In the News

CALC Faculty Associate Shirley Rietdyk and team examine what causes young adults to fall on stairs.

July 26, 2023


Neglecting to look at one's feet while going down the stairs is a particular indicator of risk.


CALC director Ken Ferraro recognized with Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology award.

July 13, 2023


The Gerontological Society of America Behavioral and Social Sciences Section named Dr. Ferraro the 2023 recipient of this prestigious award.


CALC Faculty Associate Marian Liu selected as 2023-24 Health and Aging Policy Fellow.

July 7, 2023


The fellowship focuses on shaping policy for older Americans.


CALC Faculty Associate Jason Cannon talks about “forever chemicals” in our blood.

July 6, 2023


PFAS are found in our water sources, posing health dangers.


CALC Faculty Associate Robbee Wedow is leading the way in Purdue's new sociogenomics focus.

June 29, 2023


Dr. Wedow investigates how genes interact with the environment to affect complex human behavior


CALC Faculty Associates named to new positions in the Purdue Office of Research.

June 27, 2023


Dr. Jennifer Freeman and Dr. Pretti Sivasankar appointed to Assistant Vice President roles.


Wei-Lin Xue and Marian Liu investigate the theft of medications in long-term care facilities.

May 10, 2023


Drug theft in healthcare facilities is an ongoing issue that can lead to patient harm.


CALC Faculty Associate Jiayun Xu facilitates end-of-life planning for patients with Parkinson's disease.

April 19, 2023


Evidence-based advance planning may result in better end-of-life care.


Robbee Wedow and Callie Zaborenko discuss Purdue's new sociogenomics research group.

March 29, 2023


Sociogenomics is a new field that aims to explain the ways gene expression is determined by outside factors.


CALC Faculty Associate Brandon Pitts featured in The Line by PRF.

March 9, 2023


Pitts shares personal and professional insights with Purdue Research Foundation readers.


Purdue Researchers investigate best times to eat and exercise.

February 28, 2023


Libby Richards examines temporal nutrition intake and optimal times for physical activity.


CALC Faculty Associate Ellen Ernst Kossek appointed to expert committee.

February 16, 2023


Ellen Ernst Kossek, the Basil S. Turner University Distinguished Professor of Management, has been appointed to an expert committee by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.


CALC Faculty Associate named director of the Center for Families.

January 31, 2023


Melissa Franks, PhD, steps into new role with the esteemed research and engagement entity.


Team led by CALC Faculty Associate Brandon Pitts wins award in DOT Inclusive Design Challenge.

November 10, 2022


A team of Purdue engineering professors was named the winner of the $1 million 1st place prize on July 26 in the 2020 U.S. Department of Transportation Inclusive Design Challenge.


CALC Faculty Associate Libby Richards is quoted in article on COVID-19 bivalent booster.

October 3, 2022


The new bivalent COVID-19 booster protects against versions of the omicron variant.


CALC Faculty Associate Libby Richards pens article for The Conversation on the new COVID-19 booster and the flu shot.

September 26, 2022


With the newly formulated COVID-19 booster shot now available and flu season just around the corner, a natural question is whether there is an optimal timing for the two shots.


CALC Faculty Associate Shawn Bauldry pens article on the effects of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.

July 11, 2022


9 million Americans have lost a close relative to COVID-19, with far-reaching effects on mental and physical health.


CALC Faculty Associate Marian Liu’s article on elder abuse featured in The Conversation.

June 15, 2022


Elder abuse comes in many forms. Adult Protective Services can help.


CALC Faculty Associate Patti Thomas named GSA Fellow.

June 2, 2022


Dr. Patti Thomas was named a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. Dr. Thomas is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology.


CALC Faculty Associate Rosie Shrout appears on The Academic Minute podcast.

May 12, 2022


Dr. Rosie Shrout was featured on The Academic Minute podcast, speaking on “Stress is Contagious in Relationships.” Dr. Shrout is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science.


CALC Faculty Associate Nasreen Lalani recognized with Steps to Leaps award.

March 23, 2022


The Steps to Leaps Excellence in Research Award was presented to Nasreen Lalani, assistant professor of nursing. The award is given to a researcher or team whose published work exemplifies efforts to expand the understanding of one or more of the Steps to Leaps pillars.


CALC graduate student Yifei Hou recognized as ASA Emerging Scholar.

March 17, 2022


Yifei Hou was recognized as an Emerging Scholar by the American Sociological Association Section on Aging and the Life Course.


Dual-title PhD student receives grant from the Center for Craft for dissertation research.

January 26, 2022


Rebecca-Eli Long has received a Project Grant from the Center for Craft for their research on participatory textile-making to explore autistic “special interests” and address narrative injustice.


CALC Faculty Associate Shirley Rietdyk weighs in on the frequency of and dangers of falls among young and older adults.

January 19, 2022


Falling may be funny to some, but is really a serious public health problem. How does propensity to fall manifest over the life course?


CALC Faculty Associate Libby Richards shares her story of pandemic-inspired walking routine.

January 12, 2022


Dr. Richards began a walking practice to seek solitude during the pandemic, and has found it be a beneficial habit.


CALC Faculty Associate Ellen Ernst Kossek weighs in on unlimited paid time off benefit.

January 11, 2022


Ellen Ernst Kossek discusses “dual centric” employees and the trend towards unlimited paid time off.


CALC Faculty Associate Marian Liu weighs in on Covid-testing site schemes.

January 8, 2022


Many pop-up testing sites are currently unregulated and may be rife for scams and identity theft.


CALC Faculty Associate Ellen Ernst Kossek receives Lu Ann Aday Award.

October 21, 2021


Professor Ellen Ernst Kossek is the Basil S. Turner Distinguished Professor of Management in the Krannert School of Management. She was nominated by her peers and chosen by university president Mitch Daniels to be given the 2021 Lu Ann Aday Award. ARTICLE

CALC Faculty Associate Nadia Brashier speaks about misinformation in the media.

September 8, 2021


Nadia Brashier is interviewed for The New Normal about the spread of misinformation and how to spot it. ARTICLE

CALC Faculty Associate Georgia Malandraki named ASHA fellow.

July 16, 2021


Associate Professor of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences Georgia Malandraki honored with fellowship of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.


CALC Faculty Associate Jessica Huber honored with Walk the Talk award.

July 15, 2021


The Walk the Talk award recognizes outstanding dedication to Purdue University’s Statement of Integrity and Code of Conduct.


CALC Director Ken Ferraro wins Kleemeier Award.

July 1, 2021


The Gerontological Society of America has honored Ken Ferraro with the Kleemeier Award for outstanding research in the field of gerontology.


CALC Faculty Associate Ellen Ernst Kossek named Distinguished Professor.

June 14, 2021


Purdue Board of Trustees approves naming Kossek Distinguished Professor of Management.


CALC Faculty Associate Min Zhang uses data science techniques to understand the genetics and cellular biology of cancer cells.

June 14, 2021


Zhang and collaborators developed machine-learning methods to study ways that the genes regulate each other on a genomewide scale as cancer progresses.


CALC Faculty Associate Libby Richards explains why many vaccinations are given in the arm.

May 27, 2021


Millions have rolled up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine, but why haven’t they rolled up their pants legs instead? Why do we get most shots in our arms?


Research on young people’s falling patterns informs research on falls among the older adult population.

May 21, 2021


New research reveals that young adults’ sex, number of prescription medications, and amount of physical activity have a significant effect on their falling patterns, which have previously received scant study.


Balance Rehabilitation for Older Adults course integrates telehealth procedures.

May 20, 2021


Undergraduates considering careers in rehabilitation sciences are still able to receive valuable, hands-on career training thanks to innovative telehealth methods.


CALC Alumna Mary Marshall honored with Online Excellence award.

May 11, 2021


The Purdue Office of Engagement has recognized Dr. Marshall and a team of researchers with the Online Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning award.


CALC Faculty Associate Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth honored with award from Office of Engagement.

May 5, 2021


Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth received the Corps of Engagement award from the Purdue Office of Engagement for the Families Tackling Tough Times Together initiative.


CALC researchers find reduction in walking speed when partners walk together.

April 5, 2021


A new study by Purdue University nursing, health and kinesiology, and human development and family science researchers shows that couples often decreased their speed when walking together. Speed further decreased if they were holding hands.


CALC Faculty Associate Wei Zheng receives Society of Toxicology award.

March 1, 2021


Wei Zheng, professor of health sciences & toxicology, has been chosen by the Society of Toxicology to receive its 2021 Education Award due to his significant contributions as an educator, researcher, and mentor to other toxicologists.


Libby Richards talks about why winter weather makes it easier to catch a cold or flu.

January 7, 2021


Being cold isn't why you get a cold. But it is true that cold weather makes it easier to get the cold or flu. It is still too early to tell how weather impacts the Covid-19 virus, but scientists are starting to think it behaves differently than cold and flu viruses.


CALC Faculty Associate Preeti Sivasankar advises on vocal health during winter and the pandemic.

December 4, 2020


Sivasankar said people with voice problems should continue to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic and take extra care with the onset of cold weather, flu season, and low humidity, all of which negatively affect the vocal folds.


SpeechVive, Inc. makes remote technology available for free during pandemic.

November 23, 2020


SpeechVive, Inc., a company formed by CALC Faculty Associate Jessica Huber, has made its remote technology available for free to all speech-language pathologists and their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The technology helps people with Parkinson's disease with speech volume and clarity.


CALC Faculty Associate Jennifer Freeman quoted in article on atrazine and mammalian endocrine systems.

