Support Our Research and Education Projects

Our Healthy Aging lab is focused on extending and improving life with quality for all adults from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

We have several education and research projects on various aspects of healthy aging including:

  • The Stanford Letter Project,
  • Improving communication about precision medicine in breast and colon cancer,
  • The Stanford Inreach for Successful Aging,
  • Community outreach and education about dementia in diverse populations and
  • The bucketlist project.


What research are you doing next? Why do you need funding?

We need funding for the following projects:

1. GLOBAL BUCKET LIST PROJECT: We have a new and very large international bucket list dataset. As it is a huge dataset, we cannot analyze it manually. Instead, we have to use machine learning techniques to analyze it. We are currently cleaning and formatting the dataset so that it is in a format that is amenable to machine learning. Knowing what people across the world have on their bucket list will help us compare data from individual countries (e.g. USA and UK). It will also help individuals formulate their own bucket lists and strive to accomplish their aspiration. We need support to pay the programmers to analyze the data and a research associate to coordinate the project.

2. WHAT MATTERS MOST LETTER PROJECT: We have completed several small studies and proved that the Stanford Letter Advance Directive is an easy and effective way to help patients communicate to their doctor about what matters most to them.

a. In a randomized clinical trial, we found that patients from various ethnic groups and their proxy decision makers prefer to use the Stanford Letter Advance Directive over the state issued advance directives.

b. In a small cluster randomized trial, we found that doctors prefer the Stanford Letter Advance Directive over the traditional advance directives as the letter gives them more information about their patients’ values and desires. Doctors also felt more confident guiding their patients and creating their care plan after reading the patient’s letter.

c. In an in-depth observational study, we proved that there is a psychological distance between what patients want for themselves compared to what the proxy wants for the patient. The patient and proxy were able to use the Stanford Letter Advance Directive to successfully resolve their differences.

d. We are currently testing the letter in patients with complex illnesses like cardiac amyloidosis, patients with LVADs (Left Ventricular Assistive Devices), hospitalized patients and others.

We need support to do data transcription and translation, a database analyst to the statistical analyses and a research associate to coordinate the project.

If you want to support any of the above projects or related initiatives to promote healthy aging research and training, we will accept your support with gratitude. If you would like to speak to someone or have questions about our lab, please contact Dr. VJ Periyakoil by email:

By including the Stanford Letter Project Research Initiative in your financial planning, you provide a gift that will help improve quality of care provided to seriously ill patients and their families and thereby improve end of life care for all Americans and benefit future generations.