American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), Inc.

aka AFAR   |   New York, NY   |  www.afar.org

Mission

The American Federation for Aging Research's mission is to support and advance healthy aging through biomedical research, including development of the next generation of aging researchers. Key Initiatives AFAR focuses its activities on these major initiatives: Identifying and funding a broad range of cutting-edge research most likely to increase knowledge about healthy aging. Attracting more physicians to specialize in geriatric medicine to meet the demands of an aging population with expert health care. Creating opportunities for scientists and clinicians to share knowledge and exchange ideas to drive innovation in aging research. Providing information to the public on new medical findings that can help people live longer lives, less susceptible to disease and disability.

Ruling year info

1986

Principal Officer

Ms. Stephanie Lederman

Deputy Executive Director and Director, Grant Programs

Ms. Odette van der Willik

Main address

55 W. 39th Street, 16th Floor 16th Floor

New York, NY 10018 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-3045282

NTEE code info

Geriatrics (H94)

Alzheimer's (H83)

Biomedicine, Bioengineering (G92)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How and why we age are the most fundamental and intractable of all questions. In the last hundred years, scientific progress has revolutionized how long and well we live. There is now growing scientific consensus that aging affects healthspan (the length of time in optimal health). The degenerative processes of aging underlie many of the diseases of aging including cancer, stroke and Alzheimer's as well as most causes of chronic pain and disability, like falls and fractures, arthritis, vision and hearing loss. By addressing basic aging processes that are the root of age-related diseases, we aim to achieve larger health benefits than the usual approach of fighting one disease at a time. The impact of the research conducted by scientists supported by AFAR can impact an aging society and bring transformative changes to our society.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Aging Research

The American Federation for Aging Research provides financial support to early and mid-career scientists whose research can increase knowledge of the fundamental mechanisms of aging and age-related diseases.

Population(s) Served

MSTAR introduces medical students to research and academic experiences in the field of aging and geriatrics early in their training, which they might not otherwise have during medical school. Positive experiences in the MSTAR program have led many physicians-in-training to pursue careers in aging, ranging from basic science to clinical research to health services research. They have joined the growing cadre of physicians and scientists whose specialized knowledge and skills are in great demand as our population ages.

Students participate in an eight- to twelve-week (or 2-3 months, depending on the training site) structured research, clinical, and didactic program in geriatrics, appropriate to their level of training. Research projects are offered in basic, translational, clinical, or health services research relevant to older people.

Under the supervision of a mentor, they learn research methodologies and techniques. This interaction provides valuable guidance in preparing the final paper and oral presentation that conclude each project. With their mentor’s assistance, many students also develop and submit an abstract for presentation at scientific meetings.

Students spend time each week working in a geriatrics clinic or attending rounds in a hospital, nursing home, or palliative care facility – or even making house calls. Often, their clinical experience pertains to their primary interest. For example, a scholar concerned with congestive heart failure in older patients will have the opportunity to spend most of his or her time shadowing a cardiologist. At the end of their summer placement, students produce a journal-style paper on the results of their work, and have an opportunity to participate in the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society, where they continue to meet top leaders in the field, network with their MSTAR colleagues, and often present a poster or make a formal presentation.

Population(s) Served

The Beeson Awards' purpose is help further the careers of scientists and physicians who want to pursue careers in aging research, and thereby increase the number of physicians with a combined clinical, academic, and scientific expertise to care for a growing older population.

Population(s) Served

The TAME study is guided by 3 premises: 1) aging is the major common risk factor for many diseases that accumulate in older adults; 2) aging has a distinct and increasingly well described biology; and 3) this biology can be targeted, which has been shown to extend the healthspan and lifespan of pre-clinical models, but which has not yet been translated to improve human healthspan.

