Gerontology Faculty Members Jeffrey Stokes and Qian Song Win NIA Research Grants

Jeffrey Stokes

Jeffrey Stokes

Qian Song

Qian Song

What’s better than a grant funding new faculty research? Two grants.

Two assistant professors from the McCormack Graduate School’s Gerontology Department recently won two-year grants of $152,500 each from the National Institute on Aging. Work on both projects began recently.

Jeffrey Stokes received a grant to study the impact of loneliness of a spouse on the health and well-being of both older adult partners in a marriage. Qian Song is the principle investigator on a project that won a grant to examine the long-term effects of job loss on health in a setting that mimics a natural experiment – the massive layoffs of State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) workers in urban China. Continue reading

UMass Boston Gerontology Building Academic Relationships in China

Professor Jeffrey Burr receives a gift from Professor Lu Jiehua of Peking University

UMass Boston Gerontology professors Jeffrey Burr and Jan Mutchler delivered presentations at a conference hosted by China’s Remin University and other organizations early in December. That was not especially big news.

But their speeches, as well as social events organized around the visit to China, were important just the same. Their trip was the latest of many small steps the Gerontology Department at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School has taken to build academic relationships in a country with one of the world’s biggest and fastest growing elder populations.

“This initiative is part of our effort to ‘look outward’ beyond the boundaries of the United States when it comes to gerontology research, teaching and service,” said Burr, the Gerontology Department chair. “Countries in East Asia, like China, provide a wonderful opportunity to learn about the aging process through different cultural, social, and economic lenses.”

Professor Jan Mutcherl withstudent Yu Mengting

Professor Jan Mutchler with student Yu Mengting of Renmin University.

There are also more specific objectives behind the efforts to forge relationships with Chinese gerontologists.“Our goals are to create student and faculty exchange programs, joint faculty research projects, and jointly sponsored conferences that advance the field,” said Burr. Continue reading

Institute Talk: Du Peng on Elder Care in China

To get a sense of China’s elder care challenge, begin with this figure: 230 million.

That’s the number of people in China who are 60 years of age or older today, Professor Du Peng of Renmin University told an audience at the McCormack Graduate School of the University of Massachusetts Boston on March 15. For the first time, those elders are equal in number to the country’s population age 15 and younger.

Like other countries around the world, China is in the midst of more dramatic demographic shifts that will increase the sheer number its older citizens and make them a bigger part of nation’s population.

China expects the 60-and-older population to grow to 500 million people by the year 2050 and make up 34 percent of the population, said Professor Du, an international leader in aging studies who serves as Director of the Institute for Gerontology at Renmin in Beijing. Without the effect of China’s recent shift to a two-child policy, the elder share of the population in 2050 would be expected to become even higher—36.5 percent. Continue reading