Nancy Morrow-Howell


Bettie Bofinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy

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Morrow-Howell is director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging. A national leader in gerontology, she is widely known for her work on productive and civic engagement of older adults. She is editor of the book Productive Aging, published by Johns Hopkins University Press. She is a member of the Gerontological Society of America’s Expert Workgroup on Civic Engagement in an Older America. With support from the Metlife Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Longer Life Foundation, and the National Institute on Aging, she explores strategies to maximize the engagement of older adults in productive roles.

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The pandemic’s impact on older adults

The pandemic’s impact on older adults

Moving through a global pandemic has severely impacted every American, but maybe none more than older people. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on the deleterious effects of deep-seated ageism, sexism and racism on older Americans, suggests a new paper from the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at Washington University in St. Louis.
WashU Expert: Older Americans are not expendable

WashU Expert: Older Americans are not expendable

Many countries reacted slowly and inadequately to the spread of COVID-19. Some critics have said this is due to initial reports of the disease, which indicated that it mainly affected older populations. “Older adults are not some kind of expendable commodity,” said Nancy Morrow-Howell, the Betty Bofinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and an international leader in gerontology.
Morrow-Howell to receive leadership award

Morrow-Howell to receive leadership award

Nancy Morrow-Howell, the Bettie Bofinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy and director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, will receive the Crown Leadership Award Nov. 6 from the Gladys and Henry Crown Center for Senior Living in University City.

Morrow-Howell named president of Gerontological Society of America

Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, the Bettie Bofinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy at the Brown School and director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging in the Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis, is the new president of the Gerontological Society of America, the nation’s largest multidisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging.

Washington People: Nancy Morrow-Howell

Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, is a national leader in gerontology, widely known for her work on productive and civic engagement of older adults. She is also the Bettie Bofinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy at the Brown School, faculty director of productive aging research at the  Center for Social Development and director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, part of the Institute for Public Health, all at Washington University in St. Louis.

When I’m 64: Imagining the future of aging

Today’s freshmen students have a 50 percent chance of living to see their 100th birthdays. They are in the middle of a demographic revolution that will shape every aspect of their lives. A new interdisciplinary course for freshmen introduced this fall, “When I’m Sixty-Four: Transforming Your Future,” aims to prepare students for this aging revolution and to encourage them to examine their present and future lives in more detail.

Triple play

Three beloved longtime Brown School faculty — representing 102 years of scholarship, research and collaboration — were elevated to new positions within the faculty April 2 during an installation ceremony in Brown Lounge.

Morrow-Howell named director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging

Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, the Ralph and Muriel Pumphrey Professor of Social Work at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, is the new director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging effective Jan. 1, announced Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. Morrow-Howell succeeds John C. Morris, MD, the Harvey A. and Dorismae Hacker Friedman Distinguished Professor of Neurology and director of the Alzheimer Disease Research Center, the Memory and Aging Project and the Memory Diagnostic Center at WUSTL. 

Survey looks at experience of mid-life and older adults returning to graduate education

Americans are remaining in the workforce longer and many are changing or advancing their careers well past age 40. “With this trend towards working longer, educational institutions have been trying to figure out their role in keeping up with the needs of our aging society,” says Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, the Ralph and Muriel Pumphrey Professor of Social Work at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. The Brown School decided to study the experiences of their students who came to get their MSW after the age of 40. The survey focuses on pathways to graduate school, their experience in the classroom as well as field, and their post-MSW careers. Morrow-Howell says that these results can be applied to other graduate programs, particularly in fields that may face labor shortages in the future, such as education, health and social services.

Graying world population sparks need for policies and programs that support productive aging

Worldwide, people aged 60 and above will comprise 13.6 percent of the population by 2020, and 22.1 percent of the population by 2050. China is the most rapidly aging country with older adults making up 13 percent of their population. “All countries will need to develop policies and programs that support productive engagement during later life,” says Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, the Ralph and Muriel Pumphrey Professor of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. “There is evidence that productive engagement in later life benefits both older adults and society at large. Expanding opportunities for productive engagement may increase the health and well-being of the older population. At the same time, older adults can be a valuable resource for growth in volunteering, civic service, caregiving, employment, and social entrepreneurship.”

