The Southern Gerontologist

Vol. XXVIV, No. 2, Spring/Summer 2017

Greetings! - SGS Association Manager News Updates

Greetings SGS Members!

Growth and change continue to happen with the Southern Gerontological Society and there is much to be celebrated this past year. Before I tell you all about the wonderful accomplishments and progress we have made since our last newsletter, let me take just a moment to say thank you to our outgoing Board of Directors:

It has been an absolutely delightful experience working with SGS President, Dr. Turner Goins. Dr. Goins will continue to remain engaged in SGS as Past-President on the executive and nominating committees. Thank you, Turner, for all of your help and leadership over this past year.

I’d also like to express my sincerest thanks to the outgoing Members-at-Large who have served the board for their most recent two-year term. These dedicated individuals are as follows: Dr. Malcolm Cutchin, Dr. Jaye Atkinson, and Dr. Kelly Niles-Yokum. A warm welcome to Becky Watson, our newest board member elected to serve from 2017-2019 on the board. Becky will join re-elected board members Dr. Malcolm Cutchin, Dr. Jaye Atkinson, and Dr. Leisa Easom.

This past June, the SGS Board of Directors met for a special board meeting session. During this session, our 2016-2017 fiscal performance was reviewed and the 2017-2018 budget was passed. We are pleased to announce that SGS continues to be in excellent financial health. The Board unanimously agreed to initiate a relationship with Principium Investments, with an approved investment strategy led by Michael Tracy, CFP. Along with this major step for SGS, the board also approved the membership committee’s recommendation to implement multiple-year, discounted memberships for individual, organizational and corporate memberships.

One year ago, we announced that our Journal of Applied Gerontology had just received a review and that the impact factor had gone up to the highest (1.258) in the history of the journal. Well, if we were excited by that – we should be even more delighted that the impact factor is now at 1.638 and that the journal will soon be including even more content-filled pages in each edition.

The JAG editor, Dr. Joe Gaugler, is stepping down from his role as our editor of seven years on August 1, 2017. We would like to thank Dr. Gaugler for his leadership and vision; steering the journal in such a tremendously successful direction. It is also my privilege to announce that, after a long and arduous effort by the journal editor search committee, Dr. Julie Robison has been selected to carry on as JAG’s editor-in-chief. Dr. Robison is a Professor of Medicine at the Center on Aging at UConn Health. Further information about Dr. Robison and her vision for the future of our journal should arrive in your email inbox shortly.

Of course, I must thank ALL of you who came to our 38th Annual Meeting in Asheville, North Carolina. It was wonderful to share time with you all and I hope you had as much fun and professional invigoration as I did!

Thank you to all of our committee chairpersons and committee members. I could NOT function efficiently without your help and hard work. We welcome every member of SGS to consider serving the organization in whatever capacity they feel would suit their strengths.

We are getting very excited about the launch of the details for our 39th Annual Meeting to be held as a joint conference with the Georgia Gerontology Society (GGS). Mark your calendars now for this meeting to be held from April 11-14, 2018 at the Legacy Lodge and Conference Center at Lake Lanier, Georgia is going to be an exceptionally special one. GGS has a 60+ year history of bringing together practitioners and academics and we are so thrilled to be able to bring them into the SGS family. I have recently returned from their annual conference and I was not only intrigued by the diversity of topics presented, but also by the warm and welcoming nature of the membership.

We hope you will all be considering submitting your work for consideration when we post the Call for Abstracts for presenting at next year’s conference. The Call for Abstracts will open on September 1, 2017. We’ve made abstract submissions even easier this year as we have contracted with a professional abstract collection software company to make things painless for submitters and reviewers. The deadline for abstracts will be December 1, 2017. The student committee will be scheduling sessions, starting in September, to help support students who may need help in submitting abstracts for consideration.

And even more good news - SGS will be launching a BRAND NEW website that looks and functions better than ever. The projected launch of the new website is August 15th. The new website will include fast links to our membership directory and a membership map. Be sure to update your membership profiles by adding pictures, links to social media, and your most up-to-date contact information. While you are updating, consider becoming a three year member and SAVE!

So, for this Newsletter, I would like to say: it has been, and continues to be, a joy to be a part of this wonderful organization. Thank you to all for your continued support and work towards SGS’s continued growth and success.

Lee Ann S. Ferguson
SGS Association Manager


Wow, what a great annual meeting this year and it was a year of firsts for SGS! This was the first time ever we held our Annual Meeting in Asheville and the first time ever we offered pre-conference workshops. For those in attendance at our 38th Annual Meeting, we hope you all were able to see long-time colleagues and make new connections as you learned and shared about advances in research and practice. We are pleased to report that at our Annual Meeting, we had a total of 207 attendees.

As we now look to this coming year, there are many things to look forward to including a new and re-energized membership committee who are launching the State Ambassador Initiative, the development of a mentoring program, and we will have our Annual Meeting in partnership with the Georgia Gerontological Society. It has been an honor to serve as the SGS President this past year and I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to all of you that devote yourselves to the rewarding field of gerontology. Thank you for all that you do and I look forward to seeing you at future SGS annual meetings!


