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Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training in Public Health and Aging---Application Deadline: March 1, 2009

Posted: February 12, 2009

Why is interdisciplinary doctoral training in public health and aging important?

Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training in Public Health and Aging

University of Michigan

School of Public Health

Ann Arbor, Michigan



START DATE: July 1 or September 1, 2009

Why is interdisciplinary doctoral training in public health and aging important?

Population aging is having a growing impact on public health worldwide and leading to increases in the burden of chronic diseases. Understanding the effects of aging on public health requires an interdisciplinary approach that encompasses medicine, social sciences, biology and population approaches. Application of this understanding to policy and prevention programs is key to managing the problems of aging populations.

Program overview. Our doctoral training program emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinary work in public health and aging. Trainees will interact with a mentor and co-mentor. Integration and cross fertilization across disciplines as well as linkages between public health sciences, medicine, social science and policy is emphasized. Connections of theory to public health interventions and practice are emphasized.

Chronic diseases in aging adults. Trainees in our program will learn about the biology of aging, theories of aging, demography of aging and health, major diseases of the elderly, measurement and assessment of functional change and frailty, genetics and biomarkers as pathways in population based research, and assessment of medical care and treatment in the context of observational and experimental studies.

Research methods and analytical models in aging. Trainees in our program will learn research methods that include practical concerns such as recruitment, retention and ethics along with analytic approaches such as modeling of change over time, survival trajectories in aged populations, handling of missing data in longitudinal analysis, time-period-cohort analysis, competing risk and time dependent covariate modeling.

Translation of research on aging populations into public health practice and policy. Trainees in our program will gain knowledge and skills about how public health scientists and professionals can translate population based health information into practice in community and governmental settings and into policies that can influence health of the elderly.

Who is eligible? Students admitted to or currently enrolled in a doctoral program in health sciences, social or behavioral sciences at University of Michigan are eligible. Every trainee must have research plans that focus on aging and public health and are interdisciplinary. Students must be US citizens or permanent residents of the US. Mentorship: Each trainee must have a mentor and a co-mentor representing an interdisciplinary approach. Financial support: Support, including a stipend and tuition support, is given for two years for each trainee. A third year may be awarded but will be in competition with new trainee applications.

Course requirements:

EPID 813a and b advanced seminar on public health and aging (2 in Fall, 2 in Winter units). All trainees will be required to attend this seminar during each academic year of funding as a condition of the award. Each trainee will present on their work twice a year at these seminars. The primary mentor and comentor are expected to attend the seminar when their trainee is presenting. These seminars will comprise an important context for interdisciplinary professional development of trainees. The seminars will specifically include lectures and exercises that cover (1) scientific writing for journal publication and (2) making scientific presentations and (3) research grant writing.

Epid 677 - Epidemiology of Aging (Fall, 3 units). This course addresses the epidemiology of aging from a public health perspective. Topics include demographic changes affecting population aging, biology of aging, theories and models of aging, concepts and measures of functional status, genetics and aging, vascular and metabolic diseases in the elderly, cognition and the dementias, social factors in aging, infection and aging, and sensory changes. Additional courses may be recommended or substituted depending on the students previous training, research objectives and his/her focus.

Contact information:

University of Michigan

School of Public Health

c/o: Lynn Blythe

109 S. Observatory St, Room M5539

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

(734) 615 8190

For application form email: lkblythe@umich.edu

Program Director Mary N. Haan, Epidemiology

Steering Committee

Mary Fran Sowers (CoDirector)


Goncalo Abecasis, Biostatistics

Ana Diez Roux, Epidemiology

Neal Krause, Health Behavior

Jersey Liang, Health Policy

Caroline Blaum, Geriatrics

Howard Hu, Environmental Health

Program Advisory Committee

University of Michigan

Jeff Halter- Director, Geriatrics Center and Institute of Gerontology PI, Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center Chief, Division of Geriatric Medicine

James Jackson- Director, Institute for Social Research PI, Resource Center for Minority Aging Research

Ruth Dunkle -Co-director of the NIA Training Program in Social Research Training on Applied Issues on Aging (AG000117)

Kathleen Potempa -Dean, School of Nursing

James House- Research Professor Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research

Toni Antonucci -Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Rackham Graduate School

David Weir- Director, Health and Retirement Survey

Wayne State University

Peter Lichtenberg -Director, Institute of Gerontology


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