News Release

Whitfield to receive GSA's 2015 Minority Mentorship Award

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 chosen Keith Whitfield, PhD, of Duke University as the 2015 recipient of the Minority Issues in Gerontology Committee Outstanding Mentorship Award.

This distinguished honor is given annually to an individual who has exemplified outstanding commitment and dedication to mentoring minority researchers in the field of aging.

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.

At Duke University, Whitfield is the vice provost for academic affairs; a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience; a senior fellow in the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development; a research professor of medicine in the Department of Geriatrics, co-director of the Center on Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research; and a professor in the Department of African and African American Studies.

He has mentored numerous colleagues in the fields of clinical psychology, geropsychology, nursing, public health, and human development and family studies for more than 20 years. In 2013, he co-developed The Mentoring Effect, a special project of the GSA Innovation Fund. This is a three-year special development effort that will raise funds to exclusively support mentorship within the Society. He was also the architect of GSA's speed mentoring program and has written on mentoring gerontology students and faculty.

Whitfield's other career achievements include the development of a program of research focused on examining issues of health and cognitive aging among African Americans. He has two longitudinal studies on aging -- one comparing twins in North Carolina, which was among the first to study genes and environmental influences together as they interact to affect the health of minorities; and the other profiling individuals in Baltimore, Maryland, which is one of the most comprehensive studies of different cognitive abilities in African Americans. One of his most recent scholarly contributions was as a co-editor of the "Handbook on Minority Aging," whose editorial staff consisted of junior and senior collaborators for each section of the book.

Whitfield is a GSA fellow, which represents the Society's highest class of membership, and was the 2010 recipient of the Distinguished Mentorship in Gerontology Award from GSA's Behavioral and Social Sciences Section, of which he is a former chair.


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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