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

UMass Boston Gerontology Contingent Follows Research Projects to South Korea

(L-R) Bon Kim, assistant professor Kyungmin Kim, associate professor Kathrin Boerner, and Yijung Kim at Seoul National University.

A small contingent of UMass Boston Gerontology professors and students were simply following their work wherever it led. In this case, it took them nearly 7,000 miles to South Korea.

The group included associate professor Kathrin Boerner and assistant professor Kyungmin Kim, as well as PhD candidates Yijung Kim and Bon Kim. They spent two weeks recently in Seoul, working on a series of projects related to South Korea’s aging population and making presentations organized around their visit.

Two particular points of research interest: The lives of Korean baby boomers and the relationship between the country’s senior children and their surviving parents. Both had connected the UMass Boston group to their host in Seoul, Dr. Gyounghae Han. Continue reading

A Closer Look at Bulgaria’s Aging Population Challenge

By Natalie Pitheckoff

Most Americans know very little about Bulgaria. Even fewer are aware of its aging population, which is creating great challenges (and opportunities) across the country. People often hear or read about aging in countries such as China and India due to their large projected increases in older adults. It seems like Bulgaria gets lost among the giants, even though the country’s current rate of population aging ranks fourth worldwide behind only Japan, Italy, and Germany (Karpinska & Dykstra, 2014; Velkovska, 2010).

As a Bulgarian citizen, I felt it was due time to shed some light on the country’s aging and demographic landscape. I decided to write a manuscript for The Gerontologist, published in the October edition, which describes in detail the factors that have led Bulgaria to its current circumstance and examines the serious implications for the years ahead. Continue reading