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March 8, 2022

The population in the United States as well as in other countries is growing older at a faster rate than before. The World Health Organization has stated that between 2015 and 2050 the proportion of the world’s population that is over the age of 60 will almost double (12% to 22%), with about three-quarters of older individuals living in low-income and middle-income countries in 2050. How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the aging experience as well as death and dying? What will these look like and how will they be experienced in the future as the world recovers from the pandemic, while at the same time, trying to prevent one from happening? This talk will not give the definitive answers to these questions. While recognizing that aging, death, and dying are culturally and socially informed, this talk will draw on some of the current trajectories, empirical evidence, and practices from different parts of the world to think through what these will look like as we all, globally, adjust to living in the “new normal.” Dr. Cortney Rinker is the Director of the Global Affairs Program in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University. Her research is grounded in medical anthropology. Their recent book explores the experiences of diverse Muslims in the Washington, D.C. region as they interact with the health care system during times of serious illness and during end-of-life care. Prior to this project, she conducted an extensive ethnographic study of reproductive health care in Morocco that resulted in her first book, and has started to conduct research in Morocco for her next long-term project that focuses on pain management during chronic and terminal illness, with particular attention to the use of prescription opioids. Dr. Rinker received her PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Irvine and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Arlington Innovation Center for Health Research at Virginia Tech prior to joining the faculty at George Mason University. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

#aging #death #english #globalissues #globalissues #health #publichealth #tedxtalks