About the Team

Organizing Committee

Leonard Poon, Ph.D.The leader of the team is Leonard W. Poon, Ph.D. a University of Georgia Distinguished Research Professor, a psychologist and a principal investigator of the Georgia Centenarian Study (R01-MH43435, 1988-1992; R01-MH43435, 1992-1998; P01-AG17553, 2001-2009) in which healthy aging and successful adaptation are important outcomes. One of his recent projects is a conference and a Cambridge University Press publication (Poon & Cohen-Mansfield, 2011) on well-being among the oldest old funded by the U.S.-Israel Bi-national Science Foundation. This project was designed to incorporate ideas from senior and junior investigators in a mentoring relationship to advance research in well-being. In the last 22 years, he has conducted an annual student mentoring conference in gerontology and geriatrics with eight universities in the Southeast to foster intellectual development of the next generation of gerontologists. In his 35+ year career in gerontology, he has conducted numerous national and international conferences, among them are the 1980 psychologists’ input to the White House Conference on Aging, a three-part conference series on memory and aging, and three-part conference series on exercise, cognition, and aging. All of these conferences resulted in edited publications. He has experience as the executive director of the International Centenarian Consortium (1994 – present) and in the last decade served as the president of the international jury of the Ipsen Foundation Longevity Prize (Paris).


Eva Kahana, Ph.D.Eva Kahana, Ph.D. is Robson Professor of Humanities, Professor of Sociology, Nursing, Medicine and Applied Social Sciences and Director of the Elderly Care Research Center at Case Western Reserve University. She received her doctorate in human development from theUniversity ofChicago. She received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters fromYeshivaUniversity in 1991. Dr. Kahana has published extensively in the areas of stress, coping and adaptation of the aged, health communication and heath care partnerships, sequelae of extreme stress, environmental influences on older persons and issues of caregiving and care-getting. Her most recent formulation focuses on preventive and corrective proactivity of older adults in shaping successful aging. Dr. Kahana is the recipient of the Gerontological Society of America’s 2011 Distinguished Career Contribution Award.


Boaz Kahana, Ph.D.Boaz Kahana, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at Cleveland State University. He is a clinical and developmental psychologist with interests in mental health of older adults. He has served as co-investigator of multiple NIH funded projects focused on late life adaptation and successful aging. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and has been a professor at Washington University and at Oakland University. Professor Kahana has published extensively in the field of stress research and traumatic stress studies. He has over 140 widely cited publications in refereed journals and book chapters. He is first author of a book on Holocaust Survivors and Immigrants: Late Life Adaptation published by Plenum Press. He is a Fellow of GSA, AGHE and the American Psychological Society. He has served on the Editorial Board of Aging and Mental Health and Psychology and Aging. Dr. Kahana is recipient of numerous awards, including outstanding Gerontological Educator in Ohio and The Heller Award for Excellence in Gerontology. He has also served as President of the Ohio Network of Gerontological Consultants.


Christine Fry, Ph.D.Christine L. Fry, Ph.D. is Professor of Anthropology Emerita at Loyola University of Chicago. She has had continuing interests in aging, community studies of older adults, the meaning of age and the life course, and cross-cultural studies of age. She was co-director of Project AGE (Jennie Keith co-director, Charlotte Ikels, Anthony Glascock, Jeanette Dickerson-Putman, Pat Draper and Henry Harpending, co-PIs). She has served as Chair of the Behavioral and Social Science section of GSA as well as Secretary of GSA. Her publications focus on the life course; the meaning of age; cultural transformations, globalization and old age; the meaning of a good old age (well-being); and anthropological theories and age. She presently lives and writes inBisbee,Arizona, the “Queen of the Copper Camps.”


