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Christine L. Williams, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

PRC's Health & Mortality Research Lab Featured on CoLA's Website

Posted: December 19, 2011

Life expectancy in the United States is on the rise - but not for everyone. Although many older Americans are healthier and more prosperous than any previous generation, rates of gains are inconsistent between the genders and across education levels and racial and ethnic groups.

Graduate student researchers at the Population Research Center are working toward understanding these health disparities that continue to persist and grow in the United States, and to help extend our most precious resource:  human life.

To help them succeed, Mark Hayward, Robert Hummer, and Debra Umberson, professors in the Department of Sociology and Population Research Center, created research lab meetings, scientific forums allow graduate students to present their research and brainstorm ideas with their colleagues. Every two weeks the students and professors come together to vet new ideas, critique research projects, and discuss papers in progress.

Since the lab meetings were created in 2005, Hayward says he has seen many of the participating students publish papers in top sociology, demography and health science journals, win prestigious fellowships, and go on to academic positions at top tier research universities. 

"These lab meetings are a tremendous vehicle for professional socialization and mentoring," says Hayward, director of the PRC. "The end result has been a stream of outstanding scientific publications, usually led by the students with faculty support, outstanding placements in postdoctoral programs and universities and - perhaps most of all - a very fun learning environment."

Go to the full story on the COLA webpage to read stories that profile a few students and recent alumni who have benefited from the research lab meetings and are on their way to advancing the field of population health.

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