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Jen-Hao Chen

Jen-Hao Chen

Assistant Professor
School of Health Professions and Truman School of Public Affairs
Health Sciences

Areas of Expertise

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Dr. Chen is an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri with appointments in the Department of Health Sciences in the School of Health Professions and the Truman School of Public Affairs. Dr. Chen’s research involves using large-scale social surveys to examine the role of social conditions on health over the life span. Understanding how social position, family life, and relational context influence individual health and psychological well-being, and thinking about how social policies and interventions can promote the health and well-being of individuals—in particular those from socially and economically disadvantaged backgrounds—has always been at the center of his intellectual pursuits. An individual’s position in the social and relational world is crucial for health, because individual’s social position can maintains health advantages or disadvantages across time and space, even though drastically different intervening mechanisms underlie the association. Regardless of changes in disease profiles, medical innovations, behavioral interventions, and other institutional conditions, people belonging to higher status social groups have greater access to resources and information that can be used to maximize health. Effective policy interventions thus require a comprehensive understanding of the origins of these gaps in order to address the social causes of health disparities.

Using nationally representative data from the United States and other countries, Dr. Chen have examined the effect of inequalities in the social context and family relationships on health among children and older adults. Dr. Chen’s research has been published in leading journals such as Alcohol and Alcoholism, Annals of Epidemiology, Demography Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Early Human Development, Journal of Gerontology Social Sciences, Journal of Gerontology Medical Sciences, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Maternal and Child Health Journal, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, and Social Science & Medicine. Dr. Chen received his PhD in Public Policy and Sociology from the University of Chicago. Prior to joining the University of Missouri, he was a postdoc in the Department of Health Studies at the University of Chicago.

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