MSU UARC is shutting down effective June 30, 2021. We are no longer taking on new projects.


Ensuring a quality personal care aide (PCA) workforce is critical to meeting the needs of an aging population. The Integrated Model for Personal Assistant Research and Training (IMPART) program, funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund (MHEF), is a PCA training and advocacy model designed to increase the number of qualified PCAs able to promote the health of seniors in Michigan. Developing the PCA workforce can improve access to and quality of home-care, allowing older adults to remain in independently in their own homes for as long as possible.


A core component is an evidence-based, comprehensive PCA training program, Building Training…Building QualityTM (BTBQTM), supported by a robust data platform. This online system was designed to register, train and certify PCAs and Trainers, maintain a qualified PCA workforce database, and enhance the capacity to track IMPART process, performance, and impact measures.

This innovative system was developed using a User-Centered Design approach, which automates central administration functions, tracking, and reporting of training events, and standardizes and consolidates all training activities on a scalable and usable web-based technology platform. The system has been well-received by representative PCAs and trainers through user acceptance testing of the tool and a usability evaluation.

System Effectiveness Highlights

Over 50 PCAs have completed BTBQTM modules and 22 new trainers have completed a new BTBQTM Trainer Certificate program during the tool development phase. The PCAs are already reporting substantially higher wages. The web-based data platform launched in April 2019, and makes it possible for these programs to scale up for wide distribution. As more PCAs and trainers graduate, the number of qualified PCAs will increase exponentially. The data collected with this technology can inform responsible fiscal and policy decisions about resource allocation to support a stronger PCA workforce.

Research Team

  • Clare Luz, PhD (PI), Department of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Sarah J. Swierenga, PhD, Director, MSU Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting
  • Fuad Abujarad, PhD, Yale University
  • Chris Curtin, RN-BC, Executive Director, Community Services Network
  • Lauren Swanson-Aprill, M.A., Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Aging & Adult Services Agency
  • Zhehui Luo, PhD, MSU Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Press Release

Project-related Research Publications

  • Abujarad, F, Swierenga, S. J., & Luz, C. (2019, June 2). A technology tool for supporting personal care aides is key to increasing accessibility, quality, and cost-effectiveness of home care. Poster presentation at the AcademyHealth Annual Meeting, Public and Population Health session, Washington, DC.
  • Abujarad, F., Luz, C., & Swierenga, S. J., (2018, June 23). IMPART Alliance: Supporting personal care aides key to increasing accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of home care. Poster presentation at the AcademyHealth Conference, June 23-26, Seattle, WA.