Alicia and Yaya Fellowship Program

Alicia and Yaya Initiative in Global Aging Research Faculty Exchange Fellows are UCR and UMB faculty members with an established record of research in aging or a related field who will use the Fellowship to conduct research at the partner institution as part of a collaborative research team or using shared data and resources. Fellows are provided with stipends to support airfare, lodging, and living expenses for periods ranging from one week to a year. Participation in a workshop or conference at the partner site can qualify.

Carolina Santamaria-Ulloa, PhD
Full Professor and Researcher
Universidad de Costa Rica, Health Research Institute

Dr. Santamaria-Ulloa is a Researcher of the Institute for Health Research, Full Professor at the Human Nutrition Department and the Public Health and Medical Specialties Graduate Programs, all at the Universidad de Costa Rica. During her Fellowship, she will be working with Dr. Amanda Lehning, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Together they will compare the determinants of health inequalities in the elderly populations of Costa Rica and the United States.

Watch Dr. Santamaria-Ulloa's talk on "Health Outcomes in Costa Rican Older Adults: The Role of Obesity and Stress."

Denise Orwig, PhD
Professor, Epidemiology & Public Health
University of Maryland Baltimore School of Medicine

Dr. Orwig will participate as an invited guest and speaker at the VIII International Congress in Gerontology on the UCR campus in July 2023.

AYY Fellows are graduate and professional students, pre-doctoral and post-doctoral researchers, selected to study at the University of Maryland Baltimore or University of Costa Rica in individualized programs that include courses, mentoring, and participation in research programs. Selected Fellows receive financial support to cover airfare, housing, and tuition. In the case of Costa Rican participants, Fellows are hired as Research Fellows by UMB and receive a stipend and health insurance.

Universidad de Costa Rica

Ericka Méndez-Chacón, MSc.

A Full Professor and Researcher in UCR's Statistics Department, Dr. Méndez-Chacón will compare determinants of health inequalities in elderly populations of Costa Rica and the United States.

Monica Valeria Cortes Ortiz

A former Research Trainee at UCR's Health Research Institute, Mónica will investigate interplay between dietary, genetic, and environmental factors in relation to aging and different complex diseases in older adults.


University of Maryland School of Medicine

A group of UMB students pose with Costa Ricans inside a room.

  • Lillianna Pedersen
  • Alexis Vetack
  • Shania Bailey
  • Hima Konduru
  • Melissa Rallo
  • Christine Wan
  • Nicholas Leahy

Project: Healthy Aging in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is experiencing a rapid aging process due to increased life expectancy and declining birth rates. Coto Brus, a rural municipality in the country, is no exception. This project aims to understand the aging and demographic transition process in Coto Brus and identify opportunities for future interventions.