CDHA Welcomes New Director Michal Engelman

The CDHA Steering committee has selected Michal Engelman as the Center’s next director. She is replacing former CDHA director Jason Fletcher, who stepped down this summer. Engelman has been an affiliate of CDHA since joining UW-Madison in 2013, and has served as the director of CDHA’s pre-doctoral and postdoctoral training program in Population, Life Course, and Aging since 2018.

Engelman is Romnes Professor of Sociology and the Principal Investigator of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS), one of the premier American data resources for interdisciplinary research on aging and the life course. Her research encompasses many of CDHA’s core themes, including Aging and the life course, Biodemography, Determinants of Disparities in Aging, and Impacts of Place on Aging Processes.  Her published work includes methodological inquiries that bring to light the variability masked by aggregate population health statistics and applied research that explores links between social stratification (mainly race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, and nativity status) and health disparities.

Engelman’s current projects include NIA-supported R01s exploring the impact of neighborhood disadvantage on accelerated epigenetic aging (REWARD), and linkages between the accumulation of social advantage and adversity over the full life course and cognitive health in later life (ILIAD). The latter includes an ongoing fielding effort focused on comprehensive cognitive assessment and blood-based Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) biomarker collection with the WLS cohort. Engelman also collaborates with community partners to lead projects that engage older adults from populations underrepresented in research and produce data for documenting and addressing health inequities (DIAMOND).