R. Turner Goins, PhD, SGS President

Ambassador Jeanette Hyde Distinguished Professor

Western Carolina University

Moving Forward Together

I have been lucky enough to be involved with SGS for a long time. My first meeting was in 2000 in Raleigh. Local arrangements were being coordinated by my mentor, Victor Marshall, and I was “strongly encouraged” to serve as a student volunteer. I remember being in awe - meeting people whose work I read during my studies. I remember the warm and friendly atmosphere where everyone – even a student- had a seat at the proverbial table. Fast forward to 2010, I had been working post-PhD for five years at the Institute on Aging at UNC at Chapel Hill. SGS was in Raleigh again. Then President Jan Wassel “strongly encouraged” me to serve as co-chair of the program with Wayne Moore. Despite the tornado of 2010, Wayne and I survived the role (and the tornado) and I learned a great deal about the inner workings of the organization and the important work we do to help members stay up-to-date, disseminate information on research and best practices, build networks amongst like-minded aging professionals and build the society and its potential to have a lasting positive impact with those who work in the aging field and the older adults we all serve. Since 2010, I’ve served on the Board, as awards co-chair, on the editorial board for the Journal of Applied Gerontology, and wherever I was “strongly encouraged” to take on a role. I was able to stay plugged in as I moved to a tenure track position at the Gerontology Institute at Georgia State University. As the gavel was passed to me in April, I thought, oh no, what have I gotten myself into? Can I really lead this organization? In the next moment, I looked out into the sea of faces – my SGS colleagues and friends. I felt in that moment, I’m not doing anything alone – we are simply moving forward together – look at all these people that I can “strongly encourage” to take on a role!

As the steward of your organization, my presidential mission is two-fold (after all you authorized my leadership for TWO years!): 1) build on the momentum created by investing in our administrative structure to reach out across boundaries to invite all – practitioners, advocates, academics, students - to their seat at the table and 2) clarify the goals of the organization so we can orient our progress and assess our success toward meeting these goals in transparent and meaningful ways. You and I have an opportunity to get involved and make SGS the organization we need for continuing education, dissemination of information, resources and best practices, networking with key collaborators in a variety of disciplines and roles and support in our careers as gerontologists of all types. So, I “strongly encourage” you to drop me line, tell me what your passion is, share your good news and take on a new role with the organization. You can join a committee, submit an abstract for the conference, and/or “strongly encourage” others to get involved. I look forward to hearing from you and hearing about all the important work you do as members of our society.


Jen Craft Morgan

Council of Presidents (COPS) Column


This year’s annual conference in Asheville was a great success and I was reminded again of the characteristic strengths that mark the Southern Gerontological Society: strong collegial bonds among members and an energizing cooperation between academic and applied gerontology. Evident throughout the Asheville conference is the fact that SGS is flourishing and thriving in a variety of ways. As SGS approaches its 40th anniversary, this is certainly a fitting time to step back and take a systematic look at who we are and where SGS is going. Our incoming President, Jennifer Craft-Morgan, is planning to lead a review and planning effort aimed at addressing these very questions and I urge you to respond and contribute to this worthwhile initiative as you are able.

As we are looking forward, the perspective of each member is valuable. The Council of Presidents' closing session at the Asheville Conference provided an opportunity for some of our experienced leaders to share their thoughts. Organized by Jim Mitchell, “Gerontology and SGS: The View from the Back Seat” brought together a select panel of past SGS presidents: Jim Mitchell, Ed Rosenberg, LaVona Traywick, Graham Rowles, and Lorin Baumhover. A guiding theme for the discussion, articulated by Ed Rosenberg, was the idea that past presidents can make way for others to drive while remaining engaged passengers “from the back seat.”

The session panelists delivered important insights as to current and future directions for both gerontology in general and SGS in particular. The future of SGS depends on developing the next generation of leaders; LaVona Traywick, reflecting on guidance senior colleagues provided to her at an earlier stage in her career, reminded participants that our students and junior colleagues need active and involved mentors. Graham Rowles urged SGS to embrace its regional mission and to engage problems and issues related to aging in the South. Lorin Baumhover challenged SGS to articulate the core mission and then to invest financial resources to advance that mission. These are simply a few excerpted highlights from a session that sparked a lively discussion about SGS and the future, a discussion that I hope will continue in the months ahead.

Don E. Bradley, PhD

Professor and Chair

Department of Sociology

Samford University

Birmingham, Alabama 35229


Reflections on the 2017 SGS Past Presidents’ Symposium

Gerontology and SGS: The View from the Back Seat

Symposium Organizer, Jim Mitchell

Presenters: LaVona Traywick, Ed Rosenberg, and Graham Rowles

Discussant: Lorin Baumhover

The symposium title was chosen to reflect the freedom of automobile backseat passengers, inattentive to the route of travel, able to look at the peripheral landscape, suggest alternative routes and warn the driver of impending danger, and with the capacity to annoy the driver through reluctance to relinquish control of the vehicle. Mitchell offered context for the symposium title, reflecting upon the multidisciplinary inclusiveness in early efforts (1970’s into the 1980’s) to infuse gerontological content in higher education through teaching and research initiatives. A multidisciplinary orientation reflected the broad-based content of aging studies, and incorporated the energy and enthusiasm of gerontological “zealots” willing to contribute time and energy towards program development with limited administrative support. This approach supported fledgling programs by minimizing their potential threat to disciplinary academic programs.

The multidisciplinary emphasis in early gerontological work was “liberating” for students and for participating faculty members because it legitimized the pursuit of interests outside of one’s discipline. There was limited federal funding for educational programs and research training programs such as the Midwest Council for Social Research on Aging (MCSRA). MCRSA trainees chosen from several campuses and mentored by faculty in their home academic departments as well as program faculty members and guests attending bi-annual training seminars benefited from the insights and suggestions of mentors across disciplines.

The “middle years” of the late-1980’s through the 1990’s was a period of continued efforts to promote the legitimacy of formal educational and research initiatives in gerontology. Debate and discussion at professional meetings hovered around the benefits of certification or accreditation of educational programs (by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education) and whether minor degree programs and graduate concentrations should be expanded into baccalaureate and graduate degree programs.

The mid-1990’s forward signaled the establishment of baccalaureate and graduate degree programs and gerontology departments or schools.

