Language, Health, and Aging
Language is intimately linked to the experience of health and illness, and critically involved in efforts made to prevent and treat illness conditions in both community and clinical settings. Beyond English, Census 2000 counted more than 300 languages spoken in the United States. Clearly, research on language and health is a vital component for meeting the challenges of a multilingual society.
There is a long tradition of research in gerontology at Penn State, and applied linguistics has become an important conversation partner in that endeavor. With the advance of the baby boomers into retirement and old age, research on how language is affected by aging and how aging is portrayed in language have become hot topics.
The Language, Health, and Aging Sequence
Students who are interested in careers in applied linguistics with a focus on health and/or aging, or who are interested in careers in the health sciences with a focus on linguistic diversity are invited to pursue a doctorate in language, health, and aging within the Department of Applied Linguistics. In consultation with their advisors, students craft a program of study that culminates in dissertation research on a health-related or gerontological topic. A three course sequence is available within the department including:
- APLNG 510 Health and Aging in Multilingual Contexts
- APLNG 511 Applied Linguistics and Health Sciences
- APLNG 512 Language and Adult Lifespan Development
Students may also take additional courses in health communication (Department of Communication Arts and Sciences), lifespan development (Department of Health and Human Development), and health sciences (College of Health and Human Development).
In addition to annual participation in meetings of the American Association of Applied Linguistics, students are encouraged to become members of, and to participate in, professional societies related to their interests (e.g. the Gerontological Society of America, the Society for Medical Anthropology, the Global Health Council, National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, etc.).
The Language, Health, and Aging Research Group
The LHA Research Group is composed of faculty and students with interests in cultural and linguistic issues in the health sciences and in gerontology. Monthly research revolve around: new research ideas, data analysis questions, grant proposals, articles in preparation, upcoming conference presentations or posters, and a journal club.
For more information contact: Dr. Robert Schrauf (email@example.com).