Monday, July 15, 2019

Mercedes Bern-Klug, 'UI professor at the University of Iowa School of Social Work and director of the Aging and Longevity Studies Program

Mercedes Bern-Klug, professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Iowa, has received a Fulbright Scholarship to Mexico, where she'll conduct research and teach a class "Global Aging" to help enhance student understanding and knowledge related to dementia. 

The Fulbright Program, which aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries, is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, sending U.S. faculty to academic institutions abroad to serve as expert consultants on curriculum and related subjects. Scholars not only teach and conduct research but build relationships with people in their host country. 

Could you tell me about what you'll be doing in Mexico (research/teaching)? 

I will be sharing information about the TimeSlips program (an activity that students can do with persons affected by dementia) and helping students understand how dementia impacts the individual and the family.  We will discuss the importance of supporting families affected by dementia.

Why is this field of study important to you? 

My scholarship is the area of working with families of older adults affected by advanced chronic illness, including dementia.  I am interested in learning about the availability of supportive services for families in Mexico.

How to do foresee this experience influencing your work back on campus? 

I will enhance my UI version of the class “Global Aging”  with specific examples of what I learn in Mexico. The UI has a growing population of students with Mexican heritage. Learning about cultural expectations related to aging and chronic illness and family expectations in Mexico can help me work better with Mexican heritage students here in Iowa.

How does this tie into your current research/work? 

I am familiar with the U.S. approach (policies and programs) to supporting families affected by dementia and would like to build understanding about the approach in Mexico. I am particularly interested in learning about social policies impacting families and community-based programs available to families affected by dementia.

Do you have any advice or encouragement you'd like to share with other faculty curious about pursuing a Fulbright? 

Take advantage of the support available from our UI International Programs; they are easy to work with, extremely supportive, and knowledgeable about the process.  



University faculty members at all stages of their careers can apply to become Fulbright Scholars. Grant recipients can teach, do research abroad, or a combination of both for time periods ranging from 2-6 weeks up to a semester or entire year.