VCU professor’s new book challenges ageism in society

‘It's so normalized that we literally have to unmask ourselves to be able to see it because it's all around us and it's been all around us for decades.’

Tracey Gendron holding her new book, Ageism Unmasked: Exploring Age Bias and How to End it
Tracey Gendron, Ph.D., director of the Virginia Center on Aging at VCU, is the author of the new book "Ageism Unmasked: Exploring Age Bias and How to End It." (Tom Kojcsich, University Marketing)

In her book "Ageism Unmasked: Exploring Age Bias and How to End It," Tracey Gendron, Ph.D., director of the Virginia Center on Aging at Virginia Commonwealth University, challenges why “everything we know about aging is wrong,” and why the concept of generations divides us more than it serves to bring us together.

Click here to read more about Tracey Gendron's book.

VCU President visits Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield

Key topics included importance of social interaction, engagement in older adults

By Malorie Burkett and Kim Ivey
VCU College of Health Professions

Feb. 18, 2022

From left: Tracey Gendron, Alexa van Aartrijk, Joe Casey, Hon. Leslie Haley, President Rao, Rachel Ramirez and Susan Parrish at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield.
From left: Tracey Gendron, Alexa van Aartrijk, Joe Casey, Hon. Leslie Haley, President Rao, Rachel Ramirez and Susan Parish at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield.

VCU President, Michael Rao, Ph.D., recently visited the Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield (LLI) where he emphasized the importance of social and mental engagement to the wellness of older adults.

Located in Chesterfield County, the LLI is a member-supported organization designed to meet the educational and social enrichment needs of adults age 50 and "better.” The LLI was established in partnership with the Virginia Center on Aging at VCU, Chesterfield County Public Schools and Chesterfield County. 

Pictured from left: Susan Parrish, Tracey Gendron and Rachel Ramirez

Pictured from left: Susan Parish, Tracey Gendron and Rachel Ramirez

“The Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield strives to be a welcoming community of diverse members dedicated to lifelong learning and personal enrichment,” said Rachel Ramirez, executive director of the LLI. “We are proud to offer midlife and older adults a myriad of opportunities to enrich their lives by engaging in thought-provoking lectures and lively discussions in a social learning environment.”

Accompanying Rao during the visit were Ramirez, Susan Parish, Ph.D., dean of the VCU College of Health Professions; Tracey Gendron, Ph.D., chair of the College’s Department of Gerontology and executive director of the Virginia Center on Aging; and Matthew Conrad, vice president for government and external relations for VCU and VCU Health. Also present were members of the LLI Board of Directors along with Chesterfield County officials, including members of the Board of Supervisors and the Office of Aging & Disabilities Services.

Rao expressed his interest in lifelong learning and his appreciation for the members supporting each other as they stay active and engaged to combat loneliness and social isolation. He also discussed the increasing number of older adult patients coming to VCU for healthcare, and how VCU's mission to put patient needs first includes expanding geriatrics programming at VCU Health and hiring additional geriatricians to treat those patients.

LLI is a learning community of peers who are committed to ongoing education and their own intellectual development. Members want to stay current, curious about the world of ideas, and involved with their own learning. The Institute develops and offers daytime courses, lectures and special events on a wide range of topics taught by volunteer instructors. Additionally, there are no exams or credits, and no college degrees are required.

LLI Chesterfield is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is equal opportunity and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national or ethnic origin.

For more information, visit the Lifelong Learning Institute.

New director named for Virginia Center on Aging

By Malorie Burkett
VCU College of Health Professions
mgburkett@vcu.edu

Dr. Gendron headshot

Tracey Gendron, Ph.D., has been appointed executive director of the Virginia Center on Aging (VCoA).

She will maintain her role as chair of the Department of Gerontology in the VCU College of Health Professions, and replaces Ed Ansello, Ph.D., who retired last November.

“Dr. Gendron is a talented leader and gerontologist, and she has dedicated her career to changing the landscape to facilitate healthy, engaged elderhood,” said Susan Parish, Ph.D., dean of the VCU College of Health Professions. “Her passion and commitment combined with her expertise in this field will help advance the Center’s overall mission.”

Created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1978, the VCoA is a critical part of the College of Health Professions, and serves the entire Commonwealth in its interdisciplinary training, research, information and resource sharing.

“Through continued collaborative efforts with partners across our communities, I am excited to lead the VCoA into the future,” said Gendron. I remain committed to advocating for older Virginians and ensuring that they receive the care and resources they deserve.”

Gendron recently authored a new book titled “Ageism Unmasked,” which is slated to release in March. The book reveals the biases behind society’s false understanding of aging, while sharing powerful opportunities for personal growth and strategies to help create an anti-ageist society.

Gendron received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Central Florida, and both her Master of Science and doctoral degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University. With over 25 years of experience as a gerontologist, she has authored and co-authored over 30 manuscripts and seven book chapters on ageism and aging-related topics. She is frequently quoted in popular media outlets, including the New York Times, the Huffington Post, and U.S. News and World Report. Gendron has spoken about ageism in forums across America and can also be seen and heard as a guest speaker on numerous podcasts and video productions.