Daniel McDowell, associate professor of political science in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, has published an essay exploring the implications of Chinese bank expansion abroad in the 2022-23 Wilson China Fellowship Report “Understanding China Amid Change and…
Maxwell Sociologists Receive $1.8M From the NIA to Study Midlife Health and Mortality
A team of Maxwell School faculty led by Jennifer Karas Montez and Shannon Monnat have been awarded a $1.8 million grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) to support their research on geographic disparities in midlife mortality.
Montez, University Professor and Gerald B. Cramer Faculty Scholar in Aging Studies, and Monnat, professor of sociology and Lerner Chair in Public Health Promotion and Population Health, are co-principal investigators on the five-year project, titled “Geographic Trends and Disparities in Psychosocial Wellbeing, Health Behaviors, and Mortality in Midlife.”
Maxwell School co-investigators include Douglas A. Wolf, professor emeritus of public administration and international affairs, and Emily Wiemers, associate professor of public administration and international affairs. The team also includes Steven Woolf, professor of family medicine and population health at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The project seeks to explain how U.S. state policies and county economic conditions jointly affect physical and mental health and premature death rates for adults ages 25 to 64 from 1990 to 2025. Their research is based on studies that show stark divides in health indicators across states, economic contexts, and rural and urban settings. The divides are associated with how states have differed on public policies, such as minimum wage and Medicaid coverage, as well as how local economic opportunities have diverged due to factors like deindustrialization and reductions in union jobs.
“Our team was thrilled to receive NIH funding to conduct this research,” Montez says. “We think it represents the next generation of research on why where we live affects how long we live. Our past research has shown how U.S. state policies affect how long people live, and how the economic conditions of our local communities affect how long people live. Our new project will examine how people’s lives are simultaneously affected by both of those factors.”
Monnat added, “Too many Americans are dying too young. We hope that the findings from this project can help to inform policies that will reduce the currently high and growing rates of deaths among working-age adults in the U.S. and their large geographic disparities.”
The NIA is a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. Through the NIA, the NIH provides grants to projects that contribute to better understanding aging, mortality and ways to prolong people’s years of healthy, active life.
Past research by Montez and Monnat on mortality and health has been supported by organizations including the NIA. For instance, Montez was principal investigator (PI) for a recent NIA-funded project titled “Educational Attainment, Geography, and U.S. Adult Mortality Risk” and currently one of multiple principal investigators for an NIA-funded research network on 21st-century life course disparities in the U.S.
Monnat, meanwhile, is PI for a research project supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse titled “State’s COVID-19 Mitigation Policies and Psychological Health, Drug Overdose, and Suicide among U.S. Adults” and co-PI for an NIA-funded network on rural population health and aging.
Montez is director of the NIA-funded Center for Aging and Policy Studies (CAPS), co-director of the Policy, Place, and Population Health Lab (P3H) Lab, senior research associate for the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and Population Health, a faculty associate in the Aging Studies Institute (ASI), and a research affiliate in the Center for Policy Research (CPR).
Monnat is director of and senior research associate in the Center for Policy Research, co-director of the P3H Lab, Lerner Chair and senior research associate in the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and Population Health, and a research affiliate in ASI and CAPS.
Wolf is the pilot core lead for CAPS, senior research associate in the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion and Population Health, faculty associate in ASI and research affiliate in CPR.
Wiemers is an O’Hanley Faculty Scholar, faculty associate in ASI and research affiliate in CPR and CAPS.
Story by Michael Kelly