This past Monday a small group of researchers participated in a workshop about the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). This purpose of this workshop was to introduce researchers to the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Emily Blecker, Liz Taggert, and Melissa Oney presented on how to access the HRS data, types of datasets available, data security measures, and the types of statistical analyses that can be conducted using this data.
Photo above from left to right: Irma Elo, Audrey Cheon, Emily Blecker, Liz Taggert, Melissa Oney, Shana Stites, Morgan Peele
Ph.D. Candidate, Demography & Sociology, University of Pennsylvania
M.A., Sociology, Indiana University, 2016
B.A., Women's and Gender Studies and Sociology, Kenyon College, 2013
I am a PhD candidate in the departments of Demography and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. I am also completing an MA in Statistics at the Wharton School. My areas of study include mental health, population aging, racial disparities in health, and occupational health and well-being. My research is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). I graduated magna cum laude from Kenyon College in 2013, with Highest Honors in women’s and gender studies and sociology. After college, I was a Fulbright Fellow in Zhejiang, China where I researched childcare and women’s labor force participation. I completed my MA in sociology at Indiana University where I was a Foreign Language Area Studies Fellow (FLAS) in Mandarin Chinese.
I have two streams of research broadly connected under the umbrella of mental health and well-being. My first stream of research uses a variety of demography and epidemiology methods to examine social determinants of mental health in the United States, with current projects including (1) race/ethnic disparities in mental health from 1997-2018, (2) the intersection of mental health and physical pain in relation to mortality, and (3) cross-national comparisons of the social determinants of mental health among older adults in Europe and the United States.
My second stream of research has evolved from work on the Quality Preschool for Ghana (Q4PG) randomized controlled trial (PIs: Sharon Wolf at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Jere Behrman at the at the University of Pennsylvania departments of Sociology and Economics, and J. Lawrence Aber from the Institute for Human Development and Social Change at New York University). Projects from this collaboration include investigations of (1) predictors of Ghanian teachers’ anxiety and depressive symptoms, (2) the relationship between teachers’ mental health and burnout, and (3) the impacts of a teacher professional development intervention on teachers’ mental health and students’ learning and developmental outcomes.
My past work has explored associations between early-life health and socioeconomic condition on functional limitations and chronic health conditions among older adults in Indonesia and China.
Outside of my academic work, I am an avid kitten fosterer and volunteer with Green Street Rescue in Philadelphia.