Celebrating Dr. Roth’s Career at COAH

After 12 years with the Center, Dr. David L. Roth is retiring, having served as its director for more than 11 years and faithfully seeing through the transition of that Herculean job to Dr. Jennifer Schrack. Dr. Roth has served Johns Hopkins University as a Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology in the School of Medicine with joint appointments as a Professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics with the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Roth (center) with Mason F. Lord Staff Award recipients and COAH colleagues Talan Zhang (left) and Monique Lee (right), June 2022

Through these roles, Dr. Roth has cultivated a highly-collaborative environment for rigorous research, and he has mentored scores of pre- and postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty members. His leadership style at COAH fostered powerful teamwork that allowed emerging leaders to grow, and he always championed COAH colleagues and staff and graciously recognized their successes with warmth and encouragement. Throughout his tenure with COAH, Dr. Roth has been a strong believer in this quote on leadership from Lao Tsu: “To lead people, walk beside them… As for the best leaders, people do not notice their existence. The next best, people honor and praise. The next, people fear; and the next, people hate…. When the best leader’s work is done, people say, ‘We did it ourselves!’” Dr. Roth truly has been one of COAH’s best leaders.

Dr. Roth’s contributions to applied gerontology are vast. Currently, ResearchGate documents 405 items associated with his name, including 18 papers on which he was part of the research team since 2023. Impressively, more than half of all works are original peer-reviewed articles. Additionally, Google Scholar shows Dr. Roth’s work has been cited

image of COAH staff
Dr. Roth surrounded by many of the COAH team at the Center’s Spring Award Luncheon, May 2022

over 28,000 times. Appearing in more than 120 scientific journals, his research focuses on epidemiological studies of family caregiving, applied statistical analysis, and psychosocial influences on health and healthcare utilization. Dr. Roth’s most well-known paper is “Informal caregiving and its impact on health: A reappraisal from population-based studies,” which captured the attention of leading US news media; here’s: an interview with Dr. Roth in The New York Times.

This record illustrates the wide breadth of his research accomplishments and the extensive reach of his numerous collaborations.  His work has been funded consistently at very high levels by grants from the National Institutes of Health, particularly from the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. In 2021, the Gerontological Society of America recognized Dr. Roth’s research prowess with the M. Powell Lawton Award, presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions from applied research that has benefited older people and their care.

Jackson and Dr. Roth on the Magothy River

Thus, it is with mixed feelings that we will be honoring Dr. Roth’s success and also saying goodbye to him as part of our team.  A retirement celebration will be held on May 20th at 3pm in the atrium of the 2024 E. Monument St. Building on the East Baltimore Campus. We will miss him, yet we are very happy for him as he enjoys more time pursuing the great outdoors and spending more time with his family and loved ones—including his flat-coated retriever, Jackson—in the years ahead. Please join us!  Refreshments will be served. RSVP by May 15 here.



By Anthony L. Teano, MLA
Communications Specialist