The Center for Demography of Health and Aging (CDHA) at UW–Madison has named La Follette School faculty member Pam Herd as its director. Herd, who joined the faculty in 2005, is a professor of public affairs and sociology and the principal investigator of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study.
Herd’s work broadly focuses on aging, policy, health, and inequality. She has two streams of research: how social policies affect gender, race, and class inequality; and the relationship between social factors and health.
With funding from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), CDHA was created in 1999. The NIA award allowed UW–Madison to organize existing on-campus activities, including data collection and substantive and methodological research on aging. Since its inception, CDHA has built a dynamic training and research program that rests on a strong interdisciplinary foundation and easily adapts to new discoveries and developments.
The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study is one of CDHA’s primary research efforts, but also has included the National Survey of Families and Households, the Puerto Rican Elderly Health Conditions, and the Wisconsin Assets and Income Studies.
Founded in 1957, the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study now supports thousands of researchers examining how early and mid-life experiences influence well-being, income security, health and cognitive functioning in later life. As a National Academy of Science report noted, it is the most comprehensive cohort longitudinal study in existence.