Raina Croff, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine
  • Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Committee , Neurology, School of Medicine


Raina Croff, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Neurology at the NIA Layton Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Oregon Health & Science University. Her work focuses on creating culturally celebratory approaches to physical activity, social engagement, and reminiscence therapy for healthier aging, particularly amidst the trauma of gentrification and its implications for older Black adults' cognitive health and social connectedness. She received her PhD in Anthropology from Yale University in 2009 and applies her training as an anthropologist of the African Diaspora to designing brain health interventions that celebrate Black culture, history, and community memory. Dr. Croff leads the Sharing History through Active Reminiscence and Photo-imagery (SHARP) Study that blends neighborhood walking and social reminiscence to maintain cognitive health among older healthy and mildly cognitively impaired older African Americans. SHARP has been supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer's Foundation of America, and the Roybal Center for Translational Research.

Dr. Croff began her career as an archaeological anthropologist of the African Diaspora, leading excavation research on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Goree Island, Senegal where she examined the intersection of human behavior, inequality, and material culture. Her early work  led her to focus on medical anthroplogy and how culture and society influence and are influenced by health, disease, and health beliefs. In more recent years, Dr. Croff has applied her anthroplogical lens to American Indian/Alaska Native traditional approaches to substance use disorder treatment, and currently, to cogntive health, cultural neuroscience, and neuroanthropology.

Education and training

    • Ph.D., 2009, Yale University
  • Certifications

    • Certificate of Human Investigations, Oregon Clinical and Translational Research, OHSU

Memberships and associations:

  • The Gerontological Society of America
  • PreSERVE Coalition for African American Memory and Brain Health, Portland, Oregon. Board Member
  • ISTAART - International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment
  • American Academy of Neurology

Areas of interest

  • Healthy aging. Health disparities. Alzheimer's disease. African American brain health. African American community health. Oral history
  • social engagement
  • reminiscence for brain health. Physical activity for brain health. Neuroanthropology. Medical anthropology. Cultural approaches to brain health interventions. Gentrification and healthy aging.

Honors and awards

  • Alzheimer's Association Research Grant to Promote Diversity, 2017
  • National Institutes on Aging Butler-Williams Scholar, 2016
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Brain Research Network Scholar, 2014-2016
  • Michigan Center for Urban African Americans Aging Research Summer Scholar, July 2015
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse Travel Grant to present at Addiction Health Services Research conference, 2011
  • Alzheimer's Foundation of America Grant, 2018
  • Best Clinical Research Presentation, Neurology Research Day 2018
  • Nominee for Department of Neurology, OHSU-Silver Family Faculty Excellence and Innovation Award (1 early-career faculty nominated per OHSU department), 2019
  • American Academy of Neurology Diversity Leadership Program, competitive, 10-person national cohort, 2020


Selected publications

  • Croff R, Tang W, Friedman DB, Balbim GM, Belza B. Training the next generation of aging and cognitive health researchers. Gerontol Geriatr Educ. 2020 Sep 25:1-17. doi: 10.1080/02701960.2020.1824912. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32975172.
  • Ordaz-Johnson OH, Croff RL, Robinson LD, Shea SA, Bowles NP. More Than a Statistic: a Qualitative Study of COVID-19 Treatment and Prevention Optimization for Black Americans. J Gen Intern Med. 2020 Oct 6. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-06259-2. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33021713.
  • Denny, A, Streitz, M, Stock, K, et al. Perspective on the “African American participation in Alzheimer disease research: Effective strategies” workshop, 2018. Alzheimer's Dement. 2020; 1– 11. https://doi.org/10.1002/alz.12160.
  • Proulx J, Croff R, Hebert M, Oken B. Results of a mindfulness intervention feasibility study among elder African American women: A qualitative analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2020;52:102455.
  • Quinn, K., Miyawaki, C. E., Croff, R., Vogel, M. T., Belza, B., Souza, A. M., … Friedman, D. B. (2020). Terms and Measures of Cognitive Health Associated with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease: A Scoping Review. Research on Aging, 42(5–6), 174–185. https://doi.org/10.1177/0164027520911284.
  • Croff, R., Gowen, L., Lindauer, A., Shofner, S., Brown, K., Eckstrom, E. (2020). Including Older Rural Adults in Research: Practical Guidance for Addressing the NIH Inclusion Across the Lifespan Policy. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science. 1-21. 10.1017/cts.2020.12.
  • Lindauer A, Croff R, Mincks K, Mattek N, Shofner SJ Bouranis N, Teri L. It Took the Stress out of Getting Help: The Star-C-Telemedicine Mixed Methods Pilot. Care Weekly. 2018; 2:7-14 doi 10.14283/cw.2018.4 Epub 2018 Jul 3
  • Croff, R., Witter, P., Walker, M., Francois, E., Quinn, C., Riley, T., Sharma, N., Kaye, J. Things are Changing So Fast: Integrative Technology for Preserving Cognitive Health and Community History. The Gerontologist. Volume 59, Issue 1, 9 2019, Pages 147–157, https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny069
  • Croff, R., Alanis-Hirsch, K., Hoffman, K., Ford, J., Schmidt, L., McCarty, D. Overcoming Barriers to Adopting and Implementing Pharmacotherapy: The Medication Research Partnership. Journal for Behavioral Health Services Research. Accepted for publication on March 15, 2018.
  • Proulx, J., Croff, R., Oken, B. et al. Considerations for Research and Development of Culturally Relevant Mindfulness Interventions in American Minority Communities. Mindfulness (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-017-0785-z


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