News Release

Bengtson, Harris, Putney, Sabbath, Mejia-Guevara, Glymour, Berkman to receive GSA's Kalish Awards

Grant and Award Announcement

The Gerontological Society of America

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has named the following individuals as 2015 recipients of the Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Awards: Vern L. Bengtson, PhD, of the University of Southern California; Susan C. Harris, PhD, of the University of Southern California; and Norella Putney, PhD, University of Southern California; Erika L. Sabbath, ScD, of Boston College; Iván Mejía-Guevara, PhD, of Harvard University; M. Maria Glymour, ScD, of the University of California, San Francisco; and Lisa F. Berkman, PhD, of Harvard University.

These distinguished honors recognize insightful and innovative publications on aging and life course development in the behavioral and social sciences. There are two awards -- one in the book category and one in the article category -- underwritten by the Baywood Publishing Company and named after social psychologist Richard Kalish, PhD. Any empirical or conceptual publication that represents state-of-the-art thinking in aging and life course development is eligible for the awards, provided it is in English and was published in the last three years.

The award presentation will take place at GSA's 68th Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 18 to 22 in Orlando, Florida. This conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process. Visit for further details.

Bengtson, Putney, and Harris earned the Kalish Award in the book category for "Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down Across Generations," published by Oxford University Press. This publication is anchored in groundbreaking multigenerational and longitudinal research that yields critical insights for the sociology of the family, religion, aging, and the life course. It has also garnered an unusual amount of public attention, including feature stories in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many public broadcasting networks. The book reveals how religious values are -- and are not -- transmitted across generations during a period of massive cultural change.

Sabbath, Mejía-Guevara, Glymour, and Berkman earned the Kalish Award in the article category for "Use of Life Course Work-Family Profiles to Predict Mortality Risk among U.S. Women," which appeared in the American Journal of Public Health. This paper uses sequence analysis, an emerging life course exposure assessment technique, to test whether lifetime combined trajectories of work, marriage, and childbearing are associated with mortality risk among older women. To date, the majority of life course studies have classified people by their exposure status at a given point in time and then tracked their subsequent experiences and their health over time. This study turns that model on its head and asks whether the trajectory of the development of an exposure -- work and family demands across one's lifetime -- predicts all-cause mortality before age 75.


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.

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