The path of gerontological research initiatives has followed a similar trajectory with an early multidisciplinary emphasis. For example, the table of contents in the inaugural issue of The Journal of Gerontology (Vol. 1, Issue 1, 1946) includes topics such as the logarithmic increase in mortality as manifestation of aging, the age of stem tissue and the capacity to form roots, nutrition in nutritionally deficient persons, the prevention of leukemia in mice, the role of a community center in preserving personality, Social Security budgeting, and attitudes toward aging in primitive societies. Today, there are a plethora of specialized gerontology journals that together form a literature marked by methodological specialization. This is in sharp contrast to gerontology’s humble research beginnings. Mitchell closed his introduction by questioning the implications of this change for intellectual release felt by many during the early days of gerontological education and research. Is there a cost to movement away from gerontology’s multidisciplinary origins? Is the trend toward disciplinary legitimation a challenge to methodological and theoretical innovation? Finally, has the quest for legitimacy in the academy of higher education compromised the SGS mission envisioned by its founders?

LaVona Traywick offered a creative narrative description of her personal journey in gerontology from graduate education forward, concluding that with disciplinary legitimacy, conversation about the relevance of gerontology across disciplines diminishes. This tends to distill the presence and visibility of gerontology on campuses in one academic unit compromising its multidisciplinary origins.

Ed Rosenberg added to the discussion by describing conflicting notions of the value of accreditation and he questioned whether accreditation might become a “rubber stamp” that does little to move gerontology in the direction of legitimation. He invoked Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, suggesting gerontology’s mere survival supports its relevance. He wondered whether Karl Marx would suggest that movement toward disciplinary legitimacy would foster a two-tiered programmatic effort in gerontology akin to a proletariat and bourgeoisie? Finally, he wondered whether Peter Berger might also be relevant in his suggestion that gerontology, like sociology, may have served its purpose and should be relegated to the back seat of infusion into the content of other disciplines.

Graham Rowles suggested that gerontologists might redefine our destination, harness the immense but currently latent potential of SGS to drive us toward this destination, and explore alternative routes to getting us there. Let’s be more ambitious, and perhaps at the risk of upsetting the backseat drivers, take more risks. He suggested the following destinations.

First, we should move toward an educational destination to nurture a gerontologically literate South in which the overlapping scourges of gerontophobia, ageism and decline ideology (Margaret Morganroth Gullette) are confronted in this region.

Second, SGS should focus explicitly and consciously on its potential for making a real regional contribution to the South as a priority research destination while celebrating regional identity. He advocated that SGS focus on the power of place and not view research through the bland and stiflingly uniform and homogenizing lens of national organizations like GSA and ASA. Such organizations do not differentiate the critical aspects of regional identity and variation. At the other extreme, he cautioned that SGS not be limited by the highly focused local orientations and parochial agendas of state gerontological societies. SGS has the potential to focus research on regional issues that are critical challenges of aging in the South, including rurality, minority (especially African-American) aging, poverty, cancer, and poor overall health among older adults in the south. He asked whether SGS could develop and publicize an agenda of priority research issues for gerontologists in the south?

Third, he suggested that it is important to build on the heritage of SGS, which has always been applied. SGS has incredible potential to build upon this tradition to forge a regional gerontology defined by a service destination with acute awareness of and focus upon the relationship between theoretical and scholarly research inquiry and practical application. There is a need to celebrate and rededicate SGS to the mission implied by its Journal of Applied Gerontology.

Fourth, SGS should become pervaded by an activist culture of compassion that embraces older adults and makes them an active part of its mission. This humanity destination includes recruiting and engaging older adults and the Third Age generation as part of SGS and as active participants in new forms of community engagement representing a culture of care. Such engagement might include contributions to the creation of livable communities throughout the south. It might involve the development of emergency response capability so that, when the next Katrina hits the South, SGS is able to actively respond rather than merely wring its hands. SGS can start with small, limited volunteer projects associated with annual meetings applying gerontological expertise for public good in the host communities, engendering compliments rather than complaints about back seat driving.

Lorin Baumhover highlighted and tied together the major points from each of the presentations, placed the question of destination squarely in the intent of the SGS founders, and suggested that SGS move beyond resting upon the laurels of a budget surplus to redirect its energies towards accomplishment of its mission.

Three Across: Maslow, Berger and Me

GERONTOLOGY AND SGS: THE VIEW FROM THE BACK SEAT. Council of Presidents Symposium, Southern Gerontological Society, Asheville, NC, April 6-9, 2017

Editorial Note: This piece contains satire.

Gerontology, generally, and SGS in particular are going somewhere and I’m along for the ride, in the back seat. Where are we going? I’m not sure. Does the driver know? Who is the driver, anyway? Or is this one of them new-fangled driverless vehicles? Why aren’t I driving? And if the driver does know where we’re going, is the vehicle in good enough condition to get there? Wait... did we just miss a short-cut, which I’m sure would get us to our destination faster and more easily while also saving fuel? Should I say something?

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that we might refer via acronym to the backseat driver as the BS driver. If I do speak up, am I just spouting BS, or an outdated perspective, or my old wine in its old bottle? Maybe the driver has the same old wine in a new bottle. Can I say anything to help, or am I just the old, whining?

I have company in the back seat – psychologist Abraham Maslow and sociologist Peter Berger – and we have time to contemplate such questions. We’re not sure if we can actually accomplish anything, but the first step is to try to understand what’s happening.

Maslow’s still fixated on his original Hierarchy of Needs (1943), and argues that it’s not entirely irrelevant for Gerontology, as a quasi-organic entity. Clearly, he says, gerontology’s and SGS’s mere persistence indicates they have met their survival needs. I add that gerontology meets the criteria to establish it as a discipline unto itself (Rosenberg, 2003). But gerontologists are concerned that, despite the “demographic imperative” we’ve publicized and warned about for decades, recent discontinuations and diminutions of gerontology programs around the country cast some doubt on Gerontology’s safety, and thus on SGS’s safety and even survival. This of course precedes consideration of addressing Gerontology’s “love and belongingness” and esteem needs. Accreditation could help, says Maslow. At least you could compete with social workers.

