About the study

Meeting the care needs of the nation's growing population of persons living with dementia is perhaps the top public health challenge facing the U.S. in the coming decades. In 2020, over 6 million Americans had Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia (ADRD), and that number will more than double to nearly 14 million by 2060.

The National Dementia Workforce Study (NDWS) was launched in Fall 2023 through an $81 million cooperative agreement with the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to develop and field new annual national surveys of the dementia care workforce, including physicians, nurses, and direct care workers across multiple care settings. The mission of NDWS is both to launch the surveys successfully and to build data infrastructure and dissemination to ensure NDWS becomes a resource for the broader community of researchers and policymakers. This collaborative, interdisciplinary endeavor is led by teams at the University of Michigan and the University of California, San Francisco, with several other university-based and non-profit partners.

Over the next five years, this set of four surveys aims to include over 70,000 unique contacts collected from over 40,000 unique respondents, all of which will be available to researchers for stand-alone analysis or for use with a host of linked data sources. This data infrastructure will be accompanied by myriad efforts to facilitate and promote its use, allowing researchers to generate unprecedented insights into the nature and training of the professional dementia care workforce, along with the capacity to connect this information to actual, objective measures of care delivered to persons living with dementia in the U.S.

The first round of annual surveys will be launched in Summer 2024 across four key practice settings:

  • Community clinicians
  • Nursing home staff
  • Assisted living staff
  • Home care staff

The study will also survey administrators at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home care agencies to gain insight into the structure and operation of each organization. Preliminary data from the first annual round of NDWS surveys will be available in Fall 2024, with final (cleaned and linked) data anticipated in January 2025.


The NDWS team will update this document regularly with a cumulative set of your (anonymized) questions and the NDWS response. Please check back frequently.

RFP Questions & Responses

Request for Proposals

Deadline: 5:00 PM EST, 2/19/2024.

The NDWS team will establish subaward agreements with up to four data collection organizations willing to work in partnership to launch the four surveys. You may submit a proposal for any or all of these surveys.

Nursing Home Staff Survey Assisted Living Staff Survey Home Care Staff Survey Community Clinician Survey


Principal Investigator Donovan Maust, MD, MS, is a geriatric psychiatrist at Michigan Medicine and VA Ann Arbor. He is particularly interested in how the health care system provides care to persons living with dementia and the extent to which that care is determined by the person who happens to be providing the care, a phenomenon he regularly observes as a practicing clinician. For his own research, he primarily uses national surveys and linked administrative data, with a particular interest in psychotropic prescribing.

Principal Investigator Joanne Spetz, PhD, is Director and Brenda and Jeffrey L. Kang Presidential Chair in Health Care Financing at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is an internationally known expert on the health workforce who leads the UCSF Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care and the NIA-funded AWARD (Advancing Workforce Analysis and Research for Dementia) Network, focused on the direct care workforce for persons living with dementia.

Core Lead James Wagner, PhD, is Director of Sampling and Associate Director of the University of Michigan Survey Research Center, the largest and oldest academically based survey research organization in the world. He has more than 20 years of experience with survey sampling and data collection, including sample design work on the Consortium of Psychiatric Epidemiology Studies, the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), and serving as Chief Mathematical Statistician for the National Survey of Family Growth from 2011-2019.

Core Lead Steven Marcus, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice is an epidemiologist, statistician, computer scientist, and a mental health services researcher studying the outcomes, quality of care, and pharmacoepidemiology of patients with serious mental disorders. Dr. Marcus has expertise in the use of large claims databases (pharmacy claims, national Medicaid and Medicare claims, and private insurance) to answer important national policy questions related to health system capacity, quality of care, and service delivery.

Core Lead Laura Wagner, PhD, RN, GNP, FAAN, a geriatric nurse practitioner and Professor of Nursing at UCSF, Co-I of the AWARD Network, and Associate Director for Research of the UCSF Health Workforce Research Center. She has over 20 years of experience leading health services research in a variety of acute, long-term, and community-based care settings and is PI of a current R01 (R01AG074227) focused on dementia care training in U.S. nursing homes.


This work is supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54AG084520. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.