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Sealy Center on Aging Announces New Director

Jul 27, 2023, 12:47 PM by SCOA

The Sealy Center on Aging is pleased to announce Rebeca Wong, PhD as its Director ad interim, starting July 1, 2023. Dr. Wong held faculty positions in public health at Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University, and the University of Maryland before coming to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) in 2008. She is the Sheridan Lorenz Distinguished Professor in Aging and Health and Associate Dean for Research ad interim in the School of Public and Population Health. She also serves as Director of a World Health Organization/Pan-American Health Organization (WHO/PAHO) Collaborating Center on Aging and Health at UTMB and is PI of the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS), a longitudinal cohort study binationally supported by the NIA/NIH and the Mexican Statistical Bureau (INEGI). 

Dr. Wong is an economist and population health expert with 35 years of research experience. She earned her BS in Actuarial Science (1981) from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico in Mexico City and MA in Applied Economics (1983) and PhD in Economics (1987) from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She uses a multidisciplinary life course perspective to investigate a variety of topics related to the well-being of older adults, with particular focus on physical and cognitive function and the implications of economic and health shocks for populations in Mexico and among Hispanic immigrants in the United States. Her research has been continuously funded by the NIA/NIH for the past 30 years. 

Dr. Wong is also a dedicated faculty mentor. She has collaborated with pre- and post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty from multiple disciplines and has contributed to their career development through funded research, training, and career development awards. She recognizes the pressing need to train the next generation of scholars to address health disparities in aging and has been committed to building a diverse scientific workforce throughout her career. 

The Sealy Center on Aging has been a leader in aging research since 1995. Under Dr. Wong’s leadership, the center will continue its mission of improving the health and well-being of older adults through interdisciplinary research, education, and community service by integrating the resources and activities relevant to aging at UTMB. Dr. Wong has been a Senior Fellow of the Sealy Center on Aging since 2008 and has served as its Associate Director since 2015.