I note the historical contentiousness of this idea, debated by me and others for at least the past 15 years (e.g., Rosenberg, 2003; Skinner, 2003; Pelham et al., 2012) and including the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s (AGHE) quasi-accreditation experiences with its Program of Merit and more recent competency guidelines (Damon-Rodriguez et al., 2014). What will accreditation do for gerontology’s survival and safety, Maslow asks. Will accreditation just benefit larger, stronger gerontology programs at the expense of smaller but nonetheless deserving ones? Is this truly a good thing? I think to myself, “Where’s Karl Marx when we need him?” Will academic gerontology become a two-class discipline, bourgeosie vs. proletariat? Will programs be dichotomized into those whose mission is basic research and knowledge development, and those whose mission is career and vocational preparation, perhaps allied with practice fields like social work, nursing, nutrition, health promotion, and health care management?

Or, more cynically, would accreditation devolve de facto into a self-perpetuating process that certifies any program that has a pulse, isn’t entirely incompetent, and pays its fees?

The ensuing silence, like that which often accompanies my asking a question in class, is broken by Berger. “So what am I, ground beef?” he explains. (1)

Berger modestly opines that his classic work, Invitation to Sociology (1963), made a wonderful, humanistic and erudite case for sociology as a liberating and thus potentially frightening discipline, demonstrating the extent to which our behaviors are determined and controlled by social forces. Not quite sotto voce, I comment, “Required reading when I was an undergraduate, today it baffles master’s students.”

Gerontology, says Berger, can be the same. It will frighten some to debunk myths and stereotypes and long-held assumptions and beliefs about older adults and the policies and programs that affect them, he says. It will frighten some to relativize and cosmopolitanize the lived experience of aging to time and culture, he says. But it’s best to be realistic and to understand we can learn from others if our goal is a humanistic perspective on aging. He concludes with a technical and scientific summary: “#*@$! alternative facts.”

I remind Berger that, 40 years after Invitation to Sociology, in his essay titled “Whatever Happened to Sociology?” (2002), he lamented the devolution of Sociology due to two trends – what he called “methodological fetishism” and “ideologization.” Consequently, he felt that Sociology had served its purpose as a discipline and had become merely a useful perspective that could inform or infuse other disciplines. Is this, I wondered aloud, what’s happening to Gerontology? The argument of Gerontology as a discipline versus a perspective that informs other disciplines (“gerontology across the curriculum”) implies this issue is not settled and thus remains a threat to gerontology’s disciplinary claim. (2)

But, I ask, returning to Maslow, if gerontology isn’t a discipline, what exactly would we be accrediting? “Not good self-esteem,” he muttered. “You could use some counseling.”

Elated by such praise from one of my idols, I ask myself what we SGS past presidents, and gerontologists of our age and academic generation, really are today. Are we merely back seat passengers? Could we still drive? Should we still drive? Or are we back seat drivers? Are we content to ride along and observe, or are we trying to direct a journey over which we have no direct control?

Do I really know where we’re going, or do I just think I do because in the past I – and SGS – went somewhere that looks sort of like where we are now? My theories of why we should go places and my methodologies for getting there may be outmoded. In that case I might think I’m entitled to give directions, but in reality I’m just an irritant. And the driver, considerately eschewing mercy killing, is tolerating and humoring my tagging along. If I don’t make too much trouble.

In fact, I don’t mind being a passenger who, of my own volition, has “given up the keys.” I find satisfaction in accompanying and admiring the skills of gerontologists who are younger than me, who are better trained in newer methodologies for getting places and newer technologies to get us there, who have quicker reaction times, and who know how to use a GPS – Gerontology Positioning System – to get us where we really need to be. I hope so. And I believe so.

I don’t see this as much different from raising our children. You do your best to provide knowledge, to develop good decision-making skills, to get them to comparatively assess values rather than blindly adopt them, to find something they enjoy doing and become good at it. Then you pray, and trust, and let them go. Any legacy requires letting go, not holding on.

So I don’t mind being in the back seat. It doesn’t mean I’m irrelevant, I hope. But there’s less responsibility, which is not merely a type of gift but in fact a requirement if you want others to capably assume your former functions, as they probably want to and as they should. This is how SGS perseveres as a social entity greater than the sum of its individual members. In fact, as with our children, nothing would please us back-seaters more than to have the capabilities of the new generation of southern gerontologists exceed ours. That’s legacy enough. And that’s how, to quote Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan, I plan to “stay forever young.”


(1) This is a joke. It was originally the traditional “chopped liver.” But I was asked to alter it. Berger. Ground beef. Get it?

(2) For characteristics of a profession and of a discipline, see Professionalization requires, in addition to accredited training programs, certification or licensure. For gerontology, serious professionalization also would involve competition with fields like social work. It’s warm and fuzzy to think of this as a mutually beneficial, positive-sum game. But I’m not sure it is. After all, the early bird gets the worm, and social work, via accreditation and strong lobbying, got the jobs worm, though there’s no reason why graduates trained in gerontology or sociology or psychology, along with social work skills, couldn’t be as or more effective.


“Are information specialists part of a profession? Is information service a true discipline?” Retrieved 10/4/2016 from

Berger, P. L. (1963). Invitation to Sociology: A Humanistic Perspective. New York: Anchor Books.

Berger, P. L. (2002, October). “Whatever happened to sociology?” First Things. Available

Damon-Rodriguez. J. et al. (2014, November). Gerontology Competencies for Undergraduate and Graduate Education. Available

Maslow, A.H. (1943). "A theory of human motivation". Psychological Review 50(4): 370-96. doi:10.1037/h0054346

Pelham, A.,Schafer, D., Abbott, P. & Estes, C. (2012). “Professionalizing gerontology: why AGHE must accredit gerontology programs.” Gerontology and Geriatrics Education 33(1):6-19.

