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Mariana López-Ortega

National Institute of Geriatrics, Mexico

Mariana López-Ortega

I have been working in health policy and health systems research since the year 2001. I currently work as a Researcher in the National Institute of Geriatrics, one of Mexico’s National Institutes of Health, where I have been since the year 2010, almost since its creation.

Before completing my PhD (2005-2009) I worked at the Mexican Health Foundation (Fundación Mexicana para la Salud) (2001-2005), one of the few health “think tanks” in Mexico. Here, I was very fortunate -and am eternally grateful–to collaborate in two projects that defined my future in health policy research in Care and Long-Term Care. First, led by Dr. Knaul, we developed the Case Study for Mexico in the WHO series Long-term care in developing countries: ten case studies (2003). In doing this, we realised that while ageing research and policies were starting in the country, there was a complete lack of LTC policies and very little information on either public or private (profit and not for profit) LTC services. The second project, led by Dr. Nigenda was one of the first studies on unpaid health care by household residents for adults with chronic conditions and/or disability. This was a mixed methods study using the very first time use survey in the country (2002) and a qualitative exploration to investigate the mechanisms used by family members to provide care to other household members with a chronic disease or disability.

Since then, I realised LTC was a highly relevant issue that merited much more research, but also the development and integration of concrete LTC policies both for formal and unpaid carers/services. Still much more to do…


Countries Mexico;
Topics Community-based LTC; Dementia care and support; Economics of LTC; Evaluation of LTC systems and services; Gender and care; Governance and LTC systems organisation; LTC Policy; LTC Reforms; LTC Systems; LTC Workforce; Quality and accreditation for LTC services; Survey measures; Unmet needs; Unpaid / informal care;
Methods Comparative policy analysis; Data science and LTC research; Discrete choice analysis; Document analysis; Ethnography; Mixed methods; Policy analysis; Qualitative studies; Quantitative data analysis; Surveys; Theory of Change;
Role Research;
Interest Groups Employment Education and Family carers; Strengthening Responses to Dementia;
Research interests

Broadly, my research interests include long-term care, dementia care, social support systems for older adults, social and economic determinants of ageing, the value of unpaid care, as well as policies and models of care for older adults.

Key publications

10 most recent

  1. Weidner W, Amour R, Breuer E, Toit PD, Farres R, Franzon AC, Astudillo-García CI, Govia I, Jacobs R, López-Ortega M, Mateus E, Musyimi C, Mutunga E, Muyela L, Palmer T, Pattabiraman M, Ramasamy N, Robinson JN, Knapp M, Comas-Herrera A.(2023). Transforming dementia research into policy change: A case study of the multi-country STRiDE project. Dementia (London); 29:14713012231176324. DOI: 10.1177/14713012231176324 Online ahead of print.      PMID: 37247637
  2. López Ortega M, Astudillo García CI, Farrés R, Gutiérrez Robledo LM. (2023) Health and Social Care System Preparedness for Dementia Care in Mexico: Current Status and Recommendations to Achieve Optimal Care. Dementia (London). 10:14713012231173806. DOI: 10.1177/14713012231173806 Online ahead of print.    PMID: 37164946
  3. Angel JL, López-Ortega M, Chiu CT, Rote SM, Cantu P, Antequera F, Chen CA. (2023) Loss of Autonomy: Likely Dementia and Living Arrangement Transitions among Mexicans and Mexican Americans. Gerontologist. gnad083. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnad083. Online ahead of print.      PMID: 37392451
  4. Breuer E, Freeman E, Alladi S, Breedt M, Govia I, López-Ortega M, Musyimi C, Oliveira D, Pattabiraman M, Sani TP, Schneider M, Swaffer K, Taylor D, Taylor E, Comas-Herrera A. (2022). Active inclusion of people living with dementia in planning for dementia care and services in low- and middle-income countries.  Dementia-London; 21(2): 380-395. DOI:
  5. López-Ortega M, Aguila E. (2022). Non-Contributory Pensions, Functional Limitations, and Unpaid Family Care for Older Adults in Mexico. Journal of Aging and Health; 34(9-10): 1213-1227. DOI: 10.1177/08982643221110093
  6. Barragán-García, M., Ramírez-Aldana, R., López-Ortega, M. et al. Widowhood Status and Cognitive Function in Community-Dwelling Older Adults from the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS). Population Ageing (2021).
  7. Torres, J.M., Mitchell, U.A., Sofrygin, O., Rudolph, K.E., López‐Ortega, M., Sharif, M.Z., Wong, R. and Glymour, M.M. (2021), Associations between spousal caregiving and health among older adults in Mexico: A targeted estimation approach. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry, 36: 775-783.
  8. Mejia-Arango S, Aguila E, López-Ortega M, Gutiérrez-Robledo LM, Vega WA, Andrade FCD, Rote SM, Grasso SM, Markides KS, Angel JL. Health and social correlates of dementia in oldest-old Mexican-origin populations. Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2020 :16;6(1):e12105. DOI: 10.1002/trc2.12105  PMID: 33344751; PMCID: PMC7744026.
  9. Parra-Rodríguez L, González-Meljem JM, Gómez-Dantés H, Gutiérrez-Robledo LM, López-Ortega M, García-Peña C, Medina-Campos RH. The Burden of Disease in Mexican Older Adults: Premature Mortality Challenging a Limited-Resource Health System. J Aging Health. 2020 Aug-Sep;32(7-8):543-553. DOI: 10.1177/0898264319836514 . Epub 2019 Mar 27. PMID: 30913945.
  10. Aguila E, López-Ortega M, Angst S. Do Income Supplemental Programs for Older Adults’ Help Reduce Primary Caregiver Burden? Evidence from Mexico. J Cross Cult Gerontol. 2019 Dec;34(4):385-402. DOI: 10.1007/s10823-019-09374-8 . PMID: 31165322; PMCID: PMC6858514.