at the University of Massachusetts Boston


  • What is the purpose of the Study?

    The purpose of the Study is to collect information that will help us learn how older adults can maintain their health and independence for as long as possible. The MOBILIZE Boston Study is a collaborative effort involving researchers at many different institutions both nearby and at great distances from Boston.
  • Who are the Study participants?

    When we started the Study back in 2005, the research team at the UMass Boston Center for Survey Research team, working with researchers at Hebrew Senior Life’s Institute for Aging Research, set about inviting older people in Boston and in neighboring towns to join the Study. The study staff went door-to-door in many neighborhoods asking people to join the study. In the early years of the Study, from 2005 to 2008, we enrolled 765 people living in the Boston area who were eligible and interested in joining the study. To be eligible, people had to be age 70 or older (or age 64 and older if they were living with an eligible study participant) and planned to live in the Boston area for at least two years after joining the Study.
  • Can I join the Study?

    We are no longer enrolling new people into the Study.
  • Who is funding the Study?

    The Study funding is from the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.
  • What are participants in the Study doing?

    Participants are currently having their 6-year assessments that involve a visit to the Research Clinic at Hebrew Senior Life in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, MA. After the visit in the clinic, participants either complete an interview by phone and/or in their homes.
    Participants are also asked to keep track every month of some information on a calendar postcard which they mail free of charge to the research Study office at the end of the month. This information is simply whether or not they have fallen, been hospitalized or experienced other changes during each month.
    Some of the study participants are also involved in a study of brain characteristics among people with and without chronic pain conditions. Participants in this substudy undergo brain MRI scans at the Boston VA Medical Center. Findings from this project will guide future research in the neuroscience of chronic pain in older adults.
  • Who will use the information?

    The information gathered during the Study is used by researchers and doctors in order to understand the conditions that affect the elderly and to develop new prevention strategies and treatments.
  • Is participation confidential?

    Confidentiality is one of the basic rights of research participants. Most people are very concerned about how researchers protect their confidentiality. All staff in the Study are trained and certified to protect the confidentiality of participants. Records identifying participants are locked and made available only to research staff.
    Data used for analysis in research and for publication are identified by a number only; no names are kept with the research information. The Research Consent Form provides a complete explanation of confidentiality, and every participant has been given a copy of the Research Consent Form. The rights and privacy of the Study participants are overseen by the Institutional Review Board of Hebrew SeniorLife.
  • What other agencies are involved?

    The MOBILIZE Boston Study II is based at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The original MOBILIZE Boston Study was based at Hebrew SeniorLife. The Study clinic continues to be based at Hebrew Senior Life in Boston. Our partners include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston VA Medical Center, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, and University of Tel Aviv, and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • Who are the researchers conducting this Study?

    Suzanne Leveille, PhD, Principal Investigator
    Peggy Gagnon, RN, Project Director
    Richard D. Jones, ScD
    Jonathan Bean, MD MS
    Robert Shmerling, MD
    William Milberg, PhD
    Jeff Hausdorff, PhD
    Ling Shi, PhD
    Mary Michaels, Research Assistant
    Erin Parks, RN, MPH, Research Nurse
    Matt Lough, Gait Laboratory Research Assistant
    Ike Iloputaife, BS, Gait Laboratory Assistant
  • How can I contact the Study?

    We appreciate your interest in our Study, and your questions are very important to us. Please feel free to phone us at our telephone information line. Our staff is available from 7:30am-5:30pm, Monday through Friday. Please call 617.363.8483.
  • Where to find a geriatrician:

    Hebrew Senior Life at or 617.363.8000
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at or 617.667.7000.
  • Information Resources for Older Adults in the Boston area:

    Boston ElderINFO is an information and referral source available for those seeking advice about elders or disabled persons in Boston. Call them at 617.292.6211 or visit them online at
    Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs: 1.800.243.4636 or TDD/TTY 1.800.872.0166.