IALSA-CLSA host cross-national research workshop on four major longitudinal studies

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies (IALSA) partnered with the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) to convene a research analysis workshop focusing on four of the world’s largest longitudinal studies on aging. The primary focus was a cross-national comparison of disease and disability in population representative studies from Canada, UK, USA and Ireland.

“IALSA has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute on Aging (NIA) for over 10 years to advance multistudy investigations of aging, health, and dementia,” said Dr. Scott Hofer, IALSA program director and the lead CLSA investigator at the University of Victoria. “We have found that analysis workshops provide a unique training opportunity and approach to achieving results from a large number of independent longitudinal studies without the common challenges related to data access.”

“It was great to partner with Dr. Susan Kirkland, CLSA co-principal investigator and chair of the CLSA Training and Capacity Committee, to bring together a truly remarkable group of early career and experienced researchers and statisticians to advance cross-national comparative health research in four major longitudinal studies. It has been exciting facilitating this highly collaborative research project”.

The workshop, held February 6-8 in Victoria, B.C., involved a collaboration between IALSA and the  Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) to analyze data from the CLSA, the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), English Longitudinal Study on Ageing (ELSA), and the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA).  The main workshop objective was to allow early career investigators to be trained with the use of CLSA data.  Of the international participants selected, 9 out of 23 of the participants were Canadian and nominated by the CLSA. 

“Training, capacity building, and mentoring the next generation of researchers are important goals of the CLSA,” said Dr. Kirkland, a professor of community health and epidemiology and medicine at Dalhousie University.

“Partnering with IALSA on this international workshop is an ideal way to introduce new researchers to the CLSA. The findings from international comparisons have the potential to stimulate new ideas and generate research directions for the future. “

Partners of the IALSA Cross-National Health Comparison are:

  • The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is a national, long-term study of more than 50,000 men and women in Canada who, when recruited, were between the ages of 45 and 85.  The goal of the CLSA is to collect data to help determine ways to live long and live well.  Data is collected through telephone and in-home interviews, and physical assessment data is gathered during visits to Data Collection Sites.
  • Based at the University of Michigan, the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) is a longitudinal study with approximately 20,000 participants over the age of 50 in the United States.  The study seeks to address important concerns and questions about aging by collecting data through in-depth interviews, online surveys and health assessment tests.
  • The English Longitudinal Study on Ageing (ELSA) is a longitudinal study which seeks to provide information about the health, social, well-being and economic circumstances of the English population aged 50 and older. The study contains data collected over a 15-year period gathered from participant interviews, questionnaires and nurse assessments.
  • Through the collection of data of over 8,500 participants, the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) aims to determine the health needs, social/economic status, and biological components of healthy aging amongst individuals over the age of 50. In addition, TILDA seeks to determine the contributions that older people are making to society as well as the economy in Ireland. TILDA collects data through personal interviews, questionnaires and health assessment measures.