A highly competitive national program that supports emerging scholars in the field of aging has selected a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa faculty member. Assistant Professor Yeonjung Jane Lee of the Department of Social Work in the Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health participated in the 2022 Butler-Williams Scholars Program in August. The program is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health.
The Butler-Williams Scholars Program provides unique opportunities for early-career researchers to strengthen diverse perspectives on aging research through various presentations, seminars and workshops. Topics included the biology of aging; genetics and Alzheimer’s disease; health, behavior and aging; and health disparities research related to aging.
This year, the virtual program incorporated activities such as science talks, grant development, small group discussions, mock scientific review and scholar networking.
Lee’s research focuses on advancing health and equity for vulnerable populations, including minority older adults. Most recently, Lee and her team are investigating how discrimination and resilience impact health across the lifespan among diverse Asian and Asian American older adults.
“One of the most memorable activities was serving as a chair of the mock grant application reviews for the NIA Division of Behavioral and Social Research,” she said. “I appreciated meeting with Dr. Dario Dieguez, a scientific review officer at NIA, to learn about the rigorous review processes and expectations for a successful grant application.”
Lee expressed special thanks to her mentors, NIA directors, program officers and school leadership for their time and support.
With this experience, she plans to incorporate NIA’s Health Disparities Framework into her future research on improving the health and well-being of older adults at higher risk of experiencing social injustice and inequalities.
“Jane is an emerging star scholar on aging in the social work field. She is our MSW gerontology specialization chair. We are excited about her growth and development through the rich experience she gained from the Butler-Williams Scholars Program,” said Jing Guo, chair of the Department of Social Work.