The Program on the Global Demography of Aging (PGDA) at Harvard University, led by David E. Bloom, received funding from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health to carry out research on important themes related to global aging and health, with an emphasis on issues in the developing world. A key overarching theme focuses the expertise available at various schools at Harvard toward one of the pressing health questions of global aging, namely understanding the changing patterns of adult morbidity and mortality, including their measurements and causes, demographic and economic implications, and policies and programs for addressing and mitigating such implications.

The PGDA’s research focuses on five main themes:

  1. Measurement of the global patterns of disease, mortality, and morbidity in aging populations.
  2. Socio-economic determinants of population health and aging
  3. Impact of health care services on the health and well-being of older persons
  4. Determinants of mental health and cognition for the elderly (including Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s-Related Dementias)
  5. Long-term care institutions

The PGDA conducts research seminars and workshops, publishes a working paper series, and generates publications and research proposals. The PGDA provides support for research on demographic change and aging throughout the world, with a particular focus on developing countries. An important component of this research is the role of burden of disability and disease in aging, particularly the measurement of this burden, as well as analyzing its causes and consequences. PGDA supports existing program of research at Harvard University as well as the development of new research, and is a component of a wider university initiative on global health.

The PGDA frequently collaborates with the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies (HCPDS) in Cambridge, under the direction of Lisa Berkman. The mission of HCPDS is to promote cross-disciplinary research on critical issues of population, health, and development that will advance the well-being of the global poor. The PGDA and HCPDS coordinate to disseminate research and information to members of the Harvard community and beyond.

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