UCLA Health was recently awarded an $8 million federal multisite grant for a five-year project aimed at revolutionizing neuropsychological exams and making them more accessible, especially among underrepresented populations.

The grant supports continuation of the National Neuropsychology Network project, which includes five universities, with UCLA as the coordinating center and host of one of the clinics. The project involves compiling detailed neuropsychological data and integrating these with information from electronic health records that have had identifying information removed. These data then become freely available through a National Institute of Mental Health data archive, which can be used for studies and analysis by qualified scientists.

The grant will allow the project to enroll more than 10,000 new participants with an emphasis on populations that have been underrepresented in biomedical research.

“Our team is excited to embark on this effort to modernize neuropsychological methods so that assessments are fully integrated with the social determinants of health, laboratory results and other important data being aggregated in electronic health records,” said Robert Bilder, distinguished professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, who also holds the Michael E. Tennenbaum Family Endowed Chair in Creativity Research. “This work holds the promise of increasing equitable access and advanced understanding of neurocognitive disorders.”

The grant funds will be shared by the project’s five clinic sites at UCLA, University of Florida, Emory University, Medical College of Wisconsin and Baylor College of Medicine.