Social work research in the area of aging or gerontology includes mental health, the health consequences of aging, family caregiving, aging in diverse communities, prevention, service delivery structures, social work interventions, autonomy, and social workers as members of interdisciplinary teams. It may include end-of-life care, and also encompasses hospice/palliative care, the role of the social worker in caring for the seriously ill, improving quality of life, support systems, difficult decision making, and help in dealing with trauma, grief, and loss.

Aging, Longevity, and End-of-Life

“While my research efforts have been aimed at helping better prepare family members and formal caregivers (especially social workers) to identify and address long term care issues, I am also committed to developing ways to tap the strengths of older adults, regardless of functional abilities, to enjoy this stage of life to the fullest.”
Mercedes Bern-Klug

The UI School of Social Work has a long history of advancing research and training in gerontology. As participants in the Geriatric Enrichment program, faculty incorporated aging content into each foundation course.  With the leadership of faculty who are Hartford Scholars, Hartford Fellows, and pre-dissertation awardees, students have opportunities to learn from national leaders. The School also offers opportunities to MSW students through the Hartford Practicum Partnership in Aging Education. We are the home department for the Aging & Longevity Studies Program at the University of Iowa, which is designed to provide undergraduate and graduate students with a multidisciplinary approach to gerontology. The program offers an undergraduate Certificate, graduate Certificate, or Minor in Aging & Longevity Studies to students from various disciplines. Additionally, our Ph.D. program is noted for its strong leadership in, and mentorship for, research in the area of aging. We also conduct and disseminate research through the National Nursing Home Social Work Network.

Faculty Specializing in this Area

Mercedea Bern-Klug

Mercedes Bern-Klug, M.S.W., Ph.D.

John A. Hartford Geriatric Social Work Scholar
American Association of Social Welfare and Social Work, Fellow
Fulbright Faculty Scholar - Mexico
May Guo

May Guo, Ph.D., FGSA

Associate Professor
Nadia Sabbagh

Nadia Sabbagh Steinberg, L.M.S.W., Ph.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor
Coordinator for Aging and Longevity Studies Program
Sara Sanders

Sara Sanders, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Hartford Faculty Scholar
Yi (April) Wang

Yi (April) Wang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor