Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing has been chosen as the 2014 recipient of the M. Powell Lawton Award by the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging.

The Lawton Award recognizes a significant contribution in gerontology that has led to an innovation in gerontological treatment, practice or service, prevention, amelioration of symptoms or barriers, or a public policy change that has led to some practical application that improves the lives of older persons. Gitlin will receive the award at the GSA's Annual Scientific Meeting, November 5-9 in Washington, DC.

Gitlin, a GSA fellow, is founding director of the Center for Innovative Care in Aging at Hopkins Nursing and a professor in the Department of Community-Public Health with joint appointments in the Department of Psychiatry and Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology in the School of Medicine. She also serves as a national co-leader of the Hartford Change AGEnts Initiative.

“Dr. Gitlin has made a fabulous contribution to growing gerontology since she has been at Johns Hopkins,” says Dean Patricia M. Davidson, PhD, MEd, RN, FAAN. “We are very proud of her and celebrate this important professional recognition of her stellar science and contribution to improving the lives of older people and their families.”

An applied research sociologist (“I bring to healthcare a social-ecological perspective that views the health of older adults and their families within the context of their everyday lives,” Gitlin says), she is nationally and internationally recognized in the areas of nonpharmacologic approaches in dementia care, family caregiving, functional disability, and aging in place. Her work is viewed as a model for non-pharmacological interventions such as Advancing Better Living for Elders (ABLE), the Tailored Activity Program, Care of Persons with Dementia in their Environment (Project COPE) for older adults and is now widely translated throughout the U.S. and beyond. These various accomplishments have improved the lives of chronically disabled older adults and their family caregivers.

The award is sponsored by the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life's Polisher Research Institute and is named in memory of M. Powell Lawton, PhD, for his outstanding contributions to applied gerontological research.

“I am deeply honored and humbled,” Gitlin says of the award. “My first research position was with Dr. Lawton at the Philadelphia Geriatric Center, and his light still guides me.”


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