Morrow-Howell Takes Office as The Gerontological Society of America’s President

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2015

Contact: Todd Kluss
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Nancy Morrow-Howell, MSW, PhD, of Washington University in St. Louis 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.

Morrow-Howell assumed this year-long position at GSA’s recent Annual Scientific Meeting in Orlando, Florida. She is the 72nd 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 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting. She has chosen “New Lens on Aging: Changing Attitudes, Expanding Possibilities” as the theme for this conference, which will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, from November 16 to 20.

“This theme reflects my scholarly interest in productive engagement in later life as well as my ongoing concern about ageism,” Morrow-Howell said. “As GSA president, I hope to encourage work that changes ageist attitudes that limit the potential of late life, that undermine our efforts to promote healthy aging, and that thwart the development of age-inclusive communities.”

Morrow-Howell holds the Bettie Bofinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy Chair and is the director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at Washington University in St. Louis, where she has been on the faculty at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University since 1987.

Morrow-Howell is a widely known for her work on productive and civic engagement of older adults. She is editor of the book “Productive Aging,” published by Johns Hopkins University Press. With support from The Retirement Research Foundation, The Metlife Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, and the National Institute on Aging, she explores strategies to maximize the engagement of older adults in productive roles.  

Her research has contributed to understanding about programs, policies, and institutional arrangements that maximize the productive engagement of older adults while promoting positive outcomes for the individuals themselves. Morrow-Howell’s work has documented outcomes for individual, families, and communities associated with expanding work, volunteering, civic service, and caregiving by older adults. She has received international attention as societies across the globe are responding to population aging.

“Throughout her distinguished career, Nancy has been at the forefront of new areas in the study of aging — not only productive aging, but more recently, senior entrepreneurship, social inclusion, and ageism as well,” said GSA Executive Director and CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH. “Given her expertise, we look forward to her leadership as GSA participates in larger, nation-wide efforts to create a better public understanding of older adults’ needs and contributions to society.”

At the Brown School, she teaches gerontology courses as well as research methods. She has held many leadership positions, including directing the master’s gerontology curriculum and chairing the PhD program. At Washington University, she is the McDonnell International Scholars Academy Ambassador to the University of Hong Kong. And as director of the university’s Center for Aging, she promotes gerontological research and education across disciplines, schools, and departments

Morrow-Howell is a GSA fellow; a past chair of GSA’s Social Research, Policy, and Practice Section; and a past-vice president of the Association for Gerontological Education in Social Work. She was actively involved with the John A. Hartford Geriatric Social Work Initiative. She has served as editor of the Practice Concepts section of The Gerontologist under two different editorships, and she is on the editorial board of several top journals in gerontology. Morrow-Howell has received both the Washington University Distinguished Faculty Award and the Brown School’s Outstanding Faculty Award; and in 2008 and 2011, she was given the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award by Washington University. She was the recipient of the 2011 Career Achievement Award from the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work and of the 2013 Distinguished Career Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research. Morrow-Howell completed her PhD in Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley.


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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