November 4, 2020


A study published in August in the journal Reproduction, Fertility and Development found that atrazine impaired genital development of tammar wallabies, an Australian marsupial in the same family as kangaroos.


CALC Faculty Associate Vicki Simpson named Scholarship of Engagement Fellow.

October 23, 2020


The purpose of the program is to promote faculty development of scholarship of engagement throughout the Purdue system in support of the promotion and tenure process.


Kelley named editor-in-chief of top-ranked journal.

October 7, 2020


CALC Alumna Jessica Kelley has been named the editor-in-chief of The Journal of Gerontology, Series B: Social Sciences. The journal, with an impact factor of 3.502, is currently ranked third out of 36 titles in the gerontology category of Journal Citation Reports: Social Sciences Edition. Congratulations on this notable achievement!

CALC Alumna Tetyana Shippee named Associate Dir. of Research at U of MN Center for Healthy Aging and Innovation.

September 25, 2020


The new Center for Healthy Aging and Innovation (CHAI) seeks to foster interdisciplinary, community-engaged approaches to support students, researchers, and the community when addressing critical issues related to aging.


Georgia Malandraki and Jessica Huber awarded COVID-19 Rapid Response grant.

September 18, 2020


CALC Faculty Associates Georgia Malandraki and Jessica Huber were awarded one of the Purdue University College of Health and Human Sciences COVID-19 Rapid Response grants to investigate telehealth for the management of dysphagia during COVID-19 and beyond.

CALC Faculty Associate Nasreen Lalani offers tips to maintain mental and spiritual well-being.

August 28, 2020


As students adjust to being on campus, a Purdue nursing professor is encouraging ways to find harmony and peace while living and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.


CALC Faculty Associate Libby Richards explains why the flu shot is important this year.

August 25, 2020


With the coronavirus still spreading widely, it’s time to start thinking seriously about influenza, which typically spreads in fall and winter. A major flu outbreak would not only overwhelm hospitals this fall and winter, but also likely overwhelm a person who might contract both at once.


Tying Adult Protective Services Practice to Outcomes.

August 18, 2020


Faculty Associate Marian Liu's interview with ASA regarding research on Adult Protective Services.


CALC Faculty Associate Kathy Abrahamson named Distinguished Nurse Leader by the American Academy of Nursing.

August 14, 2020


Abrahamson has been selected as a distinguished nurse leader by the American Academy of Nursing and will be inducted as a fellow of the academy in October.


CALC Faculty Associate Libby Richards answers questions about COVID-19 and herd immunity.

August 7, 2020


Herd immunity is essential to stopping the spread of the coronavirus. But what exactly is it and when will we get there?


SpeechVive raises over $1.5 million in investor funding.

July 14, 2020


CALC Faculty Associate Jessica Huber's company, SpeechVive, has raised over $1.5 million in investor funding, which will allow the company to scale up its wearable device for people with Parkinson's disease.


University News Service features CALC Faculty Associate Georgia Malandraki.

July 13, 2020


Georgia Malandraki, associate professor of speech, language, and hearing sciences at Purdue University, is uncovering the relationship between the brain and swallowing to develop treatments for children and adults who have difficulty swallowing. This condition, also known as dysphagia, affects 10 million adults and more than a half million children in the United States every year.


CALC Faculty Associate Wayne Campbell explores the links between diet and fatigue in older adults.

July 10, 2020


Fatigue, particularly among older adults, has become a common complaint in doctors' offices or clinics. "From an 'energetic' standpoint, nutrition is one of the most helpful modifiable behaviors that can help an older person feel better," Wayne Campbell, a nutrition science professor at Purdue University in Indiana, said.


CALC Faculty Associate Marian Liu has developed a new assessment tool for Adult Protective Services caseworkers.

June 15, 2020


Liu's assessment will help caseworkers to more quickly identify and intervene in cases of elder self-neglect.


CALC Faculty Associate Libby Richards wins Kinley Trust Award.

June 12, 2020


The Clifford B. Kinley Trust competition funds up to $20,000 for one-year projects that use a social science perspective to explore methods for improving the human condition.


CALC Faculty Associate Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth named Distinguished Professor.

June 12, 2020


The Purdue Board of Trustees names MacDermid Wadsworth Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Science.


CALC Faculty Associate Shawn Bauldry has won the Southern Sociological Society's 2020 Junior Scholar Award.

June 8, 2020


Members of the SSS whose scholarly work demonstrates career promise and who are making a significant contribution to the field are eligible for this award.


CALC Faculty Associate Ellen Kossek offers advice for those working remotely and the need for flexible staffing strategies and paid leave.

June 3, 2020


In Episode 10 of the This is Purdue podcast, Kossek gives advice to listeners on working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, and emphasizes the need for paid sick time across the board.


CALC Faculty Associate Jiayun Xu provides tips on safely caring for and connecting with older adults during the pandemic.

May 27, 2020


Jiayun Xu, an assistant professor who specializes in chronic disease management and family caregiving in the College of Health and Human Sciences, encourages adults to have a plan in place in case emergency care is needed.


CALC Faculty Associate Ellen Kossek has received the Ellen Galinsky Generative Researcher Award from the Work Family Researchers Network.

May 11, 2020


This award recognizes a work-family researcher or research team who have/has contributed breakthrough thinking to the work-family field via theory, measures, and/or data sets that led to expansive application, innovation, and diffusion, including the sharing of research opportunity in the spirit of open science.


CALC Director Ken Ferraro wins Morrill Award.

May 8, 2020


The Morrill Award was initiated in 2012 to honor the Morrill Act of 1862, which allowed for the establishment of land-grant colleges and universities. The award is the highest honor that Purdue confers on a member of its faculty.


CALC Faculty Associate Georgia Malandraki employed innovative methods to move a graduate-level course in swallowing disorders online during the COVID-19 crisis.

May 4, 2020


In addition to taking lectures and tests online, Dr. Malandraki also created virtual patients with which students could interact. Dr. Malandraki's approach exemplifies the way Purdue faculty have risen to the challenges posed by the pandemic and continue to deliver a world-class educational experience.


CALC Faculty Associate Georgia Malandraki's I-EaT Swallowing Research Lab releases telehealth recommendations for the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 24, 2020


Today, we face a situation where medical care is rapidly adapting to try and address this unprecedented pandemic and save as many lives as possible. Dysphagia care needs to adapt accordingly, and unfortunately this has to be done while legal, reimbursement, and practical guidelines and policies continue to evolve and change. The use of telehealth, when based on current evidence-based practice and conducted ethically and with established guidelines, can allow our profession to continue offering some of our services using this valuable service delivery modality.


Research by CALC Faculty Associate Jill Suitor finds that siblings are often wrong about which child is mom's favorite.

April 21, 2020


Families rarely talk about this, but research shows that many parents do, in fact, have a favorite and least favorite child. And more often than not, their kids are wrong about who is who.


CALC Faculty Associate Marian Liu on scams related to the COVID-19 threat and how older adults may be targeted.

April 1, 2020


Face it, we're stuck at home, fearful of how the coronavirus pandemic could take away our loved ones, and ever so eager to latch onto quick solutions.

Think of the situation like an unlocked car with a tank full of gas and the keys left in the ignition. What crook wouldn't be tempted?


CALC Faculty Associate Libby Richards shares information on conditions that lead to higher likelihood of serious illness or death resulting from COVID-19 infections.

March 25, 2020


"People who have diabetes also tend to have other underlying complications unless it's beautifully managed which isn't typically the case," says Libby Richards, PhD, RN, associate professor at Purdue University School of Nursing in West Lafayette, Indiana. "Your body is already under stress. That just decreases your ability to fight infection."


Libby Richards talks about an AP poll measuring the population's level of concern about Coronavirus.

March 23, 2020


Two-thirds of Americans are now saying they’re at least somewhat concerned about contracting the coronavirus illness, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.


CALC Faculty Associate Libby Richards advises on ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.

March 20, 2020


Gaining control of the COVID-19 pandemic and stopping the spread of the virus is highly dependent upon the cooperation of the general public.


Steve Amireault receives the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Trailblazer Award.

February 13, 2020


CALC Faculty Associate Steve Amireault has received the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Trailblazer Award. The award funds work with Purdue Extension and rural communities in Indiana to evaluate the efficacy of 'A Matter of Balance' - a fall prevention and physical activity promotion program. See more about the work of Dr. Amireault and the Physical Activity Psychology Lab here.

CALC Faculty Associate Jason Cannon finds that “forever chemicals” are potentially neurotoxic.

February 4, 2020


Some man-made chemicals may stay in the body and environment forever. Jason Cannon studies how these chemicals affect the body throughout the years.


Qinglan Ding discusses health care costs for older adults with OSA.

January 28, 2020


CALC Faculty Associate Qinglan Ding wrote an introduction in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine for a study examining health care utilization and costs for Medicare beneficiaries with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).


Being kind has health benefits.

January 21, 2020


Research by CALC Director Kenneth Ferraro and CALC alumna Seoyoun Kim is cited in this article about the benefits of selfless acts. Dr. Ferraro and Dr. Kim examined the effect of volunteering on reducing inflammation in later life.


Brandon Pitts & team awarded $5.5M for human-machine interaction research by NSF

January 8, 2020


CALC Faculty Associate and NHanCE Lab Director, Professor Brandon Pitts, is part of a multi-institute, collaborative research team that was awarded $5.5 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a five-year project that will study the process that people undergo when learning to perform a new complex task and will develop automation strategies to help hasten the learning curve. Participation of senior individuals will be key for this work, given the wide variability in learning styles and processes across different age groups.