Rosenberg, E. (2003, March). “Social Work and the Professionalization of Gerontology.” Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, St. Petersburg, FL.

Skinner, J. (2003, March). “Aging as a Career Specialization.” Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, St. Petersburg, FL.

Ed Rosenberg, PhD

Director, Gerontology

Department of Sociology

Appalachian State University

Boone, NC 28608


Student Research Award Winners Reflect on their Research and Conference Highlights

Jennifer A. Bellingtier, PhD

The 2017 SGS conference was an opportunity to celebrate the research and achievements of student presenters. I followed up with student award winners to learn more about their research, their favorite conference moments, and their plans for the future.

Amanda Thomas

Student Paper Award Winner

MA in Gerontology Candidate

Gerontology Department

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Tell me more about the research you presented.

I presented my paper titled "Impact of a Senior Center on its Participants and its Implications on Future Research and Policy". Data was collected from older adults who participated in activities at a senior center in Charlotte, North Carolina throughout the 2014-2015 fiscal year to examine the impact the senior center made on the older adult participants in different areas of their lives. Findings from my study suggested that older adults who regularly participated in the senior center programs showed overall improvement in a variety of areas pertaining to their quality of life.

What were your conference highlights?

The 2017 SGS Conference was the first research conference I have attended. The quality and size of the conference not only made me feel comfortable as a first time attendee, but also provided many networking opportunities among professionals and students. Some of the events that I enjoyed attending were the LGBT Lunch and Learn as well as the movie night where the Age of Love was shown.

What are your future plans?

My future research plans include completing my thesis titled "Intergenerational Programming on a Multi-Generational Play Park and its Impact on Older Adults." I will also be assisting with a small summer research project with UNC Charlotte's College of Education in evaluating the intergenerational component of an emerging summer reading literacy camp located at a local continuing care retirement community. In addition to this, I will be helping with a community needs assessment the Gerontology Department is undertaking. Lastly, my future academic plans is to apply to doctoral programs so that I can receive my PhD and launch a career in academia.

Mihee Chung MSN, RN

Graduate Student Poster Award Winner

PhD Student

School of Nursing

University of Virginia

Tell me more about the research you presented.

It was my pilot study about perceptions of stigma among Korean American caregivers of people with dementia. It was a qualitative descriptive study with thematic analysis.

What were your conference highlights?

Because of my schedule, I only stayed the first and second day. Meeting many researchers throughout the program, especially during the presentation, was exciting and inspiring as well as encouraging. The atmosphere was very friendly and caring as well. It was a great experience.

What are your future plans?

I am planning to graduate in May, 2018. I would like to find a faculty position in which I can continue to conduct research about ethnic minority caregivers' quality of life in a broad category. In detail, I want to explore their perception of caregiving and stigma and their coping strategies to ultimately develop an intervention.

Ethlyn McQueen-Gibson, MSN, RN, ACNS-BC

Student Support Scholarship Award Winner

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Candidate

Breen School of Nursing

Ursuline College

Tell me more about the research you presented.

The title of my research is "Supporting the Health of Custodial African-American Grandmothers: Community-Based Intervention in School Clinic." I am completing a community needs assessment to confirm the need for services to be based in the school clinic. I am collecting data using the Brief Symptom Inventory and Parental Stress Scale with 30 custodial grandmothers. The ultimate goal will be development of an innovative community-based intervention to increase access to care for custodial grandmothers, and decrease trauma to vulnerable children, our future leaders.

What were your conference highlights?

This was my first SGS conference and I really enjoyed the "intimacy" of the conference, not too large but large enough to meet speakers one on one. The student forums were excellent and I have been in touch with my co-presenters since leaving North Carolina. I look forward to next years combined conference in Georgia.

What are your future plans?

Future career plans will be to continue working in the area of geriatrics at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA as an assistant professor starting August 7, 2017. I will be working with a program that addresses problems of older and disabled adults "aging in place" within low income senior housing apartment buildings in Richmond, VA to address social determinants of health and health disparities facing primarily African-American seniors.

Weizhou Tang, MSW

Graduate Student Poster Award Winner

PhD Candidate

College of Social Work

University of South Carolina

Tell me more about the research you presented.

YouTube is a popular platform for disseminating health information. However, little is known about messages specifically about Alzheimer’s Disease being communicated through YouTube. This study aims to understand the characteristics and content of YouTube videos about Alzheimer’s Disease. After analyzing 271 videos, we found a gap between viewers’ interest and available information on YouTube and a lack of mobilizing information. Videos would be more beneficial if they deliver messages that meet users’ needs and include information that can direct people to additional resources.

What were your conference highlights?

I enjoyed and learned a lot from the Presidential Opening Session “Applied Gerontology: Academic and Community Partnerships for Health”. Collaboration between researchers and community-based organizations is very important to improve health and wellness for older adults. As a student researcher, it is difficult to build partnership and connection with community organizations. The presentations and discussions are very practical and useful for young scholars as the panel shared with audience about their efforts, challenges, and how to address the challenges using real examples.

What are your future plans?

As an international student, my current career goal is to work in a U.S. research institution as a researcher focusing on aging and health education after completing my PhD. I hope to conduct more community-based research in the field of cognitive health and caregiving, and provide health education services to the public.

Wei Chang, BS

Undergraduate Student Poster Award Winner

Public Health major

The College of William and Mary

Tell me more about the research you presented.

The objective of this cross-cultural, mixed method study is to gain a better understanding of different structures and cultures of aging in place in communities and the roles they play in maintaining relationships between members of the community. This case study focuses on how one Japanese and one American aging communities’ support networks are built. The result of the study demonstrated a need for more adequate community and governmental support for older adults aging in place, particularly in the area of transportation and mobility.

What were your conference highlights?

