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Johns Hopkins School of Nursing Faculty Sarah Szanton to Become Director of the Center for Innovative Care in Aging


Sarah L. Szanton, PhD, ANP, FAAN, professor and director of the PhD program at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON), has been named director of the school’s Center for Innovative Care in Aging. She will begin her role in February 2018, assuming the position from Laura Gitlin, PhD, who has recently been appointed Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University.

“This is an exciting transition and opportunity for both of these stellar faculty members,” says Patricia Davidson, PhD, MEd, RN, FAAN, dean of JHSON. “Dr. Gitlin, who has provided visionary leadership in advancing interprofessional programs around aging, has been instrumental in positioning our school’s aging specialty as top in the nation. She has created a solid foundation on which more research and practice can be built, and her leadership and interprofessional approach will make her an excellent dean.”

Gitlin, who was founding director of the Center for Innovative Care in Aging in 2011, will begin her new position at Drexel on February 1, 2018.

“Dr. Szanton is a rising leader nationally and across the globe for her research and innovative solutions for aging populations.  We are excited for her to be the next leader of our center,” continues Davidson.

As an expert researcher and practitioner in gerontology and aging in place, Szanton has served as associate director for policy within the Center for Innovative Care in Aging since 2015. She holds joint appointments within Johns Hopkins and is adjunct faculty for international universities including the American University of Beirut and the University of Technology, Sydney. In her new role, Szanton will oversee and lead the Center’s efforts in advancing and supporting the well-being of older adults and their families using novel and innovative approaches, policies, and practices.

Through her Community Aging in Place—Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) program, which combines home visits from a nurse, occupational therapist, and handyman, Szanton helps equip low-income older adults to live more comfortably and safely in their homes. The program has helped decrease disability, depression, and improve self care for participants and has expanded to thirteen cities in eight States.

With her background in policy, Szanton uses her research to inform policymakers to alternative, cost-effective solutions to save taxpayer dollars while strengthening the health and well-being of older adults. In addition, she is piloting strategies for preventing falls among older adults and studying how food and energy access impact health outcomes.

Szanton has received the Edgerunner Award from the American Academy of Nursing, the Protégé Award from the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research, the Baltimore Business Journal Health Care Innovator award, and has been named a top influencer in aging by Next Avenue.

“Older adults are the fastest growing natural resource in this country. I look forward to continuing my work with them through my new role in the Center,” says Szanton. “Being a Dean is a perfect fit for Dr. Gitlin. She is a visionary leader who will continue to improve the lives of Americans through transformative research to practice initiatives.” 


Located in Baltimore, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is a globally-recognized leader in nursing education, research and practice and ranks No. 2 nationally among graduate schools of nursing and No. 2 for DNP programs in the U.S. News & World Report 2018 rankings. In addition, the school is ranked by QS World University as the No. 2 nursing school in the world and is No.1 by College Choice for its master’s program. The school is No. 1 among nursing schools for total Federal Research Grants and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. For more information, visit www.nursing.jhu.edu.

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