aim 2 began in June 2021 and concluded in November 2022. Data analysis for aim 1 is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2023 and analysis for aim 2 will begin in the spring of 2023. Conclusions: If successful, the Unite care model could serve as a new care model to promote aging in place among older adults living in poverty and older Black Americans. The results of this proposal will inform whether larger scale testing of this new model of care is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere47855
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
StatePublished - 2023


  • affordable housing
  • aging in place
  • blood pressure
  • community-based participatory research
  • hypertension
  • implementation evaluation
  • older adults
  • social determinants of health
  • stroke prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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