As this was my first time attending a SGS conference, I was nervous about participating and presenting. However, I really found the SGS community to be very welcoming. I truly enjoyed reconnecting with my mentor as well as meeting other conference participants. It was very rewarding to learn about aging related work in a variety of areas through symposiums and paper sessions under various tracks.

What are your future plans?

I am starting an MPH program at Yale University this fall and hope to continue with research in the field of aging.

GRITS Nomination Guidelines

The Southern Gerontological Society has a history of recognizing outstanding gerontologists in the field of aging, and this year will not be an exception. Nominations are being accepted until March 10th. The process is fairly simple: state why you believe this person or organization is worthy of the award, and ask two other individuals to write a brief letter supporting the nomination. My and others' experiences of the nomination process have been that your colleagues and friends will be more than happy to write a letter of support for the nominee and wonder why they didn’t think of nominating that person or organization themselves. I encourage all SGS members to seriously consider nominating someone for the awards.

The SGS award academic categories range from student awards—where the individual is in the beginning of their career—to the Gordon Streib Distinguished Academic Gerontologist Award—where the individual has established themselves in their career as a leader in the field.

The Rhoda Jennings Distinguished Older Advocate Award was created to recognize a senior adult/retiree who is living their life striving to better the lives of others. This award was named after Rhoda Jennings, an extraordinary advocate for older adults. The recipient of the Older Advocate Award does not need to be a member of SGS. I would hope that all SGS members have an older adult that stands out in their minds as an example of “what I want to be when I grow up.” Why not recognize this person by nominating him/her for this award?

The Best Practice Award is for an organization/business/advocacy group/program to be recognized for their work in supporting senior adults. I know that I have certain organizations or groups I refer senior adults and their family members to because of their great work. Do you? If so, show your appreciate by nominating them.

To nominate, go to

LaVona Traywick, Awards Chair

Share your research and/or practice interests with SGS members

Continuing our mission to make SGS a more comprehensive resource for our members, while growing connections between members who focus their research and service working in similar areas, we have recently begun identifying ways to link them. One way we can all contribute to these linkages is for members to access their member profiles on the SGS website, update them and make them more detailed by including research interests and expertise. These updates will allow us to begin to form interest groups and encourage our students to become and continue to be members of SGS. It will also support already established relationships and person to person contact at our annual meetings.

PLEASE take a moment to update your member profile so that you can make connections with other members with interests in similar areas to yours.

May We Propose...

This year brings the implementation of a new idea for our Newsletter. In each edition we will be providing a forum for the presentation of brief abstracts or summaries of ongoing research.

Our Fall edition will be featuring work by our professional members and the Winter edition will contain submissions by our academic members.

If you have any research you are participating in, and are excited about sharing with our membership, feel free to submit a short summary or abstract to us and we will spotlight it in our next Newsletter.

Deadline for submissions for the Fall edition is October 1, 2017 and for the Winter Edition is February 1st, 2018. We look forward to sharing your work.

Those who wish to submit must be current SGS members with dues paid.

SGS Seeks Student Interns

Internship Description

Southern Gerontological Society (SGS) is looking for qualified interns to join our association management team for either the Spring or Summer of 2018. SGS is a network of the South's most respected gerontology professionals. Southern Gerontological Society members are educators, aging network personnel, researchers, health professionals, students, and policy makers. SGS provides the bridge between research and practice, translating and applying knowledge in the field of aging.

The selected intern will work to help maintain daily SGS functions such as member communication, membership retention and recruitment, and work with social media campaigns. The intern will also be tasked with work related directly to the coordination of SGS’s annual meeting program development, communication with program committee chairpersons, and the development of the program schedule and program marketing materials.

This intern should be prepared to work in a multi-tasking, independent environment, and will finish the internship having gained broad experience in various aspects of gerontology and non-profit management. This is an unpaid internship. The intern will be provided assistance with travel to the annual meeting based on current SGS reimbursement rates (and time of year in which the internship is completed). Hours of the internship are flexible and this internship will be managed through weekly virtual meetings, emails, and phone calls. Travel to the office of SGS is not necessary.

Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Assist with communication to members of SGS through social media marketing campaigns.

  • Assist with organization and execution of the SGS Annual Program to be held April 11th to April 14th, 2018 in Lake Lanier, Georgia or other upcoming meetings.

  • Assist with the preparation and delivery of conference materials, including call for presentation, pre-conference brochure, conference program, and website promotional content.

  • Assist in the creation of signage, circulars, mock ups, e-mail campaigns, online promotion, etc.

  • Assist in the distribution or delivery of marketing materials.

  • Enter membership, registration, exhibitor, and sponsorship information into contact management systems.

  • Offer support in direct communication with the vast multi-state network of Southern Gerontological Society members to promote conference attendance, and membership recruitment and retention.

  • Research and communicate with potential conference sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers.

  • Work with SGS student representative and representative-elect to coordinate special select student topics sessions to be held at the SGS annual meeting.

  • Work with SGS student representative and representative-elect to coordinate special select student topics sessions to develop “student resources” website content for the website.


Southern Gerontological Society is looking for an undergraduate or graduate student who is focused, preferably, on Gerontology. This person should have excellent verbal and written communication skills, with extensive knowledge of Web and social media. PowerPoint, Access, Word and Excel experience is a bonus, and will be considered when choosing the best applicant for this internship position. Faculty support of a “remote-site” internship is necessary. Please discuss this option with your internship supervisor before applying to make certain you have their support.

Majors given preference for this internship include:

Concentration in Gerontology preferred

Human Development and Family Studies

Healthcare or Business Administration; Non-Profit Management

Public Health




To apply for this internship, please submit an internship proposal to include details about personal strengths and goals, and current resume, along with current contact information to:

Lee Ann S. Ferguson, Association Manager

Southern Gerontological Society

PO BOX 160

Taylorsville, NC 28681

Fax: 866-920-4649

For questions, please call 866-920-4660

Proposals/resumes may be sent to us via email at:

Welcome NEW Southern Gerontological Society Members!

