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Blieszner Takes Office as The Gerontological Society of America’s President

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For Immediate Release
December 13, 2013

Contact: Todd Kluss
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(202) 587-2839

Blieszner Takes Office as The Gerontological Society of America’s President

Rosemary Blieszner, PhD, of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) has been installed as the new 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 5,500 researchers, educators, practitioners, and other professionals.

Blieszner assumed this year-long position at GSA’s recent Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans. She is the 70th person to hold the office since the Society was founded in 1945. As president, she will oversee matters of governance and strategic planning while managing the program for GSA’s 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting. She has chosen “Making Connections: From Cells to Societies” as the theme for this conference, which will take place in Washington, DC, from November 5 to 9.

“GSA members conduct important research, teach about aging, provide services to older people and their families, and advocate for older adults in many arenas,” Blieszner said. “I am honored to have the opportunity to help cultivate productive new connections among GSA members and between GSA and other groups working to improve the quality of life in old age.”

At Virginia Tech, Blieszner is an alumni distinguished professor of human development, associate dean of the Graduate School, and associate director of the Center for Gerontology.  Her research focuses on family and friend relationships, life events, and psychological well-being in adulthood and old age.  She has studied the contributions of spirituality to resiliency and how families cope with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment in an old relative. 

“Rosemary is a recognized leader in our field and we look forward to working with her to advance innovation in aging during 2014,” said GSA Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, RPh, MPH. “Her expertise will be a valuable asset in furthering gerontological research, education, and practice.”

Blieszner is coeditor of “Older Adult Friendship: Structure and Process” (Sage, 1989), “Handbook of Aging and the Family” (Greenwood, 1995), and “Handbook of Families and Aging” (2nd ed., Praeger, 2012), and coauthor of “Adult Friendship” (Sage, 1992), “Spiritual Resiliency in Older Women: Models of Strength for Challenges through the Life Span” (Sage, 1999), and “Spiritual Resiliency and Aging: Hope, Relationality, and the Creative Self” (Baywood, 2012). From 2008 to 2011, she was the editor-in-chief of The Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences. She also is author of numerous journal articles.

She received her PhD from The Pennsylvania State University in human development-family studies with an emphasis in adult development and aging. Blieszner is a fellow of GSA, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education, the American Psychological Association (Division 20), and the National Council on Family Relations. She is a previous recipient of Virginia Tech’s Alumni Award for Teaching Excellence, and in 2002 she was named an alumni distinguished professor, a position held by 10 faculty members at the university.

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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 Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

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