Libby Richards shares tips on how to meet your exercise goals

January 6, 2020


Did you make a resolution to be more active in the new year? CALC Faculty Associate Libby Richards says small increases in physical activity can make a big difference.


Curasis LLC develops new wearable device for people with swallowing disorders.

December 18, 2019


Company co-founded by CALC Faculty Associate Georgia Malandraki is in the process of commercializing an affordable treatment for millions of people with dysphagia.


CALC Faculty Associate Wayne Campbell sheds light on dietary protein requirements and benefits.

December 3, 2019


CALC Faculty Associate Wayne Campbell's lab has found that the recommended daily allowance of protein is adequate for most people. However, eating more than the daily recommended amount of protein benefits those who are dieting or strength-training.


SpeechVive selected for Purdue Foundry’s Double Down Experiment.

October 24, 2019


SpeechVive, founded by CALC Faculty Associate Jessica Huber, has been chosen from more than 250 companies for a business acceleration program.


Nancy Edwards, CALC alumna and faculty associate, has developed a program to increase access to mental health services for Indiana residents.

October 11, 2019


Edwards, who serves as assistant head for graduate programs and director of the adult geriatric nurse practitioner program at Purdue, said the goal of the project is to increase mental health competencies for all nurse practitioners.


CALC Faculty Associate Libby Richards explains why the flu shot cannot give you the flu.

September 28, 2019


Just as the polio vaccine won’t give a child polio, the flu vaccine will not cause the flu. That’s because the flu vaccine is made with inactive strains of the flu virus, which are not capable of causing the flu.


CALC Faculty Associate Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth addresses the incidence of suicide among veterans.

September 26, 2019


Military service, especially during wartime, can expose individuals and families to a variety of traumatic experiences. For most people, the psychological consequences of such experiences will resolve quickly. For others, the consequences may be prolonged and require clinical treatment.


Marian Liu receives Rosalie S. Wolf Memorial Award

August 19, 2019


CALC Faculty Associate Marian Liu, Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, has been honored with the Rosalie S. Wolf Memorial Award by the National Adult Protective Services Associate (NAPSA).


Purdue University promotions took effect on August 12, 2019. Congratulations to these CALC Faculty Associates!

August 12, 2019


Libby A. Richards – Associate Professor of Nursing
Nancy E. Edwards – Professor of Nursing
Patricia A. Thomas – Associate Professor of Sociology
Melanie Morgan – Professor of Communication


Williams-Farrelly and Peng recognized as Emerging Scholars by the ASA Section on Aging and the Life Course

July 2, 2019


Current CALC student Monica Williams-Farrelly and recent alumnus Siyun Peng are recognized as Emerging Scholars in the Summer 2019 newsletter of the American Sociological Association Section on Aging and the Life Course.


Ellen Kossek addresses how family leave plans impact workers who are also caregivers

June 24, 2019


The U.S. has been slower and less effective than many other countries in actively providing paid public and private sector policies supporting employees’ child and elder care needs. Eighty-three percent of the U.S. workforce lacks access to paid family leave to care for a new baby or a sick family member.


Greg Arling evaluates an initiative to help older adults stay in their homes

May 28, 2019


A new study by researchers at Purdue University, University of Minnesota and Harvard Medical School reviewing the state of Minnesota’s Return to Community Initiative (RTCI) shows that well-managed and networked resources can make a difference in returning people home safely.


The study, published in Health Services Research, shows that an estimated 11% of nursing home residents assisted by RTCI would have become permanent nursing home residents if not for the program. It also showed an annual savings of about $3.9 million over a four-year period.


Huber appointed associate dean for research for the College of Health and Human Sciences

May 16, 2019


Marion Underwood, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, announced Thursday (May 9) the appointment of Jessica Huber as the next associate dean for research for the college, effective July 1.


Ferraro, Infurna to receive GSA's 2018 Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award

August 29, 2018


The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) -- the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging -- has chosen Kenneth Ferraro, PhD, FGSA, of Purdue University, and Frank Infurna, PhD, of Arizona State University as the 2018 recipients of the Richard Kalish Innovative Publication Award.


The award presentation will take place at GSA's 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 14 to 18 in Boston, Massachusetts. This conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process


Team to study new gene associated with Parkinson's disease

June 14, 2018


A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Purdue University and the University of Bordeaux in France has received a grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease to study a new gene associated with Parkinson’s disease, which was linked to the disease using novel big data methodologies.

The findings from this research could potentially be used to design new therapies to slow neurodegeneration in the brains of patients with Parkinson’s disease and other related disorders.


New study finds Mediterranean-style eating pattern with lean, unprocessed red meat improves cardiovascular disease risk factors

June 13, 2018


Adopting a Mediterranean-style eating pattern improves heart health, with or without reducing red meat intake, if the red meat consumed is lean and unprocessed, according to a Purdue University nutrition study.

“It’s also very encouraging that the improvements these people experienced – which included improvements in blood pressure, blood lipids and lipoproteins – were noticeable in five weeks,” Campbell said.


Whey protein supplements and exercise help women improve body composition, not leading to bulkiness

May 23, 2018


It’s known that men benefit from whey protein supplements and exercise, and for what is believed to be the first time, the same can be said for women, according to a large study review by Purdue University nutrition experts.

“There is a public perception that whey protein supplementation will lead to bulkiness in women, and these findings show that is not the case,” said Wayne Campbell, professor of nutrition science and senior author on the study. “Whey protein supplementation favors a modest increase in lean mass of less than 1 percent, while not influencing fat mass.”


Mom's Favorite - You're probably wrong about your mother's preferences

Spring, 2018


So you think you know which sibling your mother likes best? Jill Suitor says there is a good chance you have it all wrong.

Sociologist selected for Purdue’s 2018 Lu Ann Aday Award

May 14, 2018


Kenneth Ferraro, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and director of the Center on Aging and the Life Course in the College of Liberal Arts, has been chosen as the 2018 Lu Ann Aday Award recipient. One of Purdue University’s top three research honors, the Lu Ann Aday Award is designated for exceptional work in the humanities and social sciences.

Ferraro is being honored for his innovative work and impactful contributions to the fields of sociology and gerontology...


Has your mom said she doesn’t have a favorite child? That’s probably a lie.

May 10, 2018


Sociologist Jill Suitor studies the truth about moms and their kids — and the surprising effects that parental favoritism can have on us. ...

In face-to-face interviews, the team asked moms a number of frank questions. These included “Which of your children are you most likely to talk to about a personal problem?”; “Which child would you most want to be your caretaker as you age or if you were to get sick?”; “To which child do you feel the most emotionally close?” and “Which child are you most proud of?”, as well as emotionally fraught queries like “Which child has disappointed you the most?” ...

So, who’s the favorite? In general, “daughters were overwhelmingly chosen over sons,” says Suitor. Lastborns were also selected more frequently than first or middle children. Interestingly, when moms were asked to choose which child they were closest to and which child they had the most conflict with, they’d sometimes choose the very same child for both categories: a daughter. ...


Novosteo Takes Aim at Elderly Hip Fractures

March 29, 2018


Bone fractures are undesirable for any person, but a hip fracture is especially dangerous for elderly; one-quarter of patients will die from complications within a year. “That’s a little ridiculous this day and age,” says Purdue University researcher and Novosteo, Inc. co-founder Dr. Stewart Low. The West Lafayette-based startup is developing a drug that would be the only one to specifically target a fracture and speed healing, and it’s taking aim at hip fractures first.


Are You Sleeping? Dyadic Associations of Support, Stress, and Worries Regarding Adult Children on Sleep

March 19, 2018


Sleep is a key factor in maintaining positive health and well-being throughout life. Although the negative outcomes of sleep problems are becoming better understood, less is known about how intergenerational relationships might affect sleep. Thus, this investigation examines the dyadic associations of support for, stress over, and worrying about adult children on sleep quality for husbands and wives.


Purdue Prof Contributes to New Physical Activity Guideline Recommendations

March 2, 2018


"You don't have to be an athlete to benefit from the important ways that exercise and physical activity help make you healthier," said Wayne Campbell, professor of nutrition science, whose expertise integrates human nutrition, exercise physiology and geriatrics. "There is an important message that when you go from being completely sedentary to being physically active in any way, large or small, there are health-promoting effects. Whether your goal is striving to become physically fit or to participate in some sort of athletic event, or being able to walk up a set of stairs instead of taking an elevator, these are all achievable and should be encouraged."


Black Mothers Keep Dying After Giving Birth. Shalon Irving's Story Explains Why.

December 7, 2017


The disproportionate toll on African-Americans is the main reason the U.S. maternal mortality rate is so much higher than that of other affluent countries. Black expectant and new mothers in the U.S. die at about the same rate as women in countries such as Mexico and Uzbekistan, the World Health Organization estimates.
For much of American history, these types of disparities were largely blamed on blacks' supposed susceptibility to illness — their "mass of imperfections," as one doctor wrote in 1903 — and their own behavior. But now many social scientists and medical researchers agree, the problem isn't race but racism.
Over and over, black women told of medical providers who equated being African-American with being poor, uneducated, noncompliant and unworthy. "Sometimes you just know in your bones when someone feels contempt for you based on your race," said one Brooklyn, N.Y., woman who took to bringing her white husband or in-laws to every prenatal visit.


Proof the youngest really is the favourite?

