APRIL 2022
Kelly Fitzgerald, PhD '08 (center) with A and O, two Ukrainians she helped flee Kiev and land in Zurich.
Alum helps Ukrainians find refuge in Zurich
Kelly Fitzgerald, PhD '08, has been living in Zurich, Switzerland for more than 10 years. She was visiting back in the U.S. in February when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. What began as a way to donate to Ukrainians through Airbnb grew into helping two middle-aged women travel over five days to settle with a host family in Zurich and obtain basic services. “It's been a wild experience," Fitzgerald says of the last few weeks, "with so many grassroots efforts popping up."
Allowing nurses to offer basic health services in MA assisted living residences: Impact study
A new report from the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston and Collective Insight shares the experiences of residents, family caregivers, and nurses in Massachusetts assisted living residences (ALRs) during the pandemic, when an executive order allowed ALR nurses to deliver certain basic health services such as giving injections, dressing simple wounds, and applying ointments and drops. The benefits of this change cited in the report, “Provision of Skilled Nursing Care by Assisted Living Residences: Stakeholder Views on the COVID-19 Experience,” include perceived improvements in the coordination and timeliness of care along with reduced financial and emotional burdens for residents and their families by delaying the need to move to a nursing facility.
Meet a Researcher: Jeffrey Burr, PhD
In addition to teaching and conducting research on aging issues, Jeffrey Burr, PhD, has spent much of his two-plus decades at UMass Boston working as an administrator. His research has evolved to include a focus on social determinants of health for older adults with a wider lens on a range of mental health issues. The eclectic mix of topics is driven in part by the biggest constant in his career: his strong rapport with doctoral students, many of whom seek him out to collaborate on projects.
MIT names Marc Cohen a Mel King Fellow
The Community Innovators Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology appointed Marc Cohen, PhD, to its two-year Mel King Community Fellows Program. Cohen, professor of gerontology, co-directs the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston. The MIT program brings together policy and advocacy leaders from across the country to strengthen the link between practice-based, on-the-ground knowledge and academic research. The 2022-2023 class of Mel King Fellows will focus on centering equity in long-term care.
Newest PhDs share their experiences, goals

Claire Wickersham and Meghan Hendricksen successfully defended their gerontology doctoral dissertations in March 2022. The two new PhDs faced the added challenge of researching and writing their dissertations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Like many of our students, Claire and Meghan came into the doctoral program wanting to do something that would have an impact on policy,” says Kathrin Boerner, PhD, gerontology professor and graduate program director. “They leave our program well equipped with the tools to realize this vision."

Faculty, alumni publish in new issue of Gerontologist
Kathrin Boerner, professor of gerontology, published "Support Exchanges Among Very Old Parents and Their Children: Findings From the Boston Aging Together Study," in the April 2022 issue of The Gerontologist. Co-authors are Kyungmin Kim, Yijung Kim, and Daniela Jopp.

In the same journal issue, UMass Boston gerontology doctoral alumni Yijung Kim and Sae Hwang Han published "Internet Use and Cognitive Functioning in Later Life: Focus on Asymmetric Effects and Contextual Factors."
Alumni publish Taiwanese health study in BMC Geriatrics
UMass Boston gerontology doctoral student Yan-Jhu Su co-authored "Association between health-related physical fitness and self-reported health status in older Taiwanese adults," in the March 2022 issue of BMC Geriatrics.
"Study: Providers tend to neglect care preferences of seniors who are people of color, poorer," McKnights Home Care talks with Marc Cohen, co-director of LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, April 5, 2022.

"Boomers turn to digital health," Kathrin Boerner, professor of gerontology, talks with Insider Intelligence, March 22, 2022.

"Fewer hot showers, less meat: How retirees on fixed incomes are dealing with inflation," Jan Mutchler, Gerontology Institute director, talks with the Washington Post, March 21, 2022.

"What is gerontology and why should I learn about it?" Ellen Birchander, lecturer and director of the Management of Aging Services masters program, talks with Deb Burton, MAS '13, for an R.I. Elder Info video, March 18, 2022.