Editorial Team
Transforming Aging Through Pioneering Research, Education, and Community Engagement

Established nearly five decades ago, the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology emerged from the foresight of its founders who recognized the critical need for an interdisciplinary approach to studying aging. From its inception, the school has been at the forefront of exploring the biological, sociological, psychological, and policy dimensions of aging, making significant strides in understanding and addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by increasing life expectancy worldwide.

Considered a beacon of excellence in the field, the USC Leonard Davis School stands as a global leader in gerontology education, research, policy, and service. Situated within the dynamic city of Los Angeles and affiliated with a premier research university, the school is uniquely positioned to drive innovation and change. Since its establishment in 1975, it has remained unrivaled as the world’s first, largest, and most distinguished institution dedicated to the study of aging.

In today’s landscape, where longer lifespans redefine societal norms and expectations, the USC Leonard Davis School continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of aging. From pioneering research endeavors to advocacy initiatives and leadership development, the school is committed to advancing solutions that promote longevity, vitality, and fulfillment across diverse communities and societies.

Housed within the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center, named after the esteemed educator and advocate for older adults, the USC Leonard Davis School embodies a legacy of excellence and innovation. The Center, established in 1973 as the first major research institution dedicated solely to the study of aging, laid the groundwork for the school’s establishment two years later. Today, it remains a hub of interdisciplinary collaboration, fostering groundbreaking research that explores the multifaceted aspects of aging and their broader societal implications.

Over the years, the USC Leonard Davis School has attracted a roster of esteemed faculty members who are pioneers in aging research. From Caleb Finch, the school’s first faculty hire, to contemporary luminaries such as Sean Curran and Berenice Benayoun, the tradition of scientific excellence continues to thrive. With each addition to its faculty ranks, the school’s scope of research expands, ensuring its continued relevance and impact in the field of gerontology.

Through a combination of academic rigor, research innovation, and a commitment to societal impact, the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology remains steadfast in its mission to champion healthy aging and empower individuals, communities, and societies to live well throughout their lifespan.

Shaping the Future of Aging Studies

As the world’s premier educational institution on aging, the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology offers unparalleled interdisciplinary studies and cutting-edge courses that set the standard for excellence in the field. With a commitment to fostering close collaborations with top professionals, both within its esteemed faculty and in the broader working world, the school provides students with invaluable internships and unparalleled career placement opportunities.

Gerontology, as a discipline, is undergoing a transformative evolution, marked by the emergence of distinct theories, frameworks, and research methods. To address the complex challenges posed by aging, the USC Leonard Davis School pioneers unique interdisciplinary approaches, tackling issues that span multiple domains.

From defining the biological underpinnings of aging processes to developing innovative interventions for healthy longevity and successful aging, the school remains at the forefront of research and policy initiatives. Its advocacy for policies supporting aging populations, such as Medicare, Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act, reflects its commitment to advancing societal well-being.

Moreover, the USC Leonard Davis School is dedicated to combating age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, while also extending life expectancy and enhancing quality of life. The provision of social and psychological support, along with a wide-ranging inquiry into policy and legislation, underscores the school’s holistic approach to addressing the diverse needs of aging populations.

At the heart of the USC Leonard Davis School is its distinguished faculty—a cohort of passionate researchers and educators who represent some of the brightest minds in gerontology. From visionary pioneers who laid the groundwork for modern aging studies to emerging investigators spearheading groundbreaking research, the faculty embodies a commitment to excellence and innovation.

Through their collective expertise and dedication, the USC Leonard Davis School faculty drive transformative advancements in gerontology research and service, shaping the future of aging studies in exciting new directions.

Empowering Futures, Enriching Lives

As the oldest and largest school of gerontology, the USC Leonard Davis School has been at the forefront of improving the quality of life for older adults for nearly half a century. However, its outstanding reputation extends far beyond its academic programs.

A visit to the USC Leonard Davis School campus is an experience filled with palpable excitement from both students and faculty. There’s a shared enthusiasm for learning, discovery, and research opportunities, all within a vibrant and dynamic community dedicated to making a lasting impact on future generations.

While the USC Leonard Davis School maintains a serious commitment to academic excellence, it also fosters an environment where engagement is paramount. The campus boasts a diverse array of philanthropic, educational, and social organizations, offering students ample opportunities for personal and professional growth. And situated in the vibrant city of Los Angeles, students benefit from being at the heart of one of the world’s most influential urban centers.

With the largest selection of gerontology degree programs globally, the USC Leonard Davis School provides students with unparalleled educational opportunities. Hands-on training from internationally renowned professors, state-of-the-art facilities equipped with sophisticated technology, and generous scholarship offerings further enhance the student experience.

In addition to traditional on-campus learning, the USC Leonard Davis School offers a comprehensive range of online programs, providing students with the flexibility to pursue their studies from anywhere in the world. Designed and taught by esteemed faculty members, these online courses feature interactive exercises and assignments aimed at fostering a dynamic learning environment.

Whether students choose to engage in on-campus classes or online learning, they can expect a rigorous curriculum that prepares them for success in the field of gerontology. With coursework accessible 24/7, students have the flexibility to tailor their learning experience to suit their individual preferences and schedules, ensuring a truly personalized educational journey.

By offering innovative programs and embracing emerging technologies, the USC Leonard Davis School continues its legacy of leadership in gerontological education, empowering students to make a meaningful impact in the field of aging studies.

Elevating Aging Studies with a Dynamic Learning Experience

The faculty at the USC Leonard Davis School represents a diverse range of expertise spanning various disciplines, including biology, neuroscience, psychology, sociology, urban planning, demography, medicine, nutrition, and economics. This interdisciplinary approach enriches the educational experience, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted aspects of aging.

A specialized education at the USC Leonard Davis School offers students a holistic perspective on the needs of older adults, with a curriculum designed to explore the diverse facets of aging. Students can pursue undergraduate gerontology degrees, participate in accelerated five-year undergraduate/graduate programs, pursue doctoral degrees, or opt for a minor in aging. Additionally, all master’s programs are available in a convenient online format, taught by the same esteemed faculty as on-campus courses.

With 26 educational programs on offer, including pioneering initiatives in age-tech, nutrition, hospitality, and geroscience, the USC Leonard Davis School provides students with unparalleled opportunities for academic and professional growth. From immersive experiences abroad in countries like Italy, Ireland, Korea, Columbia, and Costa Rica to specialized courses focusing on the mind-body connection, bioinformatics tools, and age-tech innovations, students are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in diverse fields related to aging.

A USC Leonard Davis education prepares students for fulfilling careers across a wide range of sectors. With the nation’s largest selection of gerontology degree programs, renowned professors, and a robust alumni network, students benefit from unparalleled networking opportunities and industry connections. The school regularly hosts events featuring industry leaders, founders, and funders who share insights into emerging trends and opportunities in the field of aging. Guest lectures from professionals in industry, government, and academia further enrich the learning experience, providing students with real-world perspectives and valuable internship opportunities.

The Student Gerontology Association plays a vital role in fostering connections between students and professionals in the field, organizing annual alumni receptions and job fairs to facilitate networking and career development. Through these initiatives and more, the USC Leonard Davis School ensures that students are well-equipped to make meaningful contributions to the field of gerontology and beyond.

Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders

Real-world experience through internships is an integral component of the educational journey at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Students have the opportunity to work directly with leaders and practitioners in the field, gaining invaluable hands-on experience in healthcare, business, social work, government, and other related fields.

Through partnerships with private companies, non-profits, and government agencies locally, nationally, and internationally, the USC Leonard Davis School places students in diverse settings where they can apply their knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios. Supported by the school’s robust community outreach efforts and extensive alumni network, internships provide students with both practical learning experiences and valuable career opportunities.

Internships at the USC Leonard Davis School comprise two components: supervised fieldwork and practicum discussions. Fieldwork immerses students in various aspects of social services, policy, business, health services, advocacy, and administration, while practicum discussions foster collaborative discussions on timely issues relevant to their studies, led by experienced professors.

For graduate students, internships entail a minimum of 240 hours of community work, ensuring a comprehensive and immersive learning experience. The school and the university offer a range of resources to support students in exploring career paths, refining resumes, preparing for job interviews, networking with alumni and professionals, and securing job or internship opportunities.

A degree in gerontology from the USC Leonard Davis School opens doors to a multitude of career paths. With a world-class reputation backed by the largest selection of gerontology degree programs globally, hands-on training from internationally renowned professors, coveted internships, and extensive connections, graduates are highly sought after by various industries.

Whether pursuing careers in law, medicine, entrepreneurship, academia, consulting, science, government, business, social services, non-profits, marketing, advocacy, healthcare, management, urban planning, or beyond, USC Leonard Davis alumni are well-equipped to make significant contributions in their chosen fields. The school’s holistic approach to education and emphasis on real-world experience ensure that graduates emerge as leaders and innovators in the field of gerontology and beyond.