November 15, 2017


Much as they might not want to admit it, a lot of parents have a favourite child and now researchers have discovered that it's most likely to be the youngest.
However, the researchers found that the favouritism isn't down to the personal preference of the parents - it's because the youngest is often perceived as the favourite.
According to the report 'when second-borns perceived themselves as favoured in terms of receiving less discipline, both mothers and fathers reported more positive relationships.'


Purdue researchers explore use of Wii games in assisting Parkinson's patients

October 17, 2017


Two Purdue professors are studying the effects of using a popular gaming system to improve Parkinson's patients' movement and speech skills.
In collaboration with researchers at Purdue, the University of Calgary and Indiana University, they worked with various Parkinson's patients and other healthy, older adults three times a week for a period of eight weeks to test the effects of using a gaming system to help combat the effects of the disease.
After this pilot study was done, the results affirmed that the games produced a noticeably more positive outcome in gait and balance than most traditional Parkinson's treatments. These outcomes would best be maintained when the therapy is utilized for a prescribed amount of time.


Therapy animals are everywhere. Proof that they help is not.

July 2, 2017


A therapy-animal trend grips the United States. The San Francisco airport now deploys a pig to calm frazzled travelers. Universities nationwide bring dogs (and a donkey) onto campus to soothe students during finals.
The trend, which has accelerated hugely since its initial stirrings a few decades ago, is underpinned by a widespread belief that interaction with animals can reduce distress — whether it happens over brief caresses at the airport or in long-term relationships at home.


Parents Do Have a Favorite Child

June 30, 2017


In a study published last year in the Journal of Marriage and Family, 75% of mothers admitted to being closer to one adult child. Researchers of a 2005 study observed that 70% of fathers and 74% of mothers demonstrated preferential treatment to one of their children.


Science Says Pets Good For Mental Health

April 6, 2017


Scientists are now digging up evidence that animals can also help improve mental health, even for people with challenging disorders.


Eating Red Meat

March 29, 2017


Is eating red meat bad for you? In today's Academic Minute, Purdue University's Wayne Campbell delves into this question. Campbell is a professor of nutrition science at Purdue.


'Space pants' could help people suffering from peripheral artery disease

March 27, 2017


Roseguini is studying heat therapy and its effect on PAD symptoms by using pants that circulate warm water over the wearers' legs. The pants are made of elastic fabric and used by astronauts to regulate body temperature while in space.


Still checking work email on vacation? This employer says 'Stop'

March 6, 2017


After ten years working at the same company, Debra Woodfork is planning a four-week sabbatical in May. The design manager at an association for corporate in-house lawyers in the District plans to take her first international trip to Japan. And to make sure she comes back refreshed, her employer is taking the extra step of suspending her work email account.

While she is excited to soak up Japanese culture, and indulge her "obsession" with matcha green tea, Woodfork said leaving her inbox unchecked may be difficult.

"Sometimes I do it so much, I don't even know I am doing it," she said.

No-email vacation policies are one way employers are dealing with the stress of the modern workplace, where technology allows people to field work emails late into the night and first thing in the morning when they roll out of bed.


So You Think You're Mom's Favorite?

May 26, 2016


On Saturday, April 9, Dr. J. Jill Suitor, Professor of Sociology and CALC Faculty Associate, presented a TEDx talk at Purdue University titled, "So You Think You're Mom's Favorite?" In her talk, she discusses what predicts closeness vs. conflict, what it takes to instill pride vs. disappointment, and the effects of perception of favoritism. Watch and learn how you measure up in Mom's eyes - it may not be what you think!

Geriatric Medication Games

March 06, 2016


Navigating through healthcare in the United States is a convoluted and daunting task. The health insurance market, physician networks, and chronic disease management regimens are part of a complex pool within the healthcare industry that even the savviest person cannot sail. While smooth navigating is not easily accomplished, older adults, people 65 years and older, are at an increased risk of hitting rough waves. This cohort is likely to receive care from multiple providers, take prescription medications, live with a physical disability, experience longer waiting periods, and spend more money on healthcare, on average, than any other age group in the United States. According the US census bureau, in 2010 there were 40.3 million people aged 65 years and older—roughly 13% of the US population. By 2030, this percentage is expected to grow to 22%. By 2050, people aged 65 years and older will represent 21% of our country's population with 38% of these people will living with one or more disabilities. As the projected number of older adults in our country increases, the need for healthcare providers educated about the sensitivities of the older adult population deepens.

This past January, Center on Aging and Life Course (CALC) graduate students had the opportunity to "become older adults" and participate in the Geriatric Medication Game facilitated by Dr. Kimberly Plake, Professor of Pharmacy and CALC Faculty Associate at Purdue University. The Geriatric Medication Game was originally created by the St. Louis College of Pharmacy to address the importance of displaying professional attitudes toward all clientele especially older adults. A modified program was created by the Purdue University College of Pharmacy to impact students' perception and attitudes, to increase familiarity with common disabilities, and to experience the process of seeking healthcare in order to improve future interactions with older adults. Nearly 200 hundred students from various disciplines including pharmacy, sociology, and nursing took part in the experience.

At the beginning of the game, every student was assigned an age-related disability, a socioeconomic class, and an associated healthcare plan. Some students were more financially endowed depending upon their SES and healthcare plan. Disabilities assigned to students included:

  • Goggles were worn covered with Vaseline to create a visual impairment.
  • Wheelchair or canes were implemented in order to simulate a physical disability.
  • Slings were worn on the dominant arm as a general impairment.
  • Cotton balls were inserted into ears to produce hearing loss.
  • Work gloves were worn to mimic dexterity issues.
  • Chewing gum was used to simulate speech problems associated with stroke.

Once students were given their assignments, they would embark with another student as a paired team to take on the simulated healthcare world. Within the replicated healthcare system, students visited different stations where they would complete a task under the direction of the station moderator. Stations such as the physician's office, the pharmacy, and the medical laboratory were created to simulate real world healthcare scenarios. Once a team would arrive at a station, the moderator would then act as fate therefore determining if the team would have a good and/or bad outcome after completing the station's task. For example, a person's medications may no longer be effective and would have to then visit the physician and pharmacy for medication reconciliation. At the complication of a task, the team would have to pay a fee for their services. If the team was able to catch any errors in their medical bills, they were awarded points for being financially astute.

As students went from station to station, problems could arise. To replicate delays in healthcare, teams would wait in long lines at each station for their turn. During the waiting process, fate would visit teams and take away or add medications, disabilities, or even bless the team with good luck (skipping to the front of the line at a station).

Students were encouraged to work together as they navigated through the game. While one of the team members might have a decreased dexterity, the other partner could help their partner out by perhaps opening tricky pill bottles, signing consents, or holding the door.

At the end of the game, students expressed their reaction to the game through a reflection questionnaire. Many students indicated feelings of frustration over the loss of an ability, having difficulty completing tasks, and having to wait in long lines for care. In addition, students remarked on the complications associated with having disabilities. From this, students began to understand the difficulties older adults with disabilities face when navigating through healthcare. By the end of the experience, students felt their perception and attitude toward older adults had improved. They reported feeling more patient and empathetic, more willingness to provide assistance, and greater respect for older adults.

CALC graduate student, Blakelee Kemp, reflects on her game experience. "The game increased my awareness of the issues and frustrations older adults encounter when navigating the healthcare system. One of the most difficult obstacles I faced was being given a disability. It made feel unstable and dizzy which really made completing tasks difficult." Looking forward, Blakelee remarks that she hopes to be more "patient and understanding of the needs and issues older adults experience." Kemp states, "The Geriatric Medication Games gives students' a new perspective not gained in the classroom from reading assignments and lectures. The games allow us to personally experience the real difficulties and frustrations one may encounter."

Tetyana Shippee (2008 Dual-Title PhD CALC graduate),
awarded Gerontology Senior Scholar Award

November 20, 2015

Tetyana Shippee

Tetyana Shippee (2008 Dual-Title PhD CALC graduate) assistant professor at University of Minnesota, received the Senior Service America Senior Scholar Award for Research Related to Disadvantaged Older Adults at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Scientific Meeting on November 19, 2015.

The Senior Scholar Award acknowledges outstanding applied research that advances knowledge and understanding of the capabilities, contributions, challenges and concerns of disadvantaged older adults, especially those who are low-income and minority group members.

In June 2015, Shippee was awarded fellow status with the Gerontological Society of America. GSA fellowship is the highest class of membership and is an acknowledgement of outstanding and continuing work in the field of gerontology.

CALC Fall Kick-Off Picnic

September 17, 2015

On Labor Day, the Center on Aging and the Life Course friends and family congregated at Happy Hollow Park in West Lafayette to delight in food and fellowship. The picnic began with a welcoming from CALC Director, Dr. Kenneth Ferraro, as he proclaimed his enthusiasm for the new 2015-2016 academic year. Dr. Ferraro announced new faculty associates, graduate students, and a new staff member for CALC. Traci Robison, the new Assistant Director, as well as her family, were introduced and welcomed to the Center on Aging. As the evening progressed, everyone enjoyed good food and conversation with each other. By the end of the picnic, several corn-hole games had been played, children had beautified the sidewalk with chalk, and a good time was had by all. We look forward to making this an annual event and hope to see you in attendance next year!

Campbell Studies the Benefits of Eating Eggs with Salad

July 14, 2015

Adding eggs to your salad may increase the nutritive value of the vegetables in your salad, says Wayne Campbell, PhD, Professor of Nutrition Science at Purdue University. Campbell's work shows that adding eggs to a raw vegetable salad increases carotenoid absorption.

