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UTMB researcher receives $3 million NIH grant to study aging in Mexico

Rebeca Wong, one of the nation's foremost experts on aging, has been awarded $3.03 million by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health to continue a groundbreaking study in Mexico. Wong will use the grant for a longitudinal aging study she and collaborators started in 2001.

Her research team will collect current data from thousands of participants and their families about such topics as recent health, chronic conditions and disabilities, lifestyle, medication use, number of children, financial resources, pensions and type of housing.

The Mexican Health and Aging Study, the first of its kind conducted in a developing country, has collected information at intervals throughout the last decade on 15,000 Mexicans 50 and older living in Mexico. The study is designed to allow comparisons with other national surveys of older adults in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, including Hispanics living in the U.S. It has already resulted in publications in a broad range of disciplines, including demography, microeconomics, labor economics, public health, epidemiology and health care policy, both in the U.S. and abroad.

The study involves a consortium including the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Pennsylvania and the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica Geografia e Informatica in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Other collaborators come from the Institute of Geriatrics and the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico.

Wong, a native of Mexico, joined the UTMB faculty in January 2008. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan and is the Peaches and Shrub Kempner Distinguished Professor in Health Disparities, a senior fellow of the Sealy Center on Aging and director of the UTMB World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization Collaborating Center on Aging and Health. To learn more about her work, go to:


Contact: Molly Dannenmaier
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

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