ASI Faculty Associate Scott Landes COVID-19 research featured on NPR

COVID-19 Infections And Deaths Are Higher Among Those With Intellectual Disabilities

People with intellectual disabilities and autism who contract COVID-19 die at higher rates than the rest of the population, according to an analysis by NPR of numbers obtained from two states that collect data. They also contract the virus at a higher rate, according to research looking into group homes across the United States.

In Pennsylvania, numbers obtained by NPR show that people with intellectual disabilities and autism who test positive for COVID-19 die at a rate about twice as high as other Pennsylvania residents who contract the illness.

In New York, the state with the most deaths from COVID-19, people with developmental disabilities die at a rate 2.5 times the rate of others who contract the virus.

The numbers in Pennsylvania are compiled by the Office of Developmental Programs of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and count people who get state services while living in group homes, state institutions or in their own homes. As of June 2, there were 801 confirmed cases and 113 deaths among people with intellectual disabilities and autism. In New York, NPR calculated data obtained from the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. Of people who get state services from that office, 2,289 have tested positive for COVID-19 and 368 have died.

The high rate of death “is disturbing, but it’s not surprising,” says Scott Landes, an associate professor of sociology at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Read full article: COVID-19 Infections And Deaths Are Higher Among Those With Intellectual Disabilities




ASI Faculty Affiliate Nina Kohn on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Nina Kohn wrote a piece in The Hill, “Nursing homes need increased staffing, not legal immunity.”

The piece explains how states are eviscerating protections for nursing home residents by granting providers immunity from negligence claims, and why this approach is not only dangerous but unjustified.

To read the full article click here.

ASI Faculty Affiliate, Nina Kohn wrote an Op Ed in The Hill, “Addressing the crisis in long- term care facilities.”

Bodies are piling up in long-term care facilities across the country and spiraling death rates show no signs of subsiding. These facilities are prime breeding grounds for infection. In addition to residents’ inherent vulnerability, measly sick leave policies encourage staff to come to work sick, and low pay leads direct care workers to hold multiple jobs — often at other long-term care facilities.

The result is staff are nearly perfect vectors for COVID-19, as outbreak patterns in Seattle suggest. Indeed, even prior to the pandemic, most nursing homes — including those earning “five stars” on the federal government’s Nursing Home Compare website — had documented infection control problems.  To read the full article click here.

Nina Kohn addresses how ageism has shaped the COVID-19 pandemic in Washington Post article

When the novel coronavirus first emerged, the U.S. response was slowed by the common impression that covid-19 mainly killed older people. Those who wanted to persuade politicians and the public to take the virus seriously needed to emphasize that “It isn’t only the elderly who are at risk from the coronavirus,” to cite the headline of a political analysis that ran in The Washington Post in March. The clear implication was that if an illness “merely” decimated older people, we might be able to live with it. Read full article: The pandemic exposed a painful truth: America doesn’t care about old people






ASI Faculty and Student Presentations at the 2019 Gerontological Society of America Conference

The 2019 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting was held in Austin, Texas, from November 13 to 17, 2019, with the theme, “Strength in Age—Harnessing the Power of Networks.”

The following was the Schedule for the ASI Faculty and Student Presentations.

Wednesday, November 13

Authors: Blakelee Kemp and Jennifer Karas Montez
Abstract Title: Geo-Life Course Determinants of Educational Disparities in U.S. Health
Symposium: Early-Life Influences on Later-Life Health
Time: 4:30 PM  to 6:00 PM
Location: 5B, Level 3

Thursday, November 14

Authors: Janet M. Wilmoth, Scott D. Landes, and Andrew London
Abstract Title: The Health of Male Veterans in Later Life
Symposium: Archives of Gerontlology and Geriatrics: Men’s Health and Aging
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Location: 4BC, Level 3

Authors: Sarah Mawhorter and Jennifer Ailshire
Abstract Title: Housing Affordability and Inter-Regional Moves Among Older Adults
Poster: Environment and Aging
Time: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: EH – 4, Level 1

Authors: Joonsik Yoon
Abstract Title: Avoidant Filial Piety in Korean Immigrant Families: When Do We Talk About Mom and Dad?
Poster: Environment and Aging
Time: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: EH – 4, Level 1

Authors: Claire Pendergrast, Basia Belza, Ann Bostrom and Nicole Errett
Abstract Title: Building Disaster Resilience for Older Adults Aging in Place: The Role of Community-Based Organizations
Poster: SRPP Section Student Poster Award Finalists
Time: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: EH – 4, Level 1