Carotenoids are antioxidants--agents that protect the body against cancer, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. Increased carotenoid absorption has been associated with a longer life span, fewer chronic illnesses and reduced cancer risk.

During Campbell's study, research participants consumed green, leafy salad with varying amount of scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs were used to ensure that egg whites and yolks were well mixed. Using a hard-boiled egg should provide the same benefit as long as both the egg white and yolk are consumed. The egg yolks specifically contain the dietary lipids that promote carotenoid absorption. Those participants who consumed the salad with eggs showed increased absorption of carotenoids including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Carotenoid absorption was increased three-fold to nine-fold.

Wayne Campbell says, "Americans under consume vegetables, and here we have a way to increase the nutritive value of vegetables while receiving the nutritional benefits of egg yolks. Next time you visit a salad bar, consider adding the cooked egg to your raw veggies. Not only are lutein and zeaxanthin available through whole eggs, but now the value of the vegetable is enhanced."

Thoughts and Wishes for Ann Howell's Retirement

July 12, 2015

Ann Howell's Retirement Pic_1
Ann Howell and Ken Ferraro.

On June 30th, the Center on Aging and the Life Course celebrated the retirement of CALC secretary, Ann Howell. Over the years, Ann has served not only as a valued employee but also she has also as a kind and genuine colleague to CALC faculty and Purdue students.

Since starting her job with the CALC in 2006, Ann helped organize various CALC events, copy-edit numerous manuscripts with her "hawk-eyes", and ensured the smooth functioning of the office. Outside of the CALC, Ann has remained active in her church and community--she and her sister frequently travel.

She will be remembered for her warm nature, approachable personality, and her quick wit and humor. Ann's hard work and dedication to the Center on Aging and the Life Course will be missed and always appreciated. We wish her the best with her future as she continues to make memories both on the road and with her family.

Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget.

Ann Howell's Retirement Pic_5
Ann's family joined in the celebration.

Celebrating 1,000 Birthdays

May 19, 2015

Dona Miriam

Dona Miriam, a 93- year old Costa Rican midwife, has celebrated over 1,000 birthdays by serving as a guardian to deliver young lives into this world.

This past summer, a brigade of Purdue University undergraduate health majors traveled to Costa Rica to study the Costa Rican health care system and met this guardian of young lives.

Preceding Dona Miriam as a midwife was her mother and grandmother. Dona grew up lending a helping hand in her home and in her village. Doing so, she learned the invaluable skills of a midwife. Eventually, Dona gained the responsibility of the practicing midwife for her entire village as well as surrounding villages.

The Costa Rican ministry of health took notice of what she was doing to impact the health of her people. Dona Miriam and other midwives were then trained in the practices of primary care, yet Dona reports the majority of the training she received was gained through observing her grandmother and mother. Dona states, "I just know. I have never been taught. I just feel."

During Dona's journey of practicing as a midwife, she has learned various methods of healing:

• Therapeutic Massages: By merely the use of lotion and her hands, Dona has the uncanny ability to massage an expectant mother's stomach and identify both the sex and position of the infant. She can then reposition a breech infant, relieve potential childbirth complications, and provide comfort to the mother. A traditional obstetrician does not emphasize this kind of therapeutic, non-pharmacological treatment.

• Home-Grown Medicinal Herbs & Roots: Grown in her backyard, these plants can rid a mother of the pains of contractions during labor. The medicinal plants have also been known to help a woman to become pregnant and decrease infertility within her community.

Professor Elizabeth O'Neil, Johnson School of Nursing at Purdue University, remarks that, "Dona is a reminder that pregnancy and birth generally require minimal intervention. An advantageous lifestyle, making healthy food choices, and exercising are essential to a successful birth."

Professor O'Neil remarked that the long history and tradition of the midwife is being lost throughout the world in favor of a model of birth management. Perhaps we should heed the ways of Dona Miriam—an exemplar of optimal aging.

Campbell Contributes to National Dietary Guidelines

March 31, 2015

Kimberly Plake

Every 5 years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Dr. Wayne Campbell, Professor of Nutrition Science and CALC Faculty Associate, was a member of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which released new guidelines in February.

The Guidelines are available for public comment until May 8, 2015.

"This report is a science-based wake-up call for people to improve what they eat and how they can obtain healthy food," said Campbell. "The report represents a rigorous examination of nutrition and health research to help the federal government formulate the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The reality is that as a nation we do not have access to readily available healthy foods. The health of people in our country is going to require a major commitment from individuals, communities and all segments of government and industry to improve everyone's eating and physical activity behaviors."

Campbell was one of 14 scientists who served on the Committee, which was formed in 2013 to evaluate scientific evidence on the health consequences of the American diet.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages individuals to eat a healthful diet—one that focuses on foods and beverages that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent chronic disease.

Campbell's research focuses on nutrition and health as people age, especially how protein nutrition and exercise influence the aging process. His contributions helped the Committee focus on the long-term consequences of nutrition.

His research laboratory at Purdue has demonstrated that the protein requirement for older adults is greater than what has been recommended in previous national guidelines.

Plake Receives Murphy Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching

March 25, 2015

Kimberly Plake

On March 25, 2015, Kimberly Plake was named a recipient of the Murphy Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching. Plake earned the PhD in Pharmacy Administration with a Gerontology Minor in 1999, then joined the faculty of Drake University. She returned to Purdue as an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice in 2003 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2009.

Professor Plake's research focuses on patient care and associated outcomes. She studies services and programs in community settings, health literacy, and patient education.

Ken Ferraro, CALC Director, recalls Kim Plake as an outstanding graduate student and was delighted that she returned to Purdue University. "As soon as I learned that Kim was joining the faculty of Pharmacy Practice, I wanted her as a CALC Faculty Associate. She has a strong commitment to gerontology, which manifests itself in the classroom. The Murphy Award honors her excellence for undergraduate teaching, but Kim is also an outstanding mentor of graduate students."

The award is named in memory of Charles B. Murphy, a history professor at Purdue from 1927 to 1970. The University's highest undergraduate teaching honor, the Murphy Award is accompanied by a $10,000 cash award and induction into Purdue's Teaching Academy, which provides leadership for the improvement of undergraduate, graduate and outreach teaching. Congratulations, Professor Plake.

J. Jill Suitor
- GSA's 2014 Distinguished Career Contribution to Gerontology Award

October 31st, 2014

J.Jill Suitor

"This distinguished honor is given annually to an individual whose theoretical contributions have helped bring about a new synthesis and perspective or have yielded original and elegant research designs addressing a significant problem in the literature." Todd Kluss, GSA

Suitor is Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Associate of the Center on Aging and the Life Course. She regularly teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on family relationships across the life course with particular interest in later life. Suitor's research focuses on the effects of status transitions on interpersonal relations between adult children and parents.

Suitor's research has been supported by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Spencer Foundation. Throughout her career, Suitor has had over 100 publications including journal articles and book chapters.

Suitor also serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Gerontology; Social Sciences, and has been a member of the editorial boards of Social Forces, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Journal of Gerontology; Social Sciences, The Gerontologist, and Gender & Society.

Since 2000, Suitor has led the Within-Family Differences Study, a 14-year panel investigation of predictors and consequences of parental favoritism in the middle and later years of life.

Jill Suitor is a GSA fellow, the Gerontological Society of America's highest class of membership.

Christ Receives 2014 CALC Outstanding Professor Award

September 25th, 2014

Olshansky and de Cabo

The CALC Outstanding Professor Award recognizes faculty who are excellent instructors and mentors, and Dr. Sharon Christ was named this year's honoree at the fall 2014 symposium.

Expertise, willingness to help students succeed, and dedication are three qualities that distinguish Sharon Christ as the CALC's 2014 Outstanding Professor.

Since joining Purdue in 2010, Christ has distinguished herself as a prolific author and outstanding instructor and mentor. Her vast knowledge, use of innovative statistical methods, and guidance on how to skillfully analyze data make her remarkable in the eyes of CALC graduate students.

A recent survey of Purdue graduate students identified some of her qualities:

  • Dr. Sharon Christ is an outstanding teacher—and a devoted mentor.
  • She always makes herself available to students. She is very generous to students and self-sacrificing.
  • Professor Christ is extremely knowledgeable about the subject matter, and always willing to help students.

The CALC is both honored and privileged to have dedicated professors such as Dr. Sharon Christ.

Olshansky and de Cabo Identify Avenues to Optimal Longevity

September 5th, 2014

Olshansky and de Cabo

On September 5th, two internationally acclaimed scholars in gerontology, S. Jay Olshanksy, and Rafael de Cabo, discussed strategies to add years to life—and life to years. About 120 people attended the symposium entitled Avenues to Optimal Longevity.

Olshansky, Professor of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, challenged the idea of major extensions in life span. Rising life expectancy is a good thing, but he noted the limits to longevity in a variety of species and argued for more attention to quality of life. He stressed optimizing our genetic potential for active life expectancy.

Rafael de Cabo, Senior Investigator in the Laboratory of Experimental Gerontology at the National Institute on Aging (and Editor, Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences), proposed nutritional interventions to positively impact health and function. He documented that the effects of caloric restriction on health are not as universal as some scholars contend.

The symposium was sponsored by the Center on Aging and the Life Course, Department of Nutrition Science, and Purdue University Retirees Association.

