News and Announcements

Gerontology News from the College of Human Sciences

Carl Weems to lead human development and family studies at Iowa State University
Carl Weems, a scholar and leader in psychopathology and mental health, will take the helm of human development and family studies at Iowa State University, effective July 1.
Iowa State researchers urge rural states to prepare for aging
Older adults living in rural states are at risk of lacking access to the resources they need, according to a new study led by Iowa State University.
Nearly $2 million grant to aid Iowa State study tracking evolution of couples into later adulthood
An assistant professor in human development and family studies received a $1.9 million grant to study later adulthood.
Anonymous donors establish endowed Dean’s Chair in the College of Human Sciences
Pamela White is the inaugural holder of the new dean's chair, which allows her unrestricted use of earnings to advance the college’s priorities.
  Iowa State partnership to improve awareness and access to dementia services
Iowa State is partnering with the Iowa Department on Aging and the Iowa Alzheimer’s Association to improve access to dementia-capable services. ISU gerontology program director Jennifer Margrett says the partnership will help shore up gaps in services.
Iowa State adds graduate degrees in gerontology
Iowa State University now offers on-campus, interdepartmental master’s and doctoral degrees in gerontology, the study of adult development and healthy aging.
Iowa State partnership helps address needs of an aging population
College of Human Sciences researchers are among those working with Northcrest Community to provide older adults with options to maintain their lifestyle.
ISU researchers use video games to bridge generational gap and get older adults moving
Iowa State professors developed the "Living well through Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise" program, which uses video games to get older adults moving.
Iowa State students help older adults get active
Students in an Iowa State University kinesiology course will help with assessments during Active Aging Week, in an effort to encourage people to be more active and see the benefits of exercise.
Gilligan studies relationships between parents and adult children
Megan Gilligan is a new assistant professor in human development and family studies. Her research focuses on relationships between parents and adult children.

Aging in Iowa: Baby boomers poised to change landscape for seniors

Although baby boomers have started turning 65, they aren’t old. At least they don’t see themselves that way. They certainly aren’t comfortable using the word “elderly.”  MORE>>

ISU-Iowa Department on Aging Partnership

Dementia is a difficult and complex diagnosis. Unlike cancer or heart disease, dementia is a terminal illness that often goes undiagnosed and is difficult to treat. As a result, families struggle with how to care for and help a loved one maintain their independence as the disease progresses.  More>>

Green Light for Gerontology Graduate Programs

The board approved the College of Human Sciences’ request to offer interdepartmental master’s and doctoral degrees in gerontology to meet the growing societal demand and student interest in careers focused on older adults. The master’s program, with both thesis and project options, would be offered in addition to the college’s current Master of Family and Consumer Sciences with a specialization in gerontology. Both programs can begin accepting students this fall. More»

Iowa’s Sixth Family Impact Seminar, May 13th

The Sixth Iowa Family Impact Seminar will be held on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at the State Historical Building in downtown Des Moines from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM. The seminar will present evidence-based, unbiased research to examine policy responses related to the older adult population in Iowa.

“Aging in Iowa: Policy Responses to Changing Demographics.”

Dr. Jennifer Margrett, Director of the Gerontology Program at Iowa State University, from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Iowa State University, will be the keynote speaker. 

Dr. Margrett’s presentation will be followed by an interactive discussion featuring a distinguished panel of experts on the topic of “Aging in Iowa”:

  • Dr. Joel Wulf, Assistant Director, Iowa Department on Aging
  • Dr. Elaine Eshbaugh, Coordinator of the Gerontology program at the University of Northern Iowa
  • Dr. Brian Kaskie, Department of Health Management and Policy, College of Public Health, University of Iowa
  • Dr. Megan Gilligan, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Iowa State University

 The Family Impact Seminars are part of a nationwide network, organized by the Policy Institute for Family Impact Seminars ( through University of Wisconsin Extension. These Seminars started in Wisconsin and are now conducted annually in 26 sites across the country, including our neighbors Minnesota, Illinois, and Nebraska. The Seminars are designed to provide legislators with non-partisan, research-based information on Family Policy.

Please let us know if you are planning to attend the Seminar by Monday, May 5, 2014. You may register directly at You are also welcome to contact Dr. Mack Shelley directly at 515-294-1075 (office), 515-230-1664 (cell), or

Food and beverages will be provided, from Baratta’s.

Gerontology Spring 2014 Colloquium

The Gerontology Program at Iowa State University offers a series of colloquia that discuss multiples aspects of aging and the lifestyles of older adults.  LifeLong Links: Iowa’s Aging and Disability Resource Center will be presented by Mr. Joseph Sample, Director of Iowa’s Aging and Disability Resource Center.  Mr. Sample will speak on topics associated with the center model that has expanded statewide during the past year.  It will be held in 2019 Morrill Hall from 4-5 pm on Wednesday, February 12th. All students, faculty, staff, and community members are welcome to join us. Hope to see you there!

The next colloquium events coming on March 12, 4-5pm and April 9, 3:30-5pm.  Save the dates!  Speakers and locations will be announced soon.


Iowa Department on Aging Conference - October 14 - 15, 2013

The Iowa Department on Aging held a conference October 14 and 15 on campus in the Scheman building. The theme of the conference was “Iowa’s Prospects for Independent Living: Mining for Options”.  Special guests included: Dr. Yogesh Shah, Dr. David Coon, as well as 24 centenarians joined in celebration by Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds.
Here are the results of the conference.

Gerontology Club & SPO Halloween Bake Sale

Members of the Gerontology Club and Sigma Phi Omega are hosting a bake sale on Wednesday, October 30 . They will be selling home baked goodies near the LeBaron auditorium from 9am - 1pm to raise funds to help the HDFS and FCEDS club purchase fleece to make robes for local older adults.

Come with your friends and enjoy a variety of cupcakes, cookies, brownies, rice crispy treats, popcorn balls, caramel apples, and more! All products are nicely packaged for Halloween. Don’t be SCARED to stop by to get Halloween treats for you and your SPOOKY someone. For more information contact the club president, Robyn Christensen, email

ISU Researchers Use Video Games To Bridge Generational Gap

People are living longer, but not necessarily living healthier, and that is something a group of Iowa State University professors wants to change. They hope to accomplish that goal by using video games to promote fitness and encouraging older adults to get active. FULL STORY>>

The Genetics of Aging

Vadim Gladyshev will be on campus Tuesday, October 15th and Wednesday morning, October 16th. More info>>

Prospects for Independent Living Conference October 14-15

Learn about cutting edge approaches to living, working and socializing for older persons and adults with disabilities. Full Story>>