April 17, 2023 | News | Congratulations

Shubhankar Sharma Obtained His Doctorate

© with courtesy of Shubhankar Sharma

Shubhankar Sharma successfully passed his viva on March, 30th at the University of St. Andrews. His thesis makes substantive and methodological contributions to the study of how socio-political inequities create and perpetuate disparities in later-life cognitive function.

In the abstract of his dissertation titled A Study of the Population Burden of Cognitive Impairment in the US Shubhankar writes: This doctoral thesis takes both descriptive and analytical approaches to address novel facets of morbidity dynamics in the older US population. This is the first study to investigate the burden of cognitive impairment while unpartnered, partners being an essential source of caregiving, social support, and successful aging. This thesis addresses both partnership/cognitive health dynamics and co-impairment. Using advanced incidence-based discrete-time multistate models and the Health and Retirement Study, this thesis first shows that Black and Latinx and lower-educated adults have longer exposure to one of the most expensive health conditions, cognitive impairment, while being unpartnered. Then the thesis finds that these subgroups also experience greater lifetime risk, earlier onset, and longer expectancy in co-impairment, with an important proportion of the racial/ethnic/nativity disparities attributable to educational inequalities. Lastly, analysis based on the parametric g-formula suggests that preventing loneliness may be protective against cognitive decline at older ages, with depression mediating one-fifth of the association

Shubhankar was part of the International Max Planck Research School for Population, Health and Data Science (PHDS) 2019 cohort and joins now the 2023 Alumni cohort. He was also the second student to receive a St-Andrews-Max Planck PhD Scholarship and has conducted his PhD study both at the University of St Andrews and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR). His supervising team included Jo Hale (St Andrews), Hill Kulu (St Andrews), and Mikko Myrskylä (MPIDR).

He will continue research on health inequalities at the University of Helsinki, where he will join the Max Planck – University of Helsinki Center on Social Inequalities in Population Health.

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.