Public Release: 

Burnes receives GSA's 2016 Senior Service America Junior Scholar Award

The Gerontological Society of America

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and Senior Service America, Inc., have named David Burnes, BSc, MSW, PhD, of the University of Toronto as the 2016 recipient of the Senior Service America Junior Scholar Award for Research Related to Disadvantaged Older Adults.

This honor acknowledges presentations at the GSA Annual Scientific Meeting that represent exemplary basic or applied research related to the capabilities, contributions, challenges and concerns of disadvantaged older adults, especially those who are low-income and minority group members. The Junior Scholar Award recipient must have less than five years of professional experience after receiving his/her terminal graduate degree.

Burnes was selected for the paper "Varying Appraisals of Elder Mistreatment among Victims: Findings from a Population-Based Study." This study was the first to ask a random sample of older victims about the seriousness of the mistreatment they experienced. The findings have strong implications for how to detect and respond to elder mistreatment.

The award presentation took place at GSA's 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting, which was held November 16 to 20 in New Orleans, Louisiana. This conference fosters interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process. Visit for further details.

Burnes is an assistant professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto and an affiliate scientist at the Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest. He completed a PhD at the Columbia University School of Social Work, concentrating in advanced practice and gerontology.

He teaches and researches primarily in the area of gerontology, specializing on the issue of elder mistreatment in community and long-term care settings. His research focuses on understanding and preventing elder mistreatment, including the development of basic knowledge, problem conceptualization, developing and evaluating evidence-based practices/interventions, and outcome measurement. Current projects include identifying the prevalence and risk factors of elder mistreatment in the community, exploring the process of resident-to-resident aggression in long-term care settings, understanding problem severity, implementing goal attainment scaling to measure the effectiveness of elder mistreatment response programs, and developing new ways to operationalize and measure key elder mistreatment outcomes.

Burnes also has prior practice experience in areas of child protection and adult counselling/psychotherapy and is currently involved in community-based initiatives to intervene on cases of elder mistreatment.


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.

Senior Service America, Inc. (SSAI) is committed to making it possible for low-income and other disadvantaged older adults to participate fully in determining their own future and the future of their communities. For more than 40 years, the organization has operated the federal Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) through a network of local subgrantee organizations. For more information, please visit

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