This 6-year, double blind placebo-controlled trial of metformin, an FDA approved drug widely-used for the treatment for type 2 diabetes, will look at a diverse population of approximately 3,000 men and women without diabetes, ages 65-80 years, and determine if metformin prevents the accumulation of multiple age-related diseases and other aging phenotypes, rather than any individual disease. TAME is designed to be a prototype for future trials to test promising agents identified by geroscience (the study of the relationship between aging and age-related diseases) research. If the study demonstrates that metformin delays the onset of age-related diseases and conditions, the impact of TAME will be three-fold: 1) direct and immediate impact with respect to the prevention of age-related chronic disease in persons at high risk; 2) proof-of-concept that by targeting aging itself, healthy lifespan can be increased, paving the way for a new indication for drugs to prevent age-related diseases, and 3) stimulation of drug discovery, with industry incentivized to develop new and better compounds to extend healthy lifespan.

Population(s) Served

The major goal of this program is to assist in the development of the careers of junior investigators committed to pursuing careers in the field of aging research. GMRF and AFAR support research projects concerned with understanding the basic mechanisms of aging rather than disease-specific research. Projects investigating age-related diseases are supported if approached from the point of view of how basic aging processes may lead to these outcomes. Projects concerning mechanisms underlying common geriatric functional disorders are also encouraged, as long as these include connections to fundamental problems in the biology of aging. Projects that deal strictly with clinical problems such as the diagnosis and treatment of disease, health outcomes, or the social context of aging are not eligible.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

AFAR is a leader in identifying and supporting research on the aging process.
AFAR's primary goal is to extend healthspan, which will not only improve the quality of life as we age, it will reap significant economic and social benefits. Every day, an estimated 10,000 people in the U.S. turn 65. By 2020, 55 million Americans will be 65 and over. By 2050, that number will rise to 82 million, making the social and economic consequences of our aging population enormous. It is estimated that Medicare's current cost of $649 billion a year will double to $1.2 trillion by 2024. If our population continues to age at its current rate, but could experience two more years of health, the American economy would gain $1 trillion. Although the analyses on global health impact has not been measured, one recent economic analysis concluded that slowing or modifying the diseases of aging by 20% would save more than $7 trillion over the next 50 years in the United States alone.

The Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program aims to expose medical students with an enriching experience in aging-related research and geriatrics, with mentorship of top experts in the field. This program aims to introduce students to research and academic experiences early in their training that they might not otherwise get during medical school. Positive experiences in the program have led many physicians-in-training to pursue careers in aging, ranging from basic science to clinical research to health services research. They have joined the growing cadre of physicians and scientists whose specialized knowledge and skills are in great demand as our population ages.

Paul B. Beeson Career Development Awards in Aging aims to increase the number of physicians with a combined clinical, academic, and scientific expertise to care for a growing older population. . To date, 217 scholars have been awarded grants to conduct research that advanced the field of geriatric medicine and aging research.

AFAR Research Grants provide $100,000 to early-career investigators at a critical juncture in their career. Without this type of support, it is difficult to nurture and sustain talented scientists and to recruit additional researchers into the field. Candidates are selected from a national pool of applicants through a three-tiered review process and selected by a Scientific Committee consisting of top international aging researchers.

AFAR also encourages scientific exchange and networking among its grantees. Grant recipients participate in an annual Grantee Conference which provides valuable opportunities for new investigators to learn from each other's work and to engage in informative and enriching discussions with senior investigators. The Conference has also stimulated many multi-site collaborative studies. Our grantees become part of a community, and we support their continued participation in aging research. Through its grant portfolio, AFAR has created a “ladder of opportunity" which provides funding mechanisms for subsequent career stages. Many AFAR grantees have become reviewers for AFAR programs and are inspiring and training the next generation of researchers in the field.

The Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program introduces students to research and academic experiences early in their training, which they might not otherwise have during medical school. Students participate in an eight- to twelve-week structured research, clinical, and didactic program in geriatrics. Students work in geriatrics clinics or attending rounds in a hospital, nursing home, or palliative care facility or even making house calls.

The Paul B. Beeson Career Development Awards in Aging has granted more than $172 million to more than 4,000 talented researchers and medical students to help them begin and further careers in aging research and geriatric medicine.

AFAR has a nationally respected and scientifically rigorous grant review process. AFAR solicits Letters of Intent (LOI), and a select group of AFAR Scientific board members and ad hoc members review the LOIs for program relevance and eligibility. Currently there are some 300 members on the NSAC with aging-related expertise. Each member of the Research Committee reviews and ranks applications which allows for a rigorous comparative analysis of a diverse range of applications. AFAR's grant review process for all of its programs is highly efficient and addresses the needs of the applicants and reviewers in an evolving scientific environment.

