Dr. Barbara Berkman to Receive Donald P. Kent Award for Lifetime Achievement

September 16, 2009


Dr. Barbara Berkman, the Helen Rehr/Ruth Fizdale Professor of Health and Mental Health at the Columbia University School of Social Work, will receive the Donald P. Kent Award from the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) for her leadership in research, teaching, service and the translation of her research into practice.

The Kent Award was created in 1973 in memory of Donald P. Kent for his outstanding leadership in translating research findings into practical use.  Dr. Berkman is the second social worker to receive this honor.

The award presentation will take place at the 62nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the (GSA) to be held from November 18-20, 2009 in Atlanta, GA.  GSA is an interdisciplinary membership organization of basic scientists, physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers and other disciplines interested in the well being of older adults.

 “I feel truly honored to receive this award and believe that I am a representative of the many social work researchers who are making significant contributions to the knowledge base in gerontology,” says Dr. Berkman.

Prior to joining Columbia, Dr. Berkman directed the Abrams Interdisciplinary Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and was the Associate Director of the Harvard Geriatric Education Center, Division on Aging at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Berkman has directed 23 federally and foundation supported research projects focusing on issues in geriatric care, and is currently Principal Investigator and Director of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars Program. She was also the former President of the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research (IASWR). 

Her professional contributions to the knowledge base of social work in geriatric health care are evidenced in her publications, which includes well over 100 books, chapters, and articles.  Her research in gerontology and health care has been recognized nationally.  In 1986, she became the first recipient of the Edith Abbott Distinguished Alumni Award of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.  In 1987, she received the “Greatest Contribution to Practice” Award from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and the Hyman J. Weiner Award for “Distinguished Scholarship Contributing to Health Care Practice and Administration” from the Society for Hospital Social Work Directors of the American Hospital Association.  In 1994, Dr. Berkman was honored by the National Association of Social Workers when she received the Ruth Knee/Milton Wittman Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Health/Mental Health Policy.”

Dr. Berkman received her doctorate in social work from Columbia University, a MA from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, and her BA with distinction in Philosophy from the University of Michigan.

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