Authors: Scott Landes and Dalton Stevens
Abstract Title: Comparison of age and Biological Sex Mortality Trends Between Adults With and Without Down Syndrome
Symposium: Defining Health Outcomes for Adults Aging with Disability
Time: 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Location: 6A, Level 3

Authors: Vern Bengtson, Merril Silverstein and Camille Endacott
Abstract Title: Spiritual and Religious Change in Later Life
Symposium: Religion, Spirituality, and Aging
Time: 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
Location: 13B, Level 4

Friday, November 15

Authors: Janet M. Wilmoth, Scott D. Landes, and Andrew S. London
Abstract Title: Veteran Mortality Disadvantage among Rural, Suburban, and Urban Residents
Symposium: Gaps and Opportunities to Improve Access to Healthcare for Older Rural Veterans
Time: 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
Location: 18C, Level 4

Authors: Merril Silverstein
Abstract Title: Of Values and P-Values: Using Mixed Methods to Study Families and Religion in the Longitudinal Study of Generations
Symposium: Applying Mixed-Methods Approaches to the Study of Social Ties in Later Life
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: 19AB, Level 4

Authors: Kent Cheng and Janet Wilmoth
Abstract Title: Socioeconomic Determinants of Informal Caregiving in India
Poster: Family Caregiving II
Time: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: EH – 4, Level 1

Authors: Yooumi Lee
Abstract Title: Interrelationships Among Collective Orientation, Attitudes Toward Intergenerational Support and Co-Residence
Poster: Attitudes Toward Aging
Time: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: EH – 4, Level 1

Saturday, November 16

Authors: Ynesse Abdul – Malak and Madonna Harrington Meyer
Abstract Title: Grandparenting Children With Disabilities and Its Impact on Grandparent Health
Paper: Roles and Experiences of Grandparenting
Time: 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
Location: 5A, Level 3 (CC)

Authors: Merril Silverstein, Dongmei Zuo
Abstract Title: 4 Pattern of Health-Related Behaviors and Resources as Predictor of Medical Care and Mortality Risk Among Older Adults
Poster: Health Risk Behaviors
Time: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Location: EH – 4. Level 1

Authors: Mengting Li, Man Guo, Meredith Stensland, Merril Silverstein, and XinQi Dong
Abstract Title: Typology of Family Relationships and Elder Mistreatment in a U.S. Chinese Population
Symposium: Deconstructing the Model-Minority Myth of U.S. Asians: Determinants and Consequences of Elder Mistreatment
Time: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
Location: 7, Level 3

Sunday, November 17

Authors: Maria Brown
Abstract Title: Early Identification of Cognitive Impairment Among Vulnerable Older Adults Living at Home
Paper: Cognitive Functioning Among Diverse Populations
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Location: 11A, Level 4

GSA 2019 Program Book

ASI faculty and students at GSA

Yooumi Lee
Ph.D. student Yooumi Lee
Kent Cheng
Ph.D. student Kent Cheng
Dalton Stevens
Ph.D. student Dalton Stevens
Janet Wilmoth at GSA
Director of ASI Janet Wilmoth
Maria Brown at GSA
Maria Brown granted Fellow Status at GSA 2019


Jennifer Karas Montez awarded R24 grant from NIH National Institute of Aging

Jennifer Karas Montez was awarded a R24 grant from the NIH National Institute of Aging. The R24 mechanism provides infrastructure support for advancing specific high-priority areas of behavioral and social research of relevance to aging. These are highly competitive 5-year grants, awarded to only 7 teams across the country.

Jennifer is the Co-PI on a renewal of the highly successful NIA R24 Network on Life Course Health Dynamics and Disparities in 21st Century America. the purpose of this Network is to stimulate research and disseminate data and analytic resources to better understand trends and disparities in U.S. adult health and longevity across the life course and different geographic contexts.

Merril Silverstein is the Recipient of the Matilda White Riley Distinguished Scholar Award

Merril Silverstein, Marjorie Cantor Professor of Aging Studies, is the recipient of the Matilda White Riley Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Sociological Association’s Section on Aging and the Life Course. This annual award honors a scholar in the field of aging and the life course who has shown exceptional achievement in research, theory, policy analysis, or who has otherwise advanced knowledge of aging and the life course.

Jennifer Karas Montez is the Recipient of the 2019 Milbank Quarterly Early Career Award

The Milbank Quarterly Early Career Award in Population Health recognizes significant contributions to population health science by individuals early in their careers.  The award emphasizes contributions that integrate insights from multiple disciplines contributing distinct bodies of knowledge to the challenge of understanding and addressing population health issues.