AFAR employs a staff of nine, led by Executive Director Stephanie Lederman. Stephanie has served in leadership positions in the not-for-profit sector for over 30 years and has been the Executive Director of AFAR since 1992. AFAR's Board of Directors currently consists of 30 individuals from the scientific and business communities. The Scientific Advisory Committee, whose members are experts in aging research and related areas advise on grant review processes and programs. The Chair of this committee and AFAR's Scientific Director is Steven Austad, PhD Professor and Chair, Dept. of Biology, University of Alabama, Birmingham.

AFAR has an active Board of Directors. The Board's President, Mark S. Lachs, M.D., is the Irene and Roy Psaty Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College, and Co-Chief of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, and the Director of Geriatrics for The New York Presbyterian Health Care System. Dr. Lachs' major area of interest is the disenfranchised elderly. He has published widely in the areas of elder abuse and neglect, adult protective services, the measurement of functional status, ethics and the financing of health care.

AFAR is considered the pioneer in aging research. Over more than three decades, AFAR has given more than $178 million in grants to more than 4,400 investigators. Much of the research that AFAR has funded, and will continue to fund, contributes to the already large body of scientific knowledge that promises to improve healthspan.

AFAR is now embarking on clinical studies, first for the field. Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME) is a 6-year, double blind placebo-controlled trial of Metformin, an FDA approved drug widely-used for the treatment for type 2 diabetes. TAME will study 3,000 older adults without diabetes to determine if Metformin prevents the accumulation of multiple age-related diseases rather than any individual disease. TAME is designed to be a prototype for future trials. If the study demonstrates that Metformin delays the onset of age-related diseases and conditions, the impact of TAME will demonstrate proof-of-concept that by targeting aging itself, healthy lifespan can be increased, paving the way for a new indication for drugs to prevent age-related diseases, and 3) stimulation of drug discovery, with industry incentivized to develop new and better compounds to extend healthy lifespan.

We expect this innovative study will be widely disseminated and serve as a template for the development of even more powerful drugs that may intervene in the underlying biology of aging. The study is designed to be a prototype for a new generation of clinical trials for promising interventions based on geroscience. Use of metformin, a generic, inexpensive, widely used, and safe drug, with preliminary evidence that it prevents or delays important age-related diseases, provides the framework for this novel study. Our hope for TAME is to fundamentally change the approach to aging and its diseases and to reduce health care costs which will affect health-care delivery and costs by trillions of dollars.

Financials

American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR), Inc.

Board of directors
as of 8/23/2018
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. William Lipton

Retired Partner, Ernst & Young

Term: 2014 -

Roger McCarter

Pennsylvania State University

Richard Besdine

Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Steven Austad

University of Texas Health Science Center

Ann Connolly

TIAA-CREF

John Rhodes

Good Energies

Terrie Wetle

Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Joyce Yaeger

MBooth Associates, Inc.

Steven Austad

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Laura Barzilai

Sidley Austin LLP

Nir Barzilai

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Charles Beever

PwC Strategy&

Caroline Blaum

New York University Langone Medical Center

Harvey Cohen

Duke University Medical Center

Mark Collins

Glenn Foundation for Medical Research

Richard Faragher

School of Pharmacy & Molecular Sciences

Alexandra Gatje

Gatje Design

Michael Hodin

Global Coalition on AGing

Thomas Kahn

Kahn Brothers LLC

Peter Kimmelman

Peter Kimmelman Asset Management LLC

James Kirkland

Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

Mark Lachs

New York Presbyterian Health Care System

Kevin Lee

Lawrence Ellison Foundation

Stefania Maggi

National Research Council

William Lipton

Ernst & Young

AnnRosa Meile

Aristea Group Genoa, Rome, Brussels

S. Jay Olshansky

University of Illinois at Chicago

Thomas Rando

Stanford University

David Sinclair

Harvard Medical School

Rudolph Tanzi

Harvard Medical School

Pol Vandenbrouck

Pfizer

Nathaniel David

Unity Biotechnology

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No