The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has chosen Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins University Schools of Nursing and Medicine as the 2014 recipient of the M. Powell Lawton Award.
This distinguished honor recognizes a significant contribution in gerontology that has led to an innovation in gerontological treatment, practice or service, prevention, amelioration of symptoms or barriers, or a public policy change that has led to some practical application that improves the lives of older persons. It is sponsored by the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life's Polisher Research Institute and is named in memory of M. Powell Lawton, PhD, for his outstanding contributions to applied gerontological research.
The award presentation will take place at GSA's 67th Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 5 to 9 in Washington, DC. This conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process. Visit http://www.
At the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Gitlin is founding director of the Center for Innovative Care in Aging, and a professor in the Department of Community-Public Health with joint appointments in the Department of Psychiatry and Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology in the School of Medicine. She also serves as a national co-leader of the Hartford Change AGEnts Initiative.
Gitlin, an applied research sociologist, is nationally and internationally recognized in the areas of nonpharmacologic approaches in dementia care, family caregiving, functional disability, and aging in place. Her work is viewed as a model for non-pharmacological interventions such as Advancing Better Living for Elderes (ABLE), the Tailored Activity Program, Care of Persons with Dementia in their Environment (Project COPE) for older adults and is now widely translated throughout the U.S. and beyond. These various accomplishments have improved the lives of chronically disabled older adults and their family caregivers.
She is a well-funded researcher, having received continuous research and training grants from both federal agencies and private foundations, including the Alzheimer's Association and the National Institutes of Health for over 30 years. Her programs of research include understanding adaptive processes in old age (particularly with the use of assistive devices and environmental modification); psycho-social-environmental approaches to helping older people with physical frailty and dementia age in place; nonpharmacologic approaches to enhancing quality of life of persons with dementia and their family caregivers; mental health disparities in older African Americans and depression treatments; and translating and implementing evidence-based interventions for family caregivers, individuals with dementia, and older adults with functional difficulties.
Gitlin also is a GSA fellow, which represents the Society's highest class of membership.
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society -- and its 5,500+ members -- is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA's structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.