Aging Researchers Call for Inclusion, Justice, and Equality

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) — the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — joins in solidarity with the movement to condemn the entrenched racism undermining American society and promote equal rights for all.

The latest in a long history of terrible and senseless deaths of Black Americans serves as another reminder of the pervasive nature of racism in our culture and the profoundly negative impact that this has on people of color.

This is a public health crisis that must be addressed immediately. Minority groups represent the fastest growing segment of the older adult population. As a non-partisan, professional membership organization of experts in the aging field, GSA member scientists have thoroughly documented the racial health disparities experienced by people of color across the life course. These disparities extend to physical health, psychological health, and financial health. All members of society deserve the opportunity to live in safe environments and have access to quality health care.

GSA is proud to uphold its tradition of supporting an inclusive environment in aging research, education, and practice. Since 1987, the organization has been guided by a Minority Issues in Gerontology Advisory Panel, which seeks to increase the quantity and quality of research related to minority aging issues and to attract minority members in Society activities and governance.

Today, GSA continues to contribute to efforts to include older adults and people of color in clinical research. It publishes research in its journals about the impact of discrimination as we age. It provides support for minority scholars to participate in the GSA Annual Scientific Meeting, where it also highlights research on minority topics. And it supports the work of minority journalists covering aging issues. GSA also partners with the National Institute on Aging’s Butler-Williams Scholars Program, which is designed to encourage emerging researchers into aging research, with a special focus on those from underrepresented minorities.

GSA will move forward with all these efforts as we seek to develop further understanding of, and solutions to, the toll that racism is taking on American society. It will support the dissemination of evidence to eliminate systemic issues that increase the disparities that negatively impact health and well-being. These efforts will not just be directed externally, but internally as well — recognizing that every organization, GSA included, must actively strive to free itself from conscious and unconscious discrimination and bias that undermines our collective well-being. GSA calls on all of its members to contribute to the development of long-term goals for addressing racism and its surrounding issues.

And GSA stands with those who condemn institutional racism and supports their first amendment rights to advocate safer, better lives for Black Americans and other marginalized groups. It stands with members and organizational partners pushing to create lasting change for inclusion, justice, and equality.