Public Release: 

Charon to receive 2014 Gene D. Cohen Award

The Gerontological Society of America

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) have chosen Rita Charon, MD, PhD, of Columbia University as the 2014 recipient of the Gene D. Cohen Research Award in Creativity and Aging.

This award recognizes and honors the seminal work of Gene Cohen, MD, whose research in the field of creativity and aging shifted the conceptual focus from a problem paradigm to one of promise and potential. Cohen inspired individuals to approach longevity asking what wonders can be achieved, not in spite of age, but because of age. The award is presented annually to a professional whose research in the field of creativity and aging demonstrates these positive attributes.

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 for further details.

Charon is a general internist and narratologist at Columbia University who originated the field of narrative medicine. She is the founder and executive director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia. She received an MD from Harvard University in 1978 and a PhD in English from Columbia in 1999, concentrating on the works of Henry James. Her research focuses on the consequences of narrative medicine practice, reflective clinical practice, and health care team effectiveness.

At Columbia, she is a professor of clinical medicine, director of the Narrative and Social Medicine Scholarly Concentration Track, director of Faculty Development for the Division of General Medicine, and director of the Columbia/Macy Interprofessional Education Project. She has served as a visiting professor at many medical schools and universities in the U.S. and abroad, teaching narrative medicine theory and practice.

She has received a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio residency, a Guggenheim fellowship, and research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and several private foundations. She served as co-editor-in-chief of Literature and Medicine from 2000 to 2007. She lectures widely on narrative medicine and is published in such journals of medicine and literary studies as The New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, Annals of Internal Medicine, Narrative, Henry James Review, and Literature and Medicine. She is the author of "Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness" (Oxford University Press, 2006), and co-editor of "Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics" (Routledge, 2002) and "Psychoanalysis and Narrative Medicine" (SUNY Press, 2008).


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.

The National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) was founded in 2001 and is dedicated to fostering an understanding of the vital relationship between creative expression and healthy aging and to developing programs that build on this understanding. Based in Washington, DC, NCCA is a nonprofit with 2,500 members and is affiliated with The George Washington University.

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