Please help us welcome our newest members who have joined the organization since our last Newsletter:

Melton SaraJane NC

Banks Shervonne VA

Luci Katherine VA

Hughes Jaime NC

Simonds Wendy Susan GA

Chaplin Rebecca NC

Hebert Catherine NC

Williford Haley NC

Bullock Jared W. NC

Mercado Lopez Luar Jovaniel NC

Cole Desirea NC

Steele Jenessa VA

Reardon Michaela NC

Rebola Claudia RI

Krollman Robert W NC

Graefe Dana CT

Hartman-Stein Paula NC

Pogacsnik Amber TN

Lee Sung-Jin NC

Kinney Jennifer OH

Hayslip Jr Bert SC

Loecke Angela SC

Gray Maria J SC

Tlryakian Edmund NC

Spurbeck Brenda NC

Ray Kendra NY

Elliott A'Lexus NC

Bayliss Robert TN

Johnson Dezette NC

Schwartz Abby SC

Nagrajan Anjana NC

Krajick Kayla NC

Dunsmore Victoria VA

Karcher Susan NC

Alston Gayle GA

Hamdy Ronald C TN

Eve Susan NC

Heston Jennifer OH

Lynn Tania K FL

Mathews Shannon NC

We look forward to seeing them at our 2018 Annual Meeting and their continued involvement in SGS.

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Upcoming in JAG - Volume 36, issue 4:

The article below was inadvertently left out of the newsletter's previous list of articles for Volume 36, Issue 4 of JAG:

Original Articles

Managing Your Loved One’s Health

Development of a New Care Management Measure for Dementia Family Caregivers

Tatiana Sadak, Jacob Wright, Soo Borson

UPCOMING IN JAG - Volume 36, Issue 8

Original articles

Older Adults’ Perceptions of Fall Detection Devices

Shomir Chaudhuri, Laura Kneale, Thai Le,

Elizabeth Phelan, Dori Rosenberg, Hilaire Thompson, George Demiris

The Relationship Between Sexual Minority Stigma and Sexual Health Risk Behaviors Among HIV-Positive Older Gay and Bisexual Men

Charles A. Emlet, Karen I. Fredriksen-Goldsen, Hun-Jun Kim,

Charles Hoy-Ellis

Hoping for the Best or Planning for the Future

Decision Making and Future Care Needs

Odette N. Gould, Suzanne Dupuis-Blanchard, Lita Villalon,

Majella Simard, Sophie Ethier

Home Help Service Staffs’ Descriptions of Their Role in Promoting Everyday Activities Among Older People in Sweden Who Are Dependent on Formal Care

Sara Cederbom, Charlotta Thunborg, Eva Denison,

Anne Söderlund, Petra von Heideken Wågert

Family Involvement in Nursing Homes

Are Family Caregivers Getting What They Want?

R. Colin Reid, Neena L. Chappell

Public Attitudes Toward Sexual Expression in Long-Term Care

Does Context Matter?

Erin Yelland, Amy Hosier

Brief report

Sensory Functions, Balance, and Mobility in Older Adults With Type 2 Diabetes Without Overt Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

A Brief Report

Nandini Deshpande, Patricia Hewston, Alison Aldred

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GGM Update

How to Protect Yourself from Predatory Publishers and Other Common Open Access Questions

SGS is a proud sponsor of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine (GGM), an open access journal from SAGE Publishing. Both SGS and SAGE frequently get questions from SGS members wary of open access and hesitant to submit their work to GGM for this reason. Natalie Gerson, Open Access Publishing Editor at SAGE, responds to some of the most common questions and concerns surrounding open access.

Thanks to PLOS One, PeerJ, CHORUS, and even the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, open access has become a familiar concept to researchers and academics. Unfortunately, a fair amount of that familiarity is due to the highly publicized negative aspects of open access, leaving researchers with an understandable wariness of the idea. Concerns abound, ranging from predatory publishers to “pay to publish” to peer review quality. In reality however, open access as a publishing model offers its own range of benefits. Arming yourself with just a bit of information can help you successfully navigate the open access landscape, and easily avoid the commonly feared pitfalls.

To get started, let’s look at the benefits of publishing open access:

  • · Increased visibility. With access not restricted to paying subscribers, anyone with internet can view and download your research. This allows for wider and faster impact, as well as enhanced collaboration. Studies have shown increased citations to open access content, and science itself moves forward faster when content is not limited to those who can pay.
  • · Increased access. Subscription journals limit their audience to those who can afford a subscription, or are part of an institution that subscribes to the journal. This excludes a good portion of the population, including independent researchers, retired academics, and most importantly, researchers in lower income countries. Open access content is available to everyone, regardless of their financial situation.
  • · Author retains copyright. Most OA content is published under a Creative Commons (or similar) license, which allows the author to retain more control over and rights to distribute and re-use their intellectual property. For full details on the different kinds of CC licenses and their uses, check out the very informative Creative Commons website.
  • · Meeting funder requirements. More funders are making open access publishing a requirement for funding. Publishing in an open access journal easily fulfills those requirements.
  • · Finally, in many countries a lot of research is ultimately funded by tax dollars. Open access gives the public access to content they have contributed towards without requiring further subscription payments.

Open access has some definite benefits. But what about the negatives? Let’s take a look at some of the most common concerns.

