Guidry News Service visited recently with Dr. Rebeca Wong, the director of the World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization Collaborating Center on Aging and Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Listen (7:41)
Dr. Wong was pleased that the center, which was first designated as a WHO Collaborating Center in 2007, recently has been notified that it has been re-designated as a center.
“Our center specializes in looking at research on aging from the population perspective, meaning we study large groups of people,” Dr. Wong said, explaining that her group studies surveys of elderly persons in the United States and Mexico.
“Some of the puzzles in the field are very interesting,” she said. “For example, we know in aging that in the United States, Mexicans live longer and we don’t understand why. That shouldn’t be the case; because they are of low socioeconomic status, low education. They shouldn’t be living longer than regular average white non-Hispanic people.”
WHO/PAHO initially approached UTMB’s Sealy Center on Aging in the mid-2000s about the possibility of becoming a Collaborating Center in Aging and Health because of the breadth of aging research it continually produces.
“UTMB leaders accepted the invitation and recruited Wong, internationally recognized for her unprecedented longitudinal demographic study of aging in Mexico, to be director of the new center,” said the news release. “She joined UTMB in 2008 and since has hosted visiting scholars from all over the world who have come to UTMB through the WHO/PAHO network to learn from its Sealy Center on Aging faculty and take that knowledge back to their own communities.
“I am grateful that UTMB supports our mission and that we can, in turn, foster aging research throughout the region with our WHO/PAHO collaborations,” Dr. Wong said.