Aging Studies Doctoral Candidate’s Article Impacts Legislation in the Philippines, Goes Viral in Gerontology Community

Adrian N. S. Badana, MPH, CPH; a G.S.S. Doctoral Fellow and PhD candidate in the School of Aging Studies, is making an impact with his article "Aging in the Philippines," co-authored by Dr. Ross Andel, Director of the School of Aging Studies. The article, published in The Gerontologist, a top-tier outlet for aging-related research. Badana, an aspiring gerontologist and public health researcher, was inspired by his Filipino heritage and time spent living in Southeast Asia to research the Filipino population. The goal of Badana’s article was to provide an overview of research on aging in the Philippines for other gerontologists and public health researchers, but the article went further than that — all the way to the House of Representatives of the Philippines and into potential legislation as it was cited as evidence by the House of Representatives in the Philippines in a bill designed to improve the lives and social welfare of older citizens.

Dr. Andel says that delivering this kind of information to a wide audience is critical in today’s world. “With the population aging, studying the impact the changing demographics on social and economic issues is increasingly important.”

Badana’s work shows that researching aging in the Philippines is particularly critical as the population is unique, rapidly expanding and is currently underrepresented in healthcare policy.

“Since older Filipinos will represent a larger portion of the Philippine society in the future, the nation must plan to meet the needs of this population,” says Badana. The older adult population continues growing and is expected to overtake the population of citizens ages 0-14 in the next decade. “The major policies in the Philippines encompass only families with young children, so expanding these benefits and services to older adults and their families may alleviate financial strain and enhance their quality of life.”

Like in most Eastern Asian countries, the aging Filipinos are often cared for by family members. However, the Philippine population is unique because the country currently has a lower portion of older citizens as compared to other Asian nations like Japan. Additionally, Filippino caregivers differ from those in other Asian cultures since both males and females share in the care decision process. “They often turn to Roman Catholicism to cope with caregiving-related strain,” says Badana. “and different family members and friends may contribute to care provision in different ways, such as financial support, medication management, or transportation.”

“It is a great honor to mentor students like Adrian,” Dr. Andel says. “Dr. Bill Haley, Adrian’s main advisor, presented this idea and Adrian was able to work diligently to write a compelling article. The outcome and response to the article from the Philippines and globally is icing on the cake.”

Badana’s research supporting these ideas is poised to have a substantial impact on older Filipinos. Dr. Andel notes that the response to the article, which has gone viral in the aging studies community worldwide, is unprecedented. On, the article has been the most read publication in the School of Aging Studies for over 8 consecutive months, and it has been one of the top 10 most read publications at USF for 5 months, with over 6,500 reads and rising as of December 2018.

Policy concerning aging Filipinos has a long way to go, according to Badana. “Older Filipinos need more recognition in national policies, and they need to be represented as active members in society. Since the Philippines has many various ethnic groups throughout the provinces, the nation must also identify the different needs of older citizens in these groups and tailor services and programs specifically for them and their families.”