Predatory Publishers

New open access titles appear every day. We’ve all read the horror stories of journals with fake editorial boards (or worse, academics added to boards without their knowledge or consent), journals that will publish anything so long as you pay a fee, and journals without any peer review to speak of. Some predatory publishers even mimic titles of existing quality, peer-reviewed journals. As unnerving as this is, a few simple tips can help you differentiate the good players from the bad:

  • Consult a white list. There are sites that list trustworthy open access journals and publishers. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is an excellent resource with very strict parameters for inclusion. DOAJ links directly to the journal, so you can be sure you’re not submitting to a mimic.
  • Trust reputable publishers. If you already know and trust the publisher and would submit to one of their subscription titles, you can trust their open access content as well. If you cannot easily identify and contact the publisher from the journal webpage, this is a red flag. For instance, if you come across a website for Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine and the SAGE logo and branding is not prominently displayed, you are likely on a predatory website.
  • Check the guidelines. Author instructions should clearly state the journal’s ethical and peer review guidelines, as well as the Article Processing Charge (APC). If any of this information is missing, exercise caution.
  • Check indexes. Journal content appearing in reputable indexes (such a PubMed or Scopus) is a good sign, as is the journal being a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). Always check the actual index, rather than relying on any claims on the journal website.
  • Verify editorial board members. Are you able to find editorial board member’s credentials online? Are their institutions listed on the journal’s website, and can you then find their faculty page at that institution? When in doubt, contact an editorial board member through their institution’s page to confirm their board membership.

Article Processing Charges (APCs) and Peer Review

While OA titles are free for the user, there are costs at every stage of the publication process, including but not limited to operating submission and peer-review platforms, copyediting and typesetting, hosting the article in perpetuity on dedicated servers, and marketing. Since OA titles do not charge subscription fees, they need another way to be financially sustainable. Many OA journals charge a one-time Article Processing Charge (APC), which the author is responsible for upon acceptance. APCs vary from journal to journal, and discounts may be available. Many funders and institutions are willing to cover their researchers’ APCs and have set funds aside for this purpose.

A frequently voiced concern is that this author-pays model is vanity publishing, or “pay to publish”. With revenue generated by accepted papers, editorial integrity is called into question. What prevents a journal from accepting everything, regardless of quality?

SAGE addresses this problem by completely separating the editorial and commerce aspects of the submission process. Content is purely under the jurisdiction of the editor(s), and APCs are only collected after an article has been accepted. OA titles are held to the same rigorous peer review standards as subscription titles, with a minimum of two expert reviewers being required, and many OA titles have high rejection rates. Discounts and waivers are also available to authors from lower income countries. Our peer review and ethics policies are clearly outlined in the author instructions.

It is interesting (and ironic) to note that the one-time APC is often cheaper than publishing in a traditional journal with no APC. Once you take into account page charges (around $300/page after the first few pages), color figure fees (ranging from $400-$1500 per figure), and other costs (for example, supplementary material fees at $250), the price to publish in a standard journal can easily exceed the price of an open access APC.

SAGE and GGM are honored by the support SGS gives to the journal. Aside from the standard advantages of open access mentioned above, below are some of the specific benefits of publishing in Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine:

  • · Indexed in the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals) and PubMed Central
  • · A member of COPE
  • · Rigorous double-blind peer review
  • · High rejection rate-only ~40% of articles are accepted
  • · Fantastic team of editors-Ronald Hamdy, Debra Dobbs, and Ravishankar Jayadevappa
  • · Low APC-at $1200, this is one of the lower APCs in the field. In Gerontology, the average APC for open access titles is around $1800
  • · As an SGS member, you are entitled to a 25% discount on the APC-that’s $900 instead of the full price of $1200

Please feel free to direct any questions about GGM or open access in general to Natalie at

The GGM journal website:

GGM instructions to authors:

GGM submission site:

Southern Gerontologist

The Publications Committee is looking for ways to tighten the bond between the journal (JAG) and the newsletter. We can consider a piece on the most cited articles. Standard content of the newsletter includes: a President’s Column; information about the Annual Meeting; upcoming articles in JAG; member news; a welcome to new members and membership info; a calendar to include upcoming conferences and programs; officers; and a Student Rep update.

Periodic content includes: highlights from the Council of Presidents; editorials; updates from states; featured articles/books/websites; awards and nominations; and obituaries. The newsletter editors would appreciate contributions from the Board related to the latter items.

Contact the editors of the Southern Gerontologist to share news or article ideas

or provide feedback. Member news and events are welcomed.

Chih-Ling Liou, Ph.D, email: Office: 330-244- 3551

Kelly Munly, Ph.D, email: Office: 301-379- 2891

Sherry Lind, MGS, email: Office: 513-484-3829

2017 Newsletter Schedule

The Southern Gerontologist Newsletter will publish 3 times annually. Should you have information you wish to submit for publication, please note the 2017 newsletter schedule deadlines and publication dates are as follows;

Fall Edition:

Deadline for news: October 1, 2017

Distribution by November 1, 2017

Past editions of JAG can be accessed by SGS members through the Sage website. The Southern Gerontologist can be found on the Southern Gerontological Society’s website in the members’ area. Past editions of the Southern Gerontologist are available on the website and are distributed to the membership via email.

Conference Calendar

August 28-30, 2017

Florida Conference on Aging

Power of the Past - Force of the Future

Royal Caribe Resort, Orlando, Florida

September 10-13, 2017

Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging (SE4A)

Successful Aging: The Race to Win

Hyatt Regency Greenville, Greenville, South Carolina

October 12-14, 2017

The ICAA Conference and Trade Show

Ignite the Future of Active Aging
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Orlando, Florida

November 3-4, 2017

Aging & Society: 7th Interdisciplinary Conference

Social Inequalities, Exclusion and Age-Discrimination

University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California

Please be sure to send your calendars events to us to include and be sure to post them on our membership forum as well!

SGS Contact Information

For more information about the Southern Gerontological Society, please contact the SGS Association Manager, Ms. Lee Ann Ferguson, at

There are many opportunities for members to contribute to the organization and its progress in bridging those gaps that do exist between research and practice. Please let us know how we can include you!

Southern Gerontological Society

A non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization established in 1979 for the purposes of bridging the gaps between gerontological research and practice.