The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) — the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — has chosen Luigi Ferrucci, MD, PhD, FGSA, of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), as the 2021 recipient of the Donald P. Kent Award.
This distinguished honor is given annually to a GSA member who best exemplifies the highest standards for professional leadership in gerontology through teaching, service, and interpretation of gerontology to the larger society. It was established in 1973 in memory of Donald P. Kent, PhD, for his outstanding leadership in translating research findings into practical use.
The award presentation will take place at GSA’s 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 10 to 13 in Phoenix, Arizona. This conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process.
Ferrucci, currently the NIA scientific director, is a geriatrician and an epidemiologist who conducts research on the causal pathways leading to progressive physical and cognitive decline in older persons. He also holds adjunct professor positions in the University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine and the Johns Hopkins Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. He is also the chief of the Longitudinal Studies Section at NIA and the director of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging (BLSA).
He has made major contributions in the design of many epidemiological studies conducted in the U.S. and in Europe, including the European Longitudinal Study on Aging, the AKEA study of Centenarians in Sardinia, and the Women’s Health and Aging Study. He was also the Principal Investigator of the InCHIANTI study, a longitudinal study conducted in the Chianti Geographical area (Tuscany, Italy) looking at risk factors for mobility disability in older persons. Dr. Ferrucci is currently refining the design of the BLSA to focus more on normal aging and the development of age-associated frailty.
Additionally, Ferrucci has become one of the most well-known and cited authors in the field, with more than 1,000 authored publications since he joined NIA in 2002. He also has served as a mentor to dozens of predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. He is a GSA fellow, which represents the highest category of membership within the Society. Ferrucci also earned the Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award from GSA’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Section in 2016 and the Joseph T. Freeman Award from GSA’s Health Sciences Section in 2011, and served as editor-in-chief for the medical sciences section of GSA’s The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences from 2005 to 2011. Among his many other honors, he received the NIH Director’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring in 2005 and 2013, and the Fondation IPSEN Longevity Prize in 2014.
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.