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New Data Fellowship with UMass Boston Gerontology Furthers Justice in Aging’s Equity Advocacy

January 29, 2024

Justice in Aging has created the Justice in Aging Data for Equity Fellowship in order to enhance our ability to use data to strengthen our policy analysis and advocacy in ways that advance equity. This innovative partnership with the Gerontology Institute’s LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston will provide annual support to a UMass Boston gerontology graduate student whose research aligns with Justice in Aging’s priorities and who will train the organization’s staff members on data literacy and analysis. Lack of data specific to older adults broken down by race and other identities has long been a barrier to advancing equitable policies for older adults.

 “I’m so excited about this partnership with UMass Boston Gerontology. The LTSS Center’s long-standing commitment to building an equitable, person-centered LTSS system through applied research will bolster the work of Justice in Aging as well as the entire community of aging and disability advocates,” says Kevin Prindiville, Executive Director of Justice in Aging.

Strong, actionable data is critical for our work to advance equity in aging and will be a powerful tool for us to create and recommend policies to target resources to older adults facing structural discrimination.

“We are proud to launch this new partnership,” says Marc Cohen, PhD, co-director of the LTSS Center. “The fellowship allows us to support Justice in Aging’s mission, which is closely aligned with ours, while supporting a doctoral student and faculty member with a unique applied research and mentorship opportunity.”

Doctoral candidate Andrew Alberth, MS, MPH, the inaugural fellow, will be mentored by Jeffrey Stokes, PhD, assistant professor of gerontology and director of the graduate program. In turn, Alberth will work with the Justice in Aging staff on analyzing and interpreting data.

“I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity to partner with the team at UMass. Strong, actionable data is critical for our work to advance equity in aging and will be a powerful tool for us to create and recommend policies to target resources to older adults facing structural discrimination,” says Denny Chan, Justice in Aging’s Managing Director of Equity Advocacy.

Alberth has experience in community activism and coalition building, including community health work with the AmeriCorps VISTA program. “I came into the program understanding the worth of data,” Alberth says, “but Jeff makes it interesting, more approachable than many professors do.” The two have since collaborated on research and Alberth has served as a teaching assistant for Stokes’ statistics class. Alberth’s research has focused on health disparities in aging, particularly in the LGBTQ+ community.

“Andrew’s work has been very translational, because he’s had one foot in each of these worlds, academic research and advocacy,” says Stokes. “He’s a great fit for this fellowship because he sees statistics and data analysis as an opportunity to get a better understanding of where things are and how we can use data to inform better decision making, especially with regards to equity and inclusion, where we see a lack of data.”

Justice in Aging’s staff members are excited about the new skills they’ll gain in gathering and analyzing data to increase the effectiveness of their advocacy.

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