Ferraro Wins Riley Distinguished Scholar Award

August 15th, 2014

Kenneth F. Ferraro
Kenneth F. Ferraro Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on Aging and the Life Course at Purdue University

The American Sociological Association announced Kenneth F. Ferraro as the 2014 winner of the Matilda White Riley Distinguished Scholar Award. Ferraro is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on Aging and the Life Course at Purdue University.

In conferring the award, Deborah Carr, Chair of ASA's Section on Aging and the Life Course, noted Ferraro's "methodological, theoretical, and substantive contributions to social gerontology and his dedicated mentorship of graduate students. We truly cannot think of a more deserving candidate."

The annual award honors a scholar in the field of aging and the life course who has shown exceptional achievement in research, theory, or policy analysis to advance knowledge of aging and the life course. The award is named after Riley, 77th President of ASA and the first Director of Social Science Research at the National Institute on Aging.

Ferraro joined Purdue in 1990 and is the author of over 100 refereed journal articles related to health, aging, and inequality.

Freeman Receives Exceptional Teaching Award

June 2nd, 2014

Christine E.M. Keller, PhD candidate
Jennifer Freeman, Assistant professor of toxicology

On Tuesday, April 1, Jennifer Freeman, assistant professor of toxicology, received the honor of being named a recipient of the 2014 Exceptional Early Career Award. The award was created by the Office of the Provost and the Murphy Award selection committee. The award recognizes outstanding undergraduate teaching among early career, tenure track faculty at Purdue University. Recipients "dedicate time to student learning while still committing to the research and scholarship requirements of the tenure track." In addition to her newly acclaimed title, Freeman also received $5,000 cash award and additional funding for her department.

Beyond classroom instruction, Jennifer Freeman has also served as a mentor to undergraduate students in Purdue's College of Health and Human Sciences. Many of Freeman's students have further pursued their education and professional schools including medical, veterinary and graduate schools. In addition, she has created an undergraduate course, Essentials of Environmental Occupational and Radiological Health Sciences, and a graduate level course, Advanced Techniques in Molecular Toxicology.

On April 17th, Purdue Today reported Freeman saying, "I look forward to many more years of interacting with students and aim to provide unique opportunities during their educational experience that will assist them as they work toward achieving their educational goals."

The Center on Aging the Life Course is grateful to have dedicated and passionate faculty focused on academic and scientific excellence. Of note, Dr. Freeman was recently promoted to associate professor of health sciences, effective August 18, 2014.

By Megan Klotz

CALC Faculty Members Receive Promotions

April 11, 2014

CALC Faculty Associates Promotions Promoted to Associate Professor:

Jennifer L. Freeman, Health Sciences
Elliot M. Friedman, Human Development and Family Science

Promoted to Professor:

Jessica E. Huber, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Sarah H. Mustillo, Sociology

Jennifer L. Freeman, Health Sciences
Elliot M. Friedman, Human Development and Family Science
Jessica E. Huber, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
Sarah H. Mustillo, Sociology

"In The Eyes of 105" - A Personal Interview

by Megan Klotz

February 28, 2014

Christine E.M. Keller, PhD candidate
Raifa Klotz, Age 105

At the turn of the twentieth century, Anna Nayphe and her brother left Lebanon and set out for the Americas. They left with the intention of gaining what was most valuable to them, their religious freedom. They made their way to Ellis Island carrying with them a black suitcase full of pins, needles, and sewing necessities. Their journey led them to Indianapolis, Indiana

Anna Nayphe married Alexander Kamees in 1900 and had 7 children: Albert, William, Rosemary, Emily Mae, Eva, Sadie, Kathryn, and Louis John. This brings us to Eva, or Raifa as her mother called her by her Lebanese name. If we would like to be technical, we would call her by the name on her birth certificate which reads "Fifth Child". Born the fifth of seven children, the doctors failed to understand the Lebanese dialect of Eva's mother. Raifa, Eva, or the Fifth Child has been known to me as Great Grandma Evie for the past 22 years.

I recognize her by sweet disposition, wonderful cooking, and her large collection of angels. To others, she is recognized by the longevity of her life. To epidemiologists, she is considered a centenarian, a person who has lived beyond 100 years of age. According to the 2010 US Census, the US has the greatest number of known centenarians compared to any other nation. 17 in 100,000 people in the US are recognized as centenarians with the highest incidence of these people being women.

While her birth certificate states she is 104 years old this past December, Social Security indicates otherwise, making her 105 years old. When I asked my Grandma exactly how old she was she replied with a grin, "that's not to be recorded."

Growing up she remembers the horse and buggy that came through the neighborhood with wooden crates full of milk. Her family was the only household on the entire block to have a television: "it was beautiful with its double doors, black and white color, and wonderful reception." They watched Red Skeleton, George Burns, Fibber McKee and my Great Grandmother's favorite news anchor, Walter Cronkite.

Her first date with her soon-to-be husband, William Jennings, was a trip to see a movie at the Indiana Theatre. She married young and the wedding only cost $20. In 2011, the average wedding cost approximately $27,000.

Her husband gave her a weekly allowance of $5 to buy groceries, household items and any other necessities needed to take care of her husband, home, and son.

Her first vehicle was a 1936 Ford that went "as fast as anybody wanted it to." My father smiled as he said, "Grandpa always bought her giant cars. He didn't want her in a little car because she drove so fast. If she ran into anything he never wanted her to get hurt."

Christine E.M. Keller, PhD candidate
The Indiana Theatre in historical downtown Terre Haute, Indiana. Still in use after opening in 1922.

When discussing politics, she conveyed that in her opinion the best president of the United States was Franklin D. Roosevelt. In regards to current political issues the country is facing she replied, "what's going on right now is going to give us quite the ride, it's tough. It's just tough."

"Tough" to my Great Grandmother, I would imagine, is extremely different from my conception of "tough." She remembers a friend, Frankie, being drafted into war. The image of her Frankie's mother walking down the street when the armistice had been signed, banging a metal pan yelling "Frankie is coming home!" is still vivid.

The days of Prohibition and Al Capone brought up stories of bootleggers running banned alcohol between Chicago and Springfield, Illinois. Aello, a friend of my grandmother and victim of Al Capone's gang, was found on his way home from church with 28 bullet holes in his body.

In those days, her father carried a shotgun for protection. To end our political discussion, I asked her what she thought of the civil rights movement in the 1960's. She replied, "they should have started the movement 20 years before they did."

In regards to technology, she thinks the world is going a little too fast. "Slow down and forget some of the things you all worry about. You don't know how good it is to simply sit around a table and eat with the people you love."

In the early 90's growing up, she taught me the Charleston, the Mashed Potato, and how to knit. Now in 2013, as I study to become a nurse, I notice and appreciate the uniqueness of my Great Grandma Evie that much more.

Her skin is beautiful and free of aging spots. Her advice for people my age, "wash your face with good soap and a good washcloth." She walks without an ambulatory aid and is as quick as a whip. To this day, she still lives independently in her own home eating her own cooking. She still faithfully wears her wedding ring even after losing her husband nearly 40 years ago.

A supercentenarian is defined as someone who has lived to at least 110 years of age. My Great Grandma Evie is well on her way to becoming one of only a few hundred supercentenarians in the world. What is her secret? Maybe it was the giant cars that have kept her safe and living so long.

She also followed good health regimens: regular exercise and a diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (antioxidants). Great Grandma Evie also has a strong spiritual life. She says her life has been led by "what the Good Lord would want." Perhaps this is where the secret of life is kept … with simplicity.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." -Leonardo da Vinci

Aging Families and Health Symposium: Social Influences on Health Lifestyle Choices in Later Life

Decemeber 10, 2013

Christine E.M. Keller, PhD candidate
Deborah Carr as she explains family relations affecting end-of-life health care planning.

The Center on Aging and the Life Course faculty and friends gathered for the annual Fall Symposium to explore how social influences affect health lifestyle choices later in life. On Friday, September 20th at the Burton Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship at Purdue University, three leading scholars—Deborah Carr, Karen Hooker, and Alex Zautra—graced the campus with their presence and knowledge of how social influences shape later life.

The symposium was co-sponsored by the Center for Families and the Purdue University Retirees Association.

Deborah Carr, PhD, Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology at Rutgers University, challenged the idea that we are "born alone and die alone." Her research examined the intricate role that family relations play in end-of-life health care preparations. She finds that the majority of people, if they had their way, prefer to be in the comfort of their own homes at the end of life rather than a health care facility or hospital. Yet, research shows that the vast majority of people (up to 75% of Americans), die in the hospital setting surrounded by family members.

Carr proposed the idea of practicing patient-centered care. Patient-centered care would make care plans to be family-based, therefore making the patient only one part of the health care plan equation. Professor Carr left us with the thought that it is not the actual event of death that is most important to the patient's overall well-being and state of happiness near the end of life. Rather, it is the process of dying that patients find most crucial to their care and departure.

Christine E.M. Keller, PhD candidate
Karen Hooker emphasizes the importance of planning and self-regulation of health goals.

Carr also noted that many people procrastinate with respect to making a living will or durable power of attorney for health care. She urged audience members not only to talk with family members about their preferences but to also do the legal work to safeguard those preferences.

Karen Hooker, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Oregon State Center for Healthy Aging Research, elucidated how families shape the rhythms of daily life, including health care plans. Hooker's research regarding self-regulation of health highlights the role of planning.

She finds that goals, even if delayed by family needs or events, help people manage health promotion efforts related to diet, exercising, and stress management. Moreover, communicating one's health goals to family members and/or close personal relationships aids goal achievement: health promotion is a social process. People who have others supporting them in pursuit of their health goals are more effective in reaching the desired end.

