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KU News Release

Feb. 9, 2005
Contact: Karen Henry, Schiefelbusch Life Span Institute, (785) 864-0756.

KU research institute names David J. Ekerdt as Gerontology Center director

LAWRENCE -- The University of Kansas Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies has named David J. Ekerdt director of the Gerontology Center.

Ekerdt, the interim director of the Gerontology Center and professor of sociology, was appointed after a national search.

" David Ekerdt is a recognized research leader with the vision to define and expand KU's scholarly and academic initiatives in aging," said Steven Warren, Life Span Institute director.

Ekerdt will oversee the Gerontology Center's research agenda, which includes seminal research in aging and communication, the social and psychological aspects of retirement, long-term care, housing alternatives and age discrimination.

Ekerdt's charge includes the Gerontology Center's multidisciplinary graduate program, which offers both master's and doctoral degrees in gerontology.

He will direct the center's work with public and private agencies in developing programs for older persons and their families and assisting agencies and organizations with evaluations of programs and public policies.

He also will be responsible for the center's activities as part of a wider, multidisciplinary group of affiliated faculty, including scientists and clinicians at the Theo and Alfred M. Landon Center on Aging of the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.

Previously, Ekerdt was the associate director of the Center on Aging and associate professor of family medicine at the KU Medical Center.

A graduate of Boston University, Ekerdt also has been a member of the faculties of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the Boston University School of Public Health.
Ekerdt is conducting research on American workers' changing plans and decisions for retirement -- and on the ways that people manage and dispose of their possessions in later life -- funded by grants from the National Institute on Aging.

He also is editor-in-chief of the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Aging, a four-volume, 1 million-word work published in 2002 that is the first standard reference on aging for both the general public and academic researchers.

Ekerdt teaches the sociology of aging and quantitative research methods, and he has supervised graduate students on both campuses. His funded studies of work and retirement have examined the retirement process and its effects on health, well-being and the marital relationship, as well as behavioral expectations on later life.

Ekerdt is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, and he has been a member of the board of directors of the American Society on Aging. He chairs the Publications Committee of the Gerontological Society of America.

The Gerontology Center is one of the 12 centers of KU's Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies, which serves Kansans and the nation through research-based solutions to the problems of human and community development, disabilities and aging.

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