Forging New Frontiers in Aging Research

The USC Leonard Davis School is home to a multitude of innovative laboratories, institutes, and centers, where researchers collaborate across disciplines to address pressing issues in aging. Encouraging and fostering collaboration is a cornerstone of the school’s ethos, facilitated by initiatives such as the Multidisciplinary Training Grant in Gerontology, which brings together students from diverse backgrounds to study various aspects of aging.

The Multidisciplinary Colloquium Series, a speaker series covering all facets of aging research, further promotes collaboration by providing a platform for students, staff, and faculty to engage with leading experts in the field. Faculty collaboration at the Andrus Gerontology Center has led to groundbreaking research and publications, uniting biologists with demographers, policy experts with sociologists, neuroscientists with engineers, and more.

At the Andrus Gerontology Center, USC Leonard Davis School faculty are engaged in a myriad of important and exciting aging research projects. From investigating the environmental effects of urban air pollution and gene-environment interactions to exploring global variations in aging due to social, economic, and health-related factors, researchers are at the forefront of understanding the complexities of aging.

Current research endeavors also seek to elucidate the interplay between diet, genetics, and aging, unravel the intricacies of emotion and cognition processing in the aging brain, explore sex differences in aging trajectories, and identify policies and healthcare practices that best serve older adults and their families. Additionally, researchers are uncovering new potential treatments for age-related diseases, paving the way for innovative interventions to improve health and well-being in later life.

Through collaborative efforts and pioneering research, the USC Leonard Davis School continues to push the boundaries of knowledge in the field of gerontology, driving forward impactful discoveries that have the potential to transform the aging experience for generations to come.

Empowering Communities

The USC Leonard Davis School is deeply committed to engaging with the community through various avenues, including research, service activities, student activism, and volunteerism.

For older adults seeking to age safely in their homes, the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence offers training and education to professionals in home modification services. Acting as an information hub, the center equips both professionals and consumers with comprehensive resources on home modification, addressing the increasing demand for such services.

The USC Family Caregiver Support Center provides vital support to caregivers across all stages of caregiving, from diagnosis to maintaining the care recipient’s independence and assisting caregivers in managing their own well-being.

In the fight against elder abuse, the USC Center for Elder Justice serves as a hub for research, solutions, and expertise aimed at raising awareness and preventing elder mistreatment. Through collaborations with law enforcement, policymakers, and the public, including initiatives such as the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center and the National Center on Elder Abuse, the center works to combat elder abuse on local and national levels.

In addition to these research and service centers, USC Leonard Davis School students actively participate in volunteer projects, including food drives, fundraising initiatives, and enrichment activities for senior living communities. During the Covid-19 pandemic, students provided essential support through phone and mail outreach to isolated older adults, ensuring they remained connected and supported during challenging times.

Furthermore, the school maintains strong relationships with local and state agencies and policymakers. USC Leonard Davis faculty members have been instrumental in advising California’s Master Plan for Aging, demonstrating the school’s commitment to shaping policies that benefit older adults and their communities.

Through its multifaceted approach to community engagement, the USC Leonard Davis School remains dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of older adults and their caregivers, both locally and nationally.

Pioneering the Future of Aging

The USC Leonard Davis School continues to spearhead innovative initiatives aimed at advancing the understanding of aging and improving health and well-being across the lifespan.

Among the school’s newest endeavors is the USC Data Science Institute on the Biology of Aging Research (DScIBAR), a collaborative effort that leverages data science and AI approaches to unravel the complexities of aging. By bringing together experts from the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology with data science specialists from the USC Information Sciences Institute (ISI), DScIBAR aims to accelerate discoveries in geroscience and pave the way for transformative breakthroughs in aging research.

Additionally, the Los Angeles Aging Research Alliance fosters collaboration between USC, UCLA, and other local organizations to promote age-related advancements and initiatives. By harnessing the collective expertise of leading institutions in the region, the alliance seeks to address key challenges in aging and enhance health and well-being across diverse populations.

The USC SuperAgers project represents another pioneering initiative focused on understanding the factors contributing to exceptional aging. By identifying the social, psychological, and health characteristics of SuperAgers—individuals who maintain exceptional cognitive function well into old age—the project aims to provide valuable insights into successful aging strategies. These insights not only benefit individuals but also inform societal planning for future longevity, shaping policies and interventions to support healthy aging for all.

Through these cutting-edge initiatives, the USC Leonard Davis School remains at the forefront of aging research, driving forward innovative solutions to improve the quality of life for older adults and pave the way for healthier aging across the lifespan.

For More Info: https://gero.usc.edu/

Content Disclaimer

Related Articles