Christine E.M. Keller, PhD candidate
Alex Zautra conveyed the power of social intelligence on health.

The Arizona State University Foundation Professor of Clinical Psychology, Alex Zautra, PhD, conveyed information about social intelligence training and how it can enhance the well-being of older adults. Social intelligence refers to the ability to form meaningful relationships with others and effectively negotiate complex social relationships.

Research reveals that social intelligence helps people interact more effectively with health care providers and caregivers. This may occur in health promotion, primary care, or long-term care. Zautra explained that social intelligence interventions also give health care professionals a greater sense of direction in how to develop humanistic and meaningful relations between both patients and staff in long term facilities.

Zautra challenged the notion that resilience is largely an attribute of the individual. Instead, he finds that resilience is socially developed. Social intelligence encourages the development of resilience, enabling patients to recover more quickly from illness episodes and sustain daily activities.

At the conclusion of the symposium, Ken Ferraro, Director of CALC, conferred the Research Excellence Award on Dr. Jill Suitor and Dr. Megan Gilligan, recognizing their collaboration to advance understanding of intergenerational family relationships.

The day was capped with a reception and poster session; graduate students displayed projects that were enjoyed and discussed by visitors. Topics ranged from sensorimotor control during walking to the use of the Geriatric Medicine Game on health professional students' empathy.

Christine E.M. Keller, PhD candidate
Graduate students and visitors enjoying poster displays after the symposium.

The Center on Aging and the Life Course appreciates the support of the Purdue University Retirees Association, Center for Families, and the Department of Human Development and Family Science. In addition, a special thank you is given to Lisa Stein for photographing the symposium.

For further information or to access video recordings of the proceeding from the 2013 CALC Symposium, please visit the CALC website (

Or visit our YouTube channel to view video of the symposium.

Rong Fu to be presented with the Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization Student Poster Award

November 21, 2013

Christine E.M. Keller, PhD candidate
Rong Fu, Graduate student in sociology

Rong Fu, graduate student in sociology, has been selected by the Task Force on Minority Issues in Gerontology to receive the Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization (ESPO) Student Poster Award at the Gerontological Society of America's 66th annual meeting in New Orleans in November for the poster:

Exploring the Mediating Effect of Family Support on the Association Between Living Arrangements and Subjective Health in Chinese Older Adults: Evidence for Rural-Urban Difference.

Suitor and Gilligan Recognized for Research Excellence

September 20, 2013

Christine E.M. Keller, PhD candidate
From left to right: Megan M. Gilligan and J. Jill Suitor co-winners of the 2013 Research Excellence Award, along with Kenneth Ferraro, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on Aging and the Life Course.

The Center on Aging and the Life Course at Purdue University named J. Jill Suitor and Megan M. Gilligan co-winners of the 2013 Research Excellence Award.

Suitor, who is Professor of Sociology and Faculty Associate of the Center, is widely known for her research on the aging family, including topics such as favorite children, ambivalence, and how families communicate with nursing home personnel. The author of over 70 refereed-journal articles, Suitor is a fellow the Gerontological Society of America and the Secretary-Treasurer of the Section on Aging and the Life Course of the American Sociological Association.

"Jill Suitor has excelled in research since joining Purdue in 2004," said Ken Ferraro, Director of the Center on Aging and the Life Course. "She has been highly productive as a scholar, publishing her work in some of the field's top journals. She received multiple large grants from the National Institute on Aging, which have led to important discoveries and supported multiple graduate students."

Megan Gilligan, the co-winner and one of those former graduate students, is now Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Science at Iowa State University. According to Ferraro, "Megan has a passion for research on the aging family, especially intergenerational relations and adult sibling relationships. She distinguished herself as one of our top students and has an exceptional record of scholarship."

By naming Suitor and Gilligan co-winners, the Center also honored the collaboration. "Jill and Megan are an exceptional research team," said David Waters, Associate Director of the Center. "We simultaneously honor the research—the scientific discoveries—but also a very fruitful collaboration." Added Ferraro, "each has a distinguished record of research; together, they have provided critical insights into family dynamics in later life."


Research on Healthy Aging with Botanicals

Winter 2013

Christine E.M. Keller, PhD candidate
Christine E.M. Keller, PhD candidate Interdisciplinary Program in Nutrition with Gerontology Minor

Every year, new information emerges about the important role of plant-foods in reducing age-associated diseases like Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, and cancer. However, many commercially available botanical dietary supplements are not well-investigated, with some even having illegal labeling claims of the ability to treat or prevent disease.

At the same time, researchers repeatedly demonstrate strong evidence of certain eating patterns or even certain foods containing these botanicals which are associated with lowered disease risk. To promote better processing and research techniques, and improve understanding of the role of botanicals in healthy aging, Purdue University and the University of Alabama collaboratively developed the Botanicals Research Center for Age Related Disease.

Investigating botanicals' roles in nutrition and health is a complex process. Basic questions, such as extraction methods, storage stability, and the body's ability to use these plant products, must be examined before disease treatments with food can be pursued. To address this, a highly interdisciplinary team of 17 co-investigators was assembled to investigate foods like grape seeds, isoflavones, and green tea. Connie Weaver, Distinguished Professor and Department Head of Nutrition Science at Purdue, summarized the strategy simply. "Complex problems require interdisciplinary teams to address them," an approach familiar to most of us at the Center on Aging and the Life Course.

Plants have a tremendous amount of variation in biological potential due to factors such as species differences, geographic location, local environment, and storage requirements. As a foundation of the botanicals investigation, Jim Simon of Rutgers University addressed sourcing and quality of the plants. Simon genetically profiled the plants and their extracts, which are now archived for permanent reference. This careful planning provides researchers with quality botanicals to investigate or reproduce in the laboratory.

Several studies have used this work as a foundation to create botanicals enriched with harmless radioactive tags, such as carbon-14 and calcium-41. The enriched research botanicals can then be eaten and further studied based on how the molecules interact with different tissues. These tissues are then collected for further analysis. One noteworthy collection technique includes a special ultrafiltration probe designed in part by Dr. Elsa Janle, an Associate Research Professor in Purdue's Nutrition Science. This technology allows "snapshots" of chemical interactions in an animal's body for a better understanding of how the body changes in response to these foods.

Purdue has unique capabilities that make detection of very small quantities of the radio-labeled chemicals possible. Using Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS), researchers can examine how polyphenols and other potentially health-benefiting chemicals might interact with other foods when eating a meal, how effective the chemical is, what the appropriate dosage would be, and identify potential safety issues.

"The application of high technology to health questions was very exciting to me," said Weaver. "We developed the rapid screening method for effective interventions for reducing bone loss in postmenopausal women using Calcium-41 and AMS." This technology allowed researchers to examine the usefulness of commercial supplemental isoflavones, plant-derived compounds that may mimic estrogen in the body, as estrogen replacement therapy for prevention of bone loss. Weaver's lab was able to demonstrate that soy isoflavone therapy at 0-135.5 milligrams per day had no effect on decreasing the amount of bone reabsorbed in healthy post-menopausal women. Using previous techniques, it would have required many years to provide similar data.

As part of the Botanicals Research Center for Age Related Disease, investigators also studied how certain foods may reduce inflammation in the body. "Inflammation is an underlying mechanism of many chronic diseases", explained Weaver. "Many fruits and vegetables contain many anti-inflammatory compounds." Grapes and grape seeds extracts (GSE) are of interest for their potential anti-inflammatory benefits, which might protect the brain against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's. Rats were given GSE-enriched diets for 6-weeks at which time their brains were examined for changes in certain proteins. The researchers' findings were consistent with GSE providing a protective effect to the brain, demonstrating for the first time that specific disease-associated proteins had changed in response eating a complex botanical ingredient.

In addition to research, training new scientists in botanicals and aging was another important component of the Botanicals Research Center. Courses as well as an annual symposium were held for graduate students at Purdue. Some of these students transitioned to post-doctoral fellowships at other Botanical Research Centers, became faculty members at other universities, or obtained research positions in the food industry.

Though the grant that funded the initial development of the botanicals center has expired, collaborations initially established from that work continue to enhance exciting new research and influence future directions. Subsequent grants have been awarded based on data gained from the Botanicals and Bioavailability research core. In 2006, in conjunction with Mt. Sinai Medical School, an NIH Center for Excellence Research for Grape Derived Polyphenolics and Alzheimer Disease was established. Further work on Alzheimer's Disease has continued under the Center of Excellence for Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CERC).

Research on the role of botanicals in healthy aging continues to be a young, but expanding, field. Based on Purdue's leading role in this topic through research and training, significant progress is expected to advance consumer health, safety, and potentially longevity through nutrition.

Applying Botanical Insights to Healthy Eating: Although most of us want clear guidelines for eating specific foods, it may take years of research to develop formal recommendations. Nevertheless, most people can reap the benefits of this botanicals research by simply increasing their intake of fruits and vegetables. Weaver recommends choosing lots of "berries and colorful plant foods" when making food selections. Additionally, personalized dietary recommendations can be found using ChooseMyPlate at


No Age Limit in Blue Yonder:  United Flying Octogenarians (UFOs)

Winter 2013

United Flying Octogenarians (UFOs)

While some might argue that flying or even driving takes more concentration and caution for older adults, the United Flying Octogenarians (UFO hereafter) shows that there is no age limit on actively remaining a pilot in command. Presently, the UFO has 942 members spread across the United States and Canada as well as members all around the globe. The group, founded in 1982, hosts annual conventions around the world. There is one condition to join the membership: pilots must have flown an aircraft after turning 80.

