Known in the industry as the “International Olympics for Gerontology and Geriatric Research,” the 2013 International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) World Congress will showcase the research of four UMass Boston doctoral students next week. Lien Quach, a student from Vietnam, joined South Korean students Hyo Jung Lee, Chae Man Lee, and Jiyoung Lyu at the Seoul, South Korea conference.
Associate Professor of Gerontology Elizabeth Dugan mentors the three Korean students.
“The Gerontology Department at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies is extremely proud that four of our doctoral students will be presenting posters of their research at the 20th IAGG World Congress. This prestigious meeting highlights the best research with participants literally from across the globe,” Dugan said.
Lien Quach, working with Professor of Gerontology Jeffrey Burr, used data from a 2008 health and retirement study to find that osteoarthritis and major depression were independently associated with falls. Although more longitudinal research is needed, the pair recommends that fall prevention programs should include attention to managing these conditions in older adults.
Jiyoung Lyu and Chae Man Lee will present a poster on “A Comparative Study of Factors Related to Cognitive Functioning: U.S. vs. Korea.” With little research on cross-national comparisons, this gerontology team used harmonized datasets from both countries and concluded that social and cultural factors related to one’s location in the social hierarchy were significantly related to cognitive function in both Korea and the United States and cultural differences in the social safety net are pronounced.
Chae Man Lee will also present a second poster with Dugan on car fatalities in California. Their research found that drivers aged 65 and older are involved in fewer accidents than 30 to 64-year-olds; yet, older drivers are more likely to have severe injuries. The research pair also discovered that older male drivers are more prone to severe injury and older drivers are more likely to have a fatal accident on highways.
Dugan again paired up with doctoral student Hyo Jung Lee on a research project to study mental health service use among older adults in the United States. Using a nationally representative sample of community dwelling older adults in the U.S., they found notable discrepancies between self-reported and assessed mental health status−including mood and memory status−in older Americans, which contribute to both over and under-utilization of mental health care.
Much like the Olympic sporting competitions, this event is held once every four years and brings together the world’s top researchers in gerontology and geriatrics. Debuting in Belgium in 1950, the world congress was established “to improve the quality of life of the world’s older people by sharing research results on health, welfare, and rights, functioning as a worldwide network to achieve the goal.” Its academic member organizations represent 64 countries from 6 continents, boasting more than 45,000 members worldwide.
“It is only fitting that our students and faculty are sharing their gerontology research at this highly respected conference,” said McCormack’s Dean Ira A. Jackson. “This is a terrific accomplishment for our student scholars as well as for our college and university. Our gerontology program is the second oldest in the country and the McCormack School has produced more PhDs in this field than any school in the world. I couldn’t ask for a better example of thought leadership and our global impact in the field of gerontology.”