University Park, Pennsylvania — The Pennsylvania State University Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) recently announced a new co-funded faculty member, Jessica Ho, joining the Institute for the 2022-23 academic year.

Ho is an associate professor of sociology and demography and an associate professor at the Population Research Institute, and came to Penn State University from the University of Southern California. Her research interests include demography, medical sociology, aging and stratification.

“I’m trying to understand how factors related to the US culture, social system, and structure of everyday life could explain why life expectancy in the US is lower than in any high-income country,” says Ho. says Mr.

Her previous research found that mortality in Americans under the age of 50 accounted for most of the reduction in life expectancy, and that drug overdoses were the leading cause of premature death at these ages. Did.

“The drug overdose epidemic is both a manifestation and a driver of inequality within the United States. “My work examines the causes and consequences of the modern drug overdose epidemic in older adults, families, and intergenerational relationships.”

Ho also explores how stratification processes have caused health disparities to expand or contract over time. Her research highlights the importance of focusing policies to prevent the leading causes of death among Americans in their prime from age 20 to her 64, and the need to reduce the social inequalities that lead to them. doing.

At Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Ho will undertake research to identify the role that differences between the welfare state and social protection drive the decline in life expectancy in the United States and the variability in life expectancy across countries.

She also examines the impact that the drug overdose epidemic is having on family structures and living environments, and how families have coped with these impacts. This includes time, money, and support transferred across multiple generations to feed an entire family and care for children.

“I am excited to continue my research at Penn State, which has a respected sociological environment, a strong population center, and a lot of exciting interdisciplinary research,” said Ho. said.

Ho holds a PhD in Demography and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and was previously a consultant for the National Academy of Sciences Panel to Understand International Health Differences in High Income Countries. She has received a Career Development Award from her NIH and her research has also been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Robert Wood Her Johnson Foundation.

“This SSRI co-funded faculty recruitment is an important part of our priority to expand our research expertise in the field of aging and to understand and reduce disparities across the life course. The goal is: “Dr. Ho will take a leadership role in research and training programs in this important priority area.”

SSRIs enable and promote research that addresses critical human and societal challenges at the local, national, and international levels. Through various funding mechanisms, the Institute supports 59 co-funded faculty located at nine colleges and over 500 faculty members across nine campuses. Under the SSRI, PRI is an interdisciplinary center supporting innovative population research. Funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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