Dr. Rebeca Wong, Director of the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center on Aging and Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston, and collaborators have just been awarded a 5-year grant from the National Institutes of Aging (NIA/NIH) to complete two more waves of the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS). The study will be funded by the NIA/NIH in the United States and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography in Mexico (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, INEGI).
The MHAS study began in 2001 and is the first of its kind in developing countries. It provides longitudinal information on about 15,000 Mexicans age 50 and older living in Mexico. It is designed to allow comparisons with other national surveys of older adults like the HRS in the US, and other studies in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Researchers will be able to study topics including current health, chronic conditions and disabilities, cognition, lifestyle, employment, number of children, financial resources, pensions, and type of housing. With the additional waves, the MHAS will reach a cumulative count of approximately 6,500 deaths in the panel, making the study an increasingly powerful data resource to examine mortality and aging.
The MHAS has already resulted in more than 220 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 data files and documentation are available free of charge at the study website [www. MHASweb.org] in English and [www.ENASEM.org] in Spanish. The study user-friendly website provides a dynamic search engine that allows users to find the list of publications using keywords, type of documents, and/or authors. Users can also use a Forum dedicated to Frequently Asked Questions; the Forum is an open space to share knowledge and ask questions to the MHAS community.
The study involves a consortium including UTMB and The University of California, Los Angeles, in the U.S., and the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, INEGI), the National Institute of Public Health (Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica, INSP), and National Institute of Geriatrics (Instituto Nacional de Geriatría, INGer) in Mexico. Other collaborators come from the in Mexico.
Dr. Wong, a native of Mexico, joined the UTMB faculty in January 2008. She received a PhD in Economics from the University of Michigan in 1987. She is the Peaches & Shrub Kempner Distinguished Professor in Health Disparities, a Senior Fellow of the Sealy Center on Aging, and Director of the UTMB WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center on Aging and Health.