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UMBC Center for Aging Studies Researchers Present at World's Top Gerontology Science Conference

17 UMBC Aging Experts to Take Part in Nov. 18-22
Gerontological Society of America Science Meeting

UMBC's Center for Aging Studies will be well-represented this weekend as 17 of its researchers present at the 58th annual scientific meeting of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the world’s largest and most prestigious multidisciplinary scientific conference devoted to gerontological research.

According to Kevin Eckert, dean of the Erickson School of Aging Studies at UMBC, 17 faculty and doctoral student researchers from UMBC’s Center for Aging Studies will present research posters, papers and/or participate in symposiums at the Orlando, FL conference.

“It’s an honor for UMBC to present a significant amount of research at the top scientific meeting of gerontologists in the world,” said Eckert. “We’re especially excited to present research findings on assisted living that include faculty as well as several doctoral students.”

UMBC is building a national reputation for aging studies, thanks to a strong foundation of research built by The Center for Aging Studies. The Center is affiliated with the University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the new Erickson School of Aging Studies at UMBC, which Eckert leads. UMBC also partners with the University of Maryland, Baltimore on an interdisciplinary, multi-campus doctoral program in gerontology, one of a handful nationally.

The GSA meeting was originally scheduled to take place in New Orleans, but was relocated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The conference’s closing session will address the lessons learned from Katrina on how government, communities and families can respond more effectively to the needs of the elderly during natural disasters. The closing session will be moderated by Charles Longino, president of the GSA and the first visiting professor to join the UMBC Erickson School of Aging Studies faculty.

According to Eckert, the highlight of the conference for UMBC will be the Saturday, Nov. 19 symposium, “Interpersonal Dynamics in Assisted Living.” The ethnographic study dispatched interviewers to large and small assisted living facilities across Maryland to speak directly to residents about their experiences. “UMBC researchers will be presenting real stories of family relationships around assisted living decision making, what life is like for residents, what it’s like to work in one and the relationship between residents and physicians in assisted living facilities,” Eckert said.

About the Gerontological Society of America:
Founded in 1945, the GSA’s membership includes some 5,000+ researchers, educators, practitioners, and other professionals in the field of aging. The Society's principal missions are to promote research and education in aging and to encourage the dissemination of research results to other scientists, decision makers, and practitioners.

More information online at:

About the Center for Aging Studies at UMBC:
The Center for Aging Studies is a hub for faculty, undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral research activities on the policy and sociocultural dimensions of aging in the United States. The Center is the administrative and intellectual home for currently funded research (exceeding $5 million) on such topics as long-term care quality, consumer direction, physician/older patient interactions and practice, among others. Working with the doctoral program in Gerontology, housed jointly at UMBC and the University of Maryland Graduate School, Baltimore, the Center has greatly increased the contributions and visibility of UMBC faculty and students on aging-related issues of State and national importance.

About The Erickson School of Aging Studies:
The Erickson School of Aging Studies at UMBC was established in April 2004 with a $5 million commitment from John Erickson, CEO and founder of Erickson. The School’s goal is to become the preeminent resource for education, research and policy on services for the mid-life and older population.
To achieve this vision, the School will expand upon existing strengths at UMBC in public policy, aging and health services research through credit and non-credit educational programs and activities.

UMBC, an Honors University in Maryland, is a four-year, public research university that is home to leading experts on aging who are active in research, education, and service in the field of gerontology. It is one of a handful of universities in the nation to offer a Ph.D. in Gerontology.

More information online at:

Posted: November 17, 2005, 12:00 PM