Dr. David L. Roth to Receive the 2021 M. Powell Lawton Award from the Gerontological Society of America

image of David L. Roth

Dr. David L. Roth, Professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health (COAH), will receive the M. Powell Lawton Award at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held online this year from November 10th to 13th.  The award presentation will be on Saturday, November 13, 2021 starting at 4pm, and it will be followed by a lecture from last year’s recipient, Dr. Sara Czaja, who leads the Center on Aging and Behavioral Research at Weill Cornell Medicine; following GSA tradition, Dr. Roth will deliver the M. Powell Lawton lecture next year.  To register for the GSA’s virtual Annual Scientific Meeting, click here.

According to Google Scholar, Dr. Roth’s research has been cited over 22,000 times and he has the most citations of any scholar in the field of Applied Gerontology.  He has led a strong program of research on family caregiving and well-known for his 2015 paper, “Informal caregiving and its impact on health: A reappraisal from population-based studies.” These and other papers have gained increasing attention, including: an interview with Dr. Roth in The New York Times.

When asked about what this award means to him, Dr. Roth expressed gratitude for the GSA’s leadership in having such awards as a way to draw public attention to key global aging matters. “I think, with the population around the world getting older, understanding the special needs of older adults as well as their accumulated wisdom is very important. The GSA is leading the way in supporting and rewarding successful researchers who are investigating key questions in aging research. I’m grateful to GSA for having awards like the Lawton Award to promote research and scientific discoveries around the globe,” Dr. Roth said.

“Like all awards, this is really a reflection of the larger teams I have been so fortunate to be on over the years.  I am grateful to have had so many outstanding colleagues and truly honored to be selected for this award,” Dr. Roth stated upon hearing that he had won the award. Known for his collaborative nature and statistical expertise, Dr. Roth has developed a reputation for bringing excellence in methodology, elegance in statistics, and vision in creative and innovative ideas to his many collaborations. Notably, Dr. Roth has collaborated on many papers over time with Dr. William Haley at the University of Southern Florida, Dr. Virginia Howard at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Dr. Mary Mittelman at New York University. Additionally, he has joined numerous research teams with many colleagues at Johns Hopkins University.

As an investigator, Dr. Roth has contributed at least one meaningful, original, peer-reviewed, data-based research publication across a diverse range of topics every year for the past 37 consecutive years.  Here is a sampling of some of the influential and highly cited papers by him and his colleagues:

As COAH’s director since 2012, and as a senior faculty member in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Dr. Roth supports a diverse group of scholars engaged in aging-related research and public service.  This includes mentoring and supporting numerous postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty members.   Dr. Roth is proud that COAH can provide a comprehensive resource for specialized research, training, and community engagement. “COAH is a voice in the community and our work is having an impact on the world,” he said. Personally, he has provided expertise to the local community through his membership on the Baltimore, and Maryland State, Commissions on Aging. Also, Dr. Roth has served on the Editorial Boards of top journals in gerontology, including Psychology and Aging, Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, and Journal of Aging and Health.

In an announcement to the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Director Dr. Cynthia Boyd noted that “Dr. Roth bridges methodological rigor with expertise in content and theory in highly interdisciplinary applied interventional research. Cumulatively, the impact of his work on improving the quality of life of older adults and their family caregivers has reached large numbers of older adults.”

The COAH family salute Dr. Roth upon this remarkable achievement. Congratulations!

The M. Powell Lawton Award, sponsored by Abramson Senior Care’s Polisher Research Institute, recognizes outstanding contributions from applied gerontological research that have benefited older people and their care. The award was established to honor the memory of the late M. Powell Lawton, PhD, director emeritus of the Polisher Research Institute and a leading figure in aging research.  Recipients exemplify Dr. Lawton’s personal and professional qualities, and their contributions in gerontology have led to innovations in gerontological treatment, practice or service, prevention, or amelioration of symptoms or barriers. Individuals who have influenced public policy changes or demonstrated leadership in defining and implementing a creative program that led to improvement in the lives of older persons are also eligible.