Expanded Training on Placebo Effect & Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias

Why is MIWI offering this expanded training focused on the placebo effect? 

The placebo effect is a clinically-significant, quintessential biopsychosocial phenomenon that sits at the intersection of mental and physical health. The placebo effect has implications not only for addressing foundational questions about neurobiology and cognitive science but also how modifiable characteristics of the clinical encounter can enhance - or impair - the therapeutic value of evidence-based interventions.

What is this expanded training in placebo effects focused on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD)?

An estimated 40% of the risk of ADRD is a function of modifiable risk factors, and there are substantial racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in ADRD risk. The placebo response is a function of neurocognitive processes, symptoms of ADRD likely impair a person’s ability to form expectations regarding treatment response. This makes ADRD an ideal “case study” for training on the placebo effect.

Racial/ethnic minorities and persons with lower socioeconomic status are more likely to receive suboptimal care for a range of conditions, including ADRD. These risk factors are associated with not only lower adherence to treatment recommendations, but also with a less robust placebo response. That is, disparities in the quality of patient-provider interactions may actually reduce the perceived effectiveness of evidence-based interventions, and as a result the placebo effect may be an unacknowledged contributor to the exacerbation of disparities for a range of health outcomes.

Our goal is to foster interdisciplinary research on the intersections of mental and physical health. Our goal is to train early-career scientists on the placebo effect in the context of ADRD through highly-interactive and interdisciplinary teachings, providing ongoing mentorship from leaders in the field, and developing a collaborative and supportive network of scholars.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about this Expansion Program.

Program Structure

The MIWI Expansion Training Program on the placebo effect will follow the structure of the parent MIWI Training Program including interactive seminars, continued mentorship, and research network building. 

Learn more on our About the Program page. 

Program Timeline

  • Applications Open July 2021
  • Deadline to Apply: September 14th, 2021!
  • Applicants Notified by October 3, 2021
  • Orientation: October 2021
  • Training Institute: November 2-5, 2021 in Ann, Arbor, MI
  • Ongoing virtual trainings and mentorship through April 2022

Who Should Apply 

The MIWI Expansion Training Program welcomes scholars from all disciplines and backgrounds who are interested in undertaking focused training on the placebo effect as a biopsychosocial phenomenon. 

We seek motivated early-career scientists whose research addresses placebo/nocebo effect and/or Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD), cognitive decline/impairment, functional impairment, and aging-related health outcomes generally. 

Scientists interested in understanding aging-related health outcomes in minority populations are strongly encouraged to apply.

Eligibility Criteria & Application Requirements

Eligible candidates of the MIWI Expanded Training Program on the placebo effect and ADRD should meet all the existing criteria of the MIWI Parent Training Program, found HERE

The 2021 MIWI Expanded Training Application can be found HERE!


Application MaterialsApplication Checklist

  • A current curriculum vitae.
  • A 3-page document including a personal statement and a research proposal. This document will serve both to inform the creation of the mentorship team and as a basis for the work-group activities during the residential institute.
    • The personal statement (approximately 1 page) should address your
      • Training background and current program of research
      • Interest in the placebo effect and/or Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias (ADRD) and aging-related health outcomes.
    • The research proposal (approximately 2 pages) should address your
      • Research questions or specific aims
      • Planned sample or data source(s)
      • General study design or approach