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Home About Us Press Room Archived Press Releases 2011 Press Releases Whitelaw Installed as The Gerontological Society of America’s President

For Immediate Release
December 16, 2011

Contact: Todd Kluss
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(202) 587-2839

Whitelaw Installed as The Gerontological Society of America’s President

Nancy Whitelaw, PhD, has taken office as the newest president of The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging. She was elected by GSA’s membership, which consists of over 5,400 researchers, educators, and practitioners.

Whitelaw assumed this year-long position at GSA’s recent Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston. She is the 68th person to hold the office since GSA was founded in 1945. As president, she will oversee matters of governance and strategic planning while managing the program for GSA’s 2012 Annual Scientific Meeting. She has chosen “Charting New Frontiers in Aging” as the theme for this conference, which will take place in San Diego from November 14 to 18.

“For more than six decades, GSA and its members have expanded the quality and quantity of gerontological research, disseminating new insights to researchers, practitioners, and opinion leaders, and advancing education in gerontology and geriatrics,” Whitelaw said. “There has never been a more critical time for us to promote the importance of science and rigorous scholarship in addressing the challenges of an aging society.”

Whitelaw currently is the senior fellow at the National Council on Aging (NCOA). She is a nationally recognized leader in the design and implementation of evidence-based health programs for seniors and in strengthening collaboration among aging services, public health, and health care. Her work emphasizes the importance of prevention, self-management, and person-centered care.
“Nancy’s leadership and expertise will be valuable assets during her presidency,” said GSA Executive Director James Appleby, RPh, MPH. “We look forward to a productive year of advancing research, education, and practice in the field of aging.”

Whitelaw has already outlined several goals for her tenure as GSA president.

“During the coming year, we will work to secure additional aging-related research and training funds, and draw greater attention to research translation and the training and workforce needs of an aging society,” she said. “We will foster more engagement from our members, finding better ways to work together to make a difference in the lives of older adults.”

Whitelaw is the recipient of numerous honors in the field, such as NCOA’s Molly Mettler Award in 2004, GSA’s Maxwell A. Pollack Award in 2007, and the Elizabeth Fries Health Education Award in 2009. She holds a PhD in health services organization and policy from the University of Michigan and BA and MS degrees in sociology from Portland State University.


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 5,400+ 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.

Click here for a printable PDF version of this press release.

Mildred M. Seltzer Distinguished Service Recognition

Presented to C. Joanne Grabinski, PhD, Eastern Michigan University, and Mary Alice Wolf, PhD, Saint Joseph University.

This award honors colleagues who are near retirement or recently retired. Recipients are individuals who have been actively involved in AGHE through service on committees, as elected officers, and/or have provided leadership in one of AGHE’s grant-funded projects.

Administrative Leadership Award

Presented to Tammy M. Bray, PhD, Oregon State University

This award honors administrators on AGHE member campuses who have made exceptional efforts in support of gerontology or geriatrics education.

David A. Peterson Gerontology & Geriatrics Education Best Paper of the Volume Award

Presented to Nina M. Silverstein, PhD, University of Massachusetts Boston; Elizabeth Johns, MS, University of Massachusetts Boston; and Judith A. Griffin, MA, MS, University of Massachusetts Boston, for the article “Students Explore Livable Communities.” Honorable mention is given to Emily J. Robbins, MS, Miami University; Jennifer M. Kinney, PhD, Miami University; and Cary S. Kart, PhD, Miami University, for the article “Promoting Active Engagement in Health Research: Lessons Learned from an Undergraduate Gerontology Capstone Course.”

The purpose of this award is to recognize excellence in scholarship in academic gerontology in AGHE’s official journal, Gerontology & Geriatrics Education.

Graduate Student Paper Award

Presented to Deborah Gray, MBA, University of Massachusetts Boston, for the paper “Weight and Wealth: The Relationship between Obesity and Net Worth for Pre-Retirement Age Men and Women.”

This award acknowledges excellence in scholarly work conducted by an AGHE Annual Meeting student attendee.

Book Award for Best Children’s Literature on Aging

Presented to Caitlin Dale Nicholson and Leona Morinn-Nelson for “Niwechihaw/I help” in the primary reader (pre-K to 2nd grade) category, and Ann Grifalconi and Jerry Pickney for “Ain’t Nobody A Stranger to Me” in the elementary reader (3rd to 5th grade) category.

This award recognizes portrayals of meaningful aging in children’s literature.