These exceptional octogenarian/nonagenarian pilots have retained valuable flying skills through retraining as well as biannual flying check-ups that compensate for the loss of reflexes that comes with older age.

A 2012 survey of 655 UFOs members reveals that the group remains relatively active and healthy—better than the national average for persons their age.  Most UFOs were within the normal weight range (83%) and reporting being regular exercisers (82%).  Only a few were current smokers.

Their overall good health was also reflected in how they rated their health:  most pilots rated their health as excellent or good (88%).  Being healthy and active appears to be an important motivator for older pilots since most of them believe that their good health primarily enabled them to fly at age 80 or older.  The regular biannual medical check-ups may be another vital part for the pilots to maintain good health and to retain their license.

Beyond physical activity, these pilots also frequently engage in stimulating cognitive activities. Most of the sample appears to be actively reading (85%) in addition to engaging in problem solving activities such as crossword puzzles or chess.  Over half also use the Internet, which is particularly interesting given their age.  These pilots also participate in several voluntary associations, with more than half being involved in more than 3 organizations including UFO.  This might be a spillover effect of being an active pilot since some pilots might make charitable trips that fly patients to hospitals from home, in addition to flying for leisure.

The majority of these pilots have flown between 2,000 to 5,000 hours over their lives—a remarkable achievement.  To address what factors influence their flying hours, we investigated several possible predictors.  Two findings are noteworthy.  First, older pilots (ages 89 and 90) had accumulated more flight hours, suggesting that older pilots' unique capabilities and experiences enable them to maintain their flying (i.e., use it or lose it).  Also, notable advances in aviation technology such as the development of an autopilot system permits them to fly with less concern over the risks associated with pilot error.

The most surprising finding emerged when examining involvement in organizations and accumulated flying time. Although one might think that involvement in other organizations would lead to reduced hours of flying (competition for one's time), we found the opposite: pilots involved in more organizations (3+) generally had accumulated more hours of flying time than those involved in UFO only.

Gerontologists have long drawn attention to the link between social engagement and optimal aging, noting the benefits of productive activities. According to Charlie Lopez, UFO regional manager, these pilots are a very sociable group: "I would guess that close to 80% of our members belong to AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) which has over 400,000 members." And there are many other flight related organizations such as Experimental Aircraft Association and even the secretive Quiet Birdmen.

Lifetime Hours Flown and Organizational Involvement among UFOs graph

Lopez also noted that many UFO members have long professional careers as lawyers, physicians, and engineers; and may continue to fly to these professional associations.

The question of age limit in active pilots is still a matter of debate within the aviation industry, medical field, and insurance companies. Yet the data from active UFOs show that older pilots love flying so much that they don't hang up their "goggles and helmet" no matter how old they are. Flying might also offer them a form of social engagement and additional health benefits. After all, staying healthy is all about doing what you love.

For more information about UFO, see

Patricia Morton
Patricia Morton, MS
Sociology and Gerontology
Seoyoun Kim
Seoyoun Kim, MS
Sociology and Gerontology


September 21, 2012

Professors Haddad and Rietdyk win Exceptional Engagement Award.


The Center on Aging and the Life Course recently conferred the Exceptional Engagement Award on Drs. Jeffrey Haddad and Shirley Rietdyk, Professors in Purdue's Department of Health and Kinesiology and CALC Faculty Associates.

The Center on Aging and the Life Course joined forces in 2009 with University Place, a continuing-care retirement community in West Lafayette, to launch an intervention research initiative. The idea was to enable Purdue scholars to do research that would potentially benefit the participants while advancing the science of aging. Professors Haddad and Rietdyk have led the balance project at University Place since 2009, an intervention research project designed to better understand balance and biomechanics in order to prevent falls by older people.

More than 1/3 of adults over 65 years of age fall at least once a year, so Haddad and Rietdyk devised a training program to see if they could improve balance and reduce falls. About 75 persons participated in the study during the past three years. The study involves an assessment of posture and mobility (before the training) and repeats the assessment after the balance training. The team compared two training methods: wobble board and Biodex. Results revealed that both methods aid postural control and mobility.

The intervention proved beneficial to the residents and community members in multiple ways. The training itself was helpful, but Haddad and Rietdyk also involved more than 50 undergraduate students and three graduate students in the project. By doing so, each study participant received one-on-one training in postural control and fall prevention. Thus, there was an intergenerational component to the training that was also beneficial. To quote two residents: "I love getting to work with these young people" and "They helped me with my balance, and it was fun."

The students also saw research in action while helping the residents: "This class was tough. However, I learned so much from this class that will translate to my future career." As one student said, "this is by far the best lab that I have taken at Purdue!"

The Center on Aging and the Life Course confers an award each year, and the purpose of the award rotates annually across research, teaching, and service.


September 5, 2012

Receiving the Outstanding Publication award in Denver are Mustillo, Schafer, and Ferraro
(l to r)

Congratulations to Markus Schafer, Ken Ferraro, and Sarah Mustillo for winning the 2012 Outstanding Publication Award from the Section on Aging and the Life Course of the American Sociological Association.


Adversity early in life may alter pathways of aging, but what interpretive processes can soften the blow of early insults?

Drawing from cumulative inequality theory, the authors analyze trajectories of life evaluations and then consider whether early adversity offsets favorable expectations for the future.

Results reveal that early adversity contributes to more negative views of the past but rising expectations for the future.

Early adversity also has enduring effects on life evaluations, offsetting the influence of buoyant expectations. The findings draw attention to the limits of human agency under the constraints of early adversity-a process described as biographical structuration.


May 11, 2012


Congratulations to Daniel K. Mroczek, PhD, newly named the Bill and Sally Hanley Professor of Gerontology in the Department of Human Development and Family Science.

Mroczek has been a professor of human development and family science since he came to Purdue in 2005. Before that he was on the faculty as an assistant and associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Fordham University.

His academic interests are changes in personality and well-being, particularly during midlife and older adulthood. He has shown that factors such as marriage, divorce, remarriage and death of a spouse play a key role in altering personality.

He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association in the adult development and aging division, and he also served on the social personality and interpersonal processes study section at the National Institutes of Health.

Mroczek received his bachelor's degree from Loyola University in Chicago and his master's degree and doctorate from Boston University.


November 28, 2011

Pictured here with some of his mentees are (from left to right): Jessica Kelley-Moore (PhD, Purdue, C' 2002), Roland J. Thorpe, Jr. (PhD, Purdue, C' 2004), Patricia Morton (Purdue graduate student), Ferraro, Tetyana Pylypiv Shippee (PhD, Purdue, C' 2008), and Janet Wilmoth (Purdue faculty, 1995-2002).

Ken Ferraro receives the Distinguished Mentor Award from the Gerontological Society of America

The Gerontological Society of America — the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — at the 2011 annual meeting in Boston.

At Purdue University, Ferraro is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and founding director of the Center on Aging and the Life Course. His recent research focuses on health inequality over the life course; current projects examine minority health, obesity and health, and the long term consequences of childhood misfortune on health. Ferraro is the author of over 90 peer-reviewed journal articles.

According to GSA, the Distinguished Mentor Award is given to individuals "who have not only fostered excellence in the field, but have made a major impact by virtue of their mentoring, and whose inspiration is sought by students and colleagues."


August 22, 2011

CALC Launches Facebook Page

Stay current with the news of the Center on Aging and the Life Course. CALC launched our facebook page this summer, as a way to communicate quickly and effectively with our interested students, faculty, and community. Let us know what you think and send links you would like to have added to:


August 11, 2011

Swiss Scholar Visits CALC

Dario Spini, a behavioral scientist at the University of Lausanne, recently visited Purdue's Center on Aging and the Life Course to explore collaborative training opportunities. Dr. Spini studies aging and the life course, with specific interests on the antecedents of frailty and the sense of timing as people age.

Professor Spini directs PRN LIVES, which aims to better understand the emergence and evolution of life course vulnerability and ways to overcome it ( The project places a premium on studying life trajectories, especially those over the entirety of the life course. Biographical trajectories of some 25,000 people will be studied in various fields (health, family, labor and institutions).

Purdue was one of four North American centers that Spini visited to learn more about life course studies.


August 2, 2011

Ferraro Elected Section Chair of Gerontological Society of America

Kenneth Ferraro, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on Aging and the Life Course, was recently elected Chair of the Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSS) of the Gerontological Society of America. With a membership of nearly 3,000, BSS is the largest section of the GSA, which was founded in 1945.

In discussing the professional organization, Ferraro noted that it "provides an excellent intellectual home for scholars to reach beyond their disciplinary backgrounds to explore what it means to be a gerontologist."

Since receiving his PhD in sociology in 1981, Ferraro has held appointments in sociology departments and twice founded and directed gerontology centers. Professor Ferraro recently completed a 4-year term as Editor of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences and previously served as Chair of the American Sociological Association's Section on Aging and the Life Course (2004-2005). His research interests include life course health, especially health disparities, and the development of cumulative inequality theory. He is the author of over 80 refereed-journal articles. Recent publications include: "Aging and Cumulative Inequality: How Does Inequality Get Under the Skin?" (The Gerontologist), "Assistive Device Use as a Dynamic Acquisition Process in Later Life" (The Gerontologist), and "Children of Misfortune: Early Adversity and Cumulative Inequality in Perceived Life Trajectories" (American Journal of Sociology).