Dr. Kunkel’s talk focused on the important role that aging experts can play in shaping the well-being of older adults. She described critical problems facing older people, and policy, program, and clinical practice solutions that can lead to improved quality of life.
This presentation included examples of applied research studies that Dr. Kunkel’s team conducted that have informed the design of federal and state programs. She made suggestions for critical issues that experts in aging need to address looking ahead.
Suzanne Kunkel, Ph.D. recently retired from her position as Executive Director of Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center and University Distinguished Professor of Gerontology. Her teaching and research has focused on the demography of aging; links between community-based programs and social needs and risks related to the social determinants of health; the impact of cross-sectoral partnerships on county-level population health measures; evaluation of innovative programs designed to maximize health, dignity, and independence for older adults in all settings; and age-friendly and dementia-capable communities. She has been Principal Investigator or Co-PI on externally-funded projects totaling more than $11 million. Kunkel continues to work on these funded projects in her current role as Senior Research Scholar at Scripps. Dr. Kunkel has served in leadership roles for two national organizations in her field (Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and Gerontological Society of America), and currently serves on boards and committees for local, state, and national organizations providing housing and services for older adults.