Productive aging in U.S. and China focus of conference

Thirty percent of world's population will be over 60; countries can learn from each other

The 10th annual Friedman Conference on Aging, “Productive Aging: Cross-Cultural Perspectives From China and the U.S.,” will be held from 8:30 a.m.-noon Tuesday, May 25, in Room 100, Brown Hall.

The conference, which is sponsored by WUSTL’s Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging and the Center for Social Development (CSD), is free and open to the public and includes breakfast.

Preregistration is required and is available at

“Demographic shifts in the human population require a different view of later life,” says Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, the Ralph and Muriel Pumphrey Professor of Social Work at the Brown School and a faculty associate with CSD.

“The social and economic structures that have developed over human history were not shaped for a world in which 30 percent of the population will be over 60 years of age,” she says. “Countries have a lot to learn from each other, as the necessary social and economic transitions are uncharted.”

The conference will provide an important opportunity for scholars from the United States and China to address the challenges and benefits of a rapidly aging population. Morrow-Howell will present on productive aging in the United States, while other panelists will focus on productive aging in mainland China and Hong Kong.

Panelists are:

Morrow-Howell on “Productive Aging: A U.S. Perspective”;
Du Peng, PhD, director of the Institute of Gerontology at 
Renmin University in China, will discuss “China’s Population Aging and Active Aging”;
Ada Mui, PhD, professor of social work at Columbia University, will speak about “Productive Aging in China: Opportunities & Challenges”;
Teresa B.K. Tsien, director of the Institute of Active Aging at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, will discuss “Older Adults as Caregivers in Hong Kong”; and
Iris Chi, DSW, the Golden Age Association Frances Wu Chair for Chinese Elderly 
at the University of Southern California, will present “Current Directions in Education, Research, and Programs for an Aging China.”

Michael Sherraden, PhD, the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development
 at the Brown School and director of CSD, will serve as moderator.

“Perceptions about elders, and consequently our expectations for how they can continue to contribute to society, vary greatly across cultures,” says John C. Morris, MD, the Harvey A. and Dorismae Hacker Friedman Professor of Neurology and director of the Friedman Center for Aging.

“Both China and the U.S. have rapidly growing aging populations,” he says, “so how each country is addressing the capacity of these individuals to remain productive as they age is important to consider.”