Whitfield Earns GSA’s 2018 Robert W. Kleemeier Award

For Immediate Release
August 30, 2018

Contact: Todd Kluss
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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) — the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — has chosen Keith E. Whitfield, PhD, FGSA, of Wayne State University as the 2018 recipient of the Robert W. Kleemeier Award.

This distinguished honor is given annually to a GSA member in recognition for outstanding research in the field of gerontology. It was established in 1965 in memory of Robert W. Kleemeier, PhD, a former president of the Society whose contributions to the quality of life through research in aging were exemplary.

The award presentation will take place at GSA’s 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 14 to 18 in Boston, Massachusetts. This conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process. Visit for further details.

Whitfield is the provost and a professor in the Department of Psychology at Wayne State University. He previously was the vice provost for academic affairs at Duke University, where he also served as a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and director of the Center on Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research.

Whitfield’s contributions in gerontology have focused on biobehavioral aspects of cognitive aging and health disparities among older African Americans, and careful examination of the nexus of genes, environment, and psychosocial factors on aging. He is currently co-principal investigator of a grant from the National Institute on Aging that examines stress and longevity among African American families. Whitfield is widely recognized for his mentorship of junior scholars whose research interest is minority aging.

He has published more than 160 peer-reviewed articles, five books, and more than 30 book chapters. His work appears in major journals including The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences; The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences; Journal of Aging and Health; Journal of the American Geriatrics Society; and American Psychologist. He is the editor of the inaugural “Handbook on Minority Aging.” He also has been an investigator or principal investigator on more than $15 million in grants and continuously funded since 1990.

Whitfield is a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholars Program and the National Advisory Board for Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research. He is a GSA fellow, which represents the highest category of membership within the Society. He is a former chair of GSA’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Section and Task Force on Minority Issues in Gerontology. He also previously earned GSA’s Distinguished Mentorship in Gerontology Award and Minority Issues in Gerontology Committee Outstanding Mentorship Award.


The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational unit, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

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