Jihye Baek grew up in Seoul, South Korea, and completed her B.A. in Social Welfare with a minor in Public Administration at Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul. She came to the U.S. in 2017 and earned her MSW from Washington University in St. Louis in 2019, focusing on gerontology.
While she was a master’s student, she participated in various research projects as a research assistant and coordinated primary data collection from multiple low-income senior housing facilities. There, she was inspired by active residents who enjoyed their later life and stayed independent in their communities.
After graduation, she worked as a social worker at multiple social service organizations in St. Louis and Seoul. By interacting with older adults from various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, she became interested in the role of social and health services for older adults, especially the socioeconomically marginalized groups. While working as a social worker at a senior community welfare center, she focused on initial assessments of frail older adults and service coordination based on their multifaceted needs. Additionally, she took charge of a community care project in Mapo district in Seoul, investigating the social and housing-related needs of vulnerable older adults.
Based on her professional trajectory, her research interests lie in examining protective/risk factors of loneliness among vulnerable older populations, such as solo agers and minority older adults, focusing on the role of social service and technology. Also, she is interested in integrating social and health services and providing seamless community or housing-based services to older adults to support their independent and healthy living.
Little Known Facts: She enjoys weight training with her spouse. She loves coffee and wine.
- Program: PhD in Social Work Student
- Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Areas of Focus:
- Loneliness and social isolation; solo agers; minority older adults
- Aging in place; Housing and neighborhood; Continuum of care
- Social & health service integration and delivery; Technology in aging