Donald Craig Willcox, Ph.D.Donald Craig Willcox, Ph.D. is Professor of International Public Health and Gerontology at Okinawa International University in Okinawa, Japan, and Research Associate at Pacific Health Research and Education Institute (PHREI) and Kuakini Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is also Co-Principal Investigator of the Okinawa Centenarian Study. Dr. Willcox trained in medical anthropology, gerontology and public health sciences at University of Toronto and University of the Ryukyus. With support from the NIA, Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and other sources, his past research has focused upon bio-cultural, nutritional, epidemiological, and other public health approaches to successful aging. Dr. Willcox’s current research interests include exploring the interconnections between aging, morbidity, and the disability process among the oldest old in cross-cultural context. Dr. Willcox has been an invited participant at numerous international workshops that have focused upon identifying priorities in aging research such as the recent FUTURAGE workshop (Roadmap for Aging Research in the E.U.), and contributes as an associate editor to numerous journals devoted to aging research such as Journals of Gerontology A :Biological and Medical Sciences, Gerontology (Karger), and others. He recently guest edited (along with Dr. Poon and Dr. B. Willcox) a special issue on centenarian studies and their contribution to our understanding of the aging process and longevity, published in Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research . Since the 1990`s he has been collaborating with Dr. Poon as part of the International Centenarian Consortium.


Peter Martin, Ph.D.Peter Martin, Ph.D. is Professor of Gerontology and Human Development and Family Studies at Iowa State University. His research is concerned with longevity, personality, stress, coping, and well being. Dr. Martin is a contributing member of a number of professional societies, editorial boards, and professional service organizations. He received a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology from the University of Bonn, Germany.


Rachel Pruchno, Ph.D.Rachel Pruchno, Ph.D. is Director of Research, University Professor, and Endowed Professor of Gerontology at the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging, UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine. She earned her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State University (1982); M.A. from Oakland University (1979); B.A. from Michigan State University (1976). Prior positions include Director, Initiatives on Aging, Boston College; Director, Center on Aging, Bradley University; Director of Research, Menorah Park; Associate Director of Research, Philadelphia Geriatric Center. Dr. Pruchno has been actively involved on the IRBs of UMDNJ and BostonCollege(chair). She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of The Gerontologist. She has served on the Editorial Boards of the International Journal of Aging & Human Development and Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences. She has been a member of two standing NIH study sections (Mental Disorders of Aging (MDA), NIMH; Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes Study Section (SPIP) and is a frequent ad hoc reviewerDr. Pruchno has been the Principal Investigator on NIH-funded grants totaling close to $7 million as well as foundation grants of more than $3 million. She has published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles and 10 book chapters. She is co-editor of the book Challenges of an aging society: Ethical dilemmas, political issues.


May Wykle, Ph.D.May Wykle, Ph.D. is Florence Cellar Professor of Nursing and the former Dean of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. She had also served for over 20 years as the Director of the University Center on Aging and Health. A nationally recognized expert on minority aging she is recipient of numerous honors and serves on NIH study sections. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Black Nurses Association. Her book: Serving Minority Elders in the 21st century received the American Journal of Nursing’s Book of the Year Award in 2000. Her expertise and commitment to the study of successful aging is reflected in the publication of her 2005 book: Successful Aging through the Life Span. She is also co-investigator with E and B Kahana of the ongoing NINR funded study on Marshalling Responsive Care during the Final Years of Life.


Brad Wilcox, MDBrad Willcox, MD is Clinical Associate Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the John A. Burns School of Medicine of the University of Hawaii, Medical Director of Clinical Research at the Queen’s Medical Center and a physician-investigator at Pacific Health Research Institute (PHRI) and Kuakini Medical Center, in Honolulu. Dr. Willcox’s expertise is in geriatric medicine, clinical epidemiology, and genetics. As such, he has focused on genetic and lifestyle factors that modify risk for healthy aging over the lifespan with a particular focus on very old populations. He has a collaborated with Dr. Poon as part of the International Centenarian Consortium since the late 1990s, which is led by Dr. Poon and focuses on factors important to aging and health in very old persons around the world. Dr. Poon is also a an expert consultant on psychological factors important for healthy aging for Dr. Willcox’s Hawaii Lifespan Study, a study of healthy aging in Japanese-Americans in Hawaii. Dr. Willcox’s overall research focus is on biological and medical keys to maintaining high physical and cognitive function over the lifespan.

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