A UCF population health expert will travel to Ben-Gurion University in Israel next month to share her research into healthy aging. Dr. Su-I Hou, professor and health-specialization liaison of UCF’s interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Public Affairs at the School of Global Health Management and Informatics, is making the trip through her Fulbright Specialist Award.
Hou will work with graduate students and faculty at Ben-Gurion’s School of Public Health and its master’s program in gerontology to share information on living models that allow seniors to age within their community – rather than in nursing homes and institutions. She says she is also eager to form research, educational and global exchange collaborations with Israeli population health experts and advocates.
“Aging-in-community is a global issue,” she says. “I am eager to share ideas and to learn the models that are working in the Israeli culture.”
Fulbright specialists are selected based on their academic and professional achievement, demonstrated leadership in their field, and passion for fostering long-term global educational and research efforts.
Hou is an expert in mixed-method research, which integrates quantitative or statistical data analysis with qualitative or narrative stories of research participants. She says mixed-method methodologies are especially important in social health research, which seeks to understand the impact of complex life circumstances on health and aging. At Ben-Gurion, she will also deliver mixed methods research workshop sessions to young researchers and faculty at the university’s national Israeli Center for Qualitative Research, the biggest and most influential qualitative research center in Israel.
“This Fulbright Specialist exchange will allow me share modern mixed-methods research — an emerging methodology I am passionate about — as well as my research on models and programs supporting aging-in-community,” she says. “I’m eager to share and learn across the globe.”
Her visit was delayed for two years because of COVID-19. She was originally awarded for the exchange in March 2020, the height of the pandemic, which restricted travel and closed many in-person learning experiences. “I have finally confirmed my flights,” she says. “I’m thrilled this exchange has become a real reality.”
Before joining UCF in 2015, Hou was a key founding faculty member of the College of Public Health at the University of Georgia and served as an associate editor (2009-2015) for Health Promotion Practice, the Society of Public Health Education’s official journal devoted to the practical application of health promotion and education. Hou is a recognized service-learning scholar by the Community-Campus Partnership for Health. She has published over 120 peer-reviewed journal articles, presented over 240 papers at national and international conferences, and given over 120 invited international presentations and workshops.
She received her doctorate and masters of public health at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and holds a BSN from the School of Nursing, College of Medicine at National Taiwan University.