The global demographic shift is a significant opportunity as long as it is in tandem with a policy and cultural shift, say productive aging experts

China’s population of adults over 65 tops 100 million. This number is steadily growing, putting China at the forefront of a global demographic shift that includes the United States and other developed nations. “While a common tendency is to focus on the burdens an aging population will place on a country’s economic and social welfare, an aging society represents an opportunity, not just a crisis,” says Nancy Morrow-Howell, Ph.D., productive aging expert and professor at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. “Expanding opportunities for productive engagement, including paid employment, formal volunteering, and mutual aid, may reduce social costs by reducing health care expenses and need for post-retirement income supports. (Video available)

Morrow-Howell and McCrary win Generations United Award for evaluation of Experience Corps tutoring program

Nancy Morrow-Howell, Ph.D. the Ralph and Muriel Pumphrey Professor of Social Work and Stacey McCrary, project manager, both at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, are winners of the prestigious Generations United 2009 Brabazon Award for Evaluation Research. Morrow-Howell and McCrary are being honored for their work evaluating Experience Corps, an award-winning organization that trains thousands of people over 55 to tutor children in urban public schools across the country.

Study finds students with Experience Corps tutors make 60% more progress in critical reading skills than students without tutors

Tutoring children in and after school isn’t new, but how much does it really help in critical areas like reading? Rigorous new research from Washington University in St. Louis shows significant gains from a national service program that trains experienced Americans to help low-income children one-on-one in urban public schools. The central finding: Over a single school year, students with Experience Corps tutors made over 60 percent more progress in learning two critical reading skills — sounding out new words and reading comprehension — than similar students not served by the program.

Researchers Find Sustained Improvement in Health in Experience Corps Tutors Over 55

Tutors over 55 who help young students on a regular basis experience positive physical and mental health outcomes, according to studies released by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The tutors studied were members of Experience Corps, an award-winning organization that trains thousands of people over 55 to tutor children in urban public schools across the country. Researchers at Washington University’s Center for Social Development assessed the impact of the Experience Corps program on the lives of its members and found that, compared with adults of similar age, demographics and volunteer history, Experience Corps tutors reported improvements in mental health and physical functioning (including mobility, stamina and flexibility) and maintained overall health longer. Video Available

U.S. government should help ‘make volunteering a natural part of later life,’ says productive aging expert

With the first wave of baby boomers preparing for retirement, the 2005 White House Conference on Aging to be held this fall in Washington, D.C., will be an important opportunity to assess aging in America and improve the lives of older Americans. “The demographic revolution is upon us, and there is widespread agreement that we need to do something differently regarding older adults,” says Nancy Morrow-Howell, Ph.D., productive aging expert and the Ralph and Muriel Pumphrey Professor of Social Work in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. “The U.S. government and other service agencies need to expand and create institutions that make volunteering a natural part of later life,” she says.

Washington University to host “Maximizing Civic Engagement of Older Adults,” an official White House Conference on Aging event, Feb. 15

With the first wave of baby boomers preparing for retirement, the 2005 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) will be an important opportunity to assess aging in America and improve the lives of older Americans. St. Louis will play a significant role in shaping the discussion at the conference through “Maximizing Civic Engagement of Older Adults,” a public forum and official WHCOA event hosted by the George Warren Brown School of Social Work and the Center for Aging at Washington University 9 a.m. Feb. 15 in Brown Lounge.

Just a few hours of volunteering a week positively affects the well-being of older Americans

Photo courtesy of The OASIS InstituteVolunteering can have a positive effect on the overall well-being of older Americans.Looking to chase away the winter blues? Interested in staying active after retirement? Need a boost to your health? Try volunteering at your church or a neighborhood organization for a few hours a week — it could do you a world of good. Just two hours of volunteering a week can have a positive effect on the overall well-being of older Americans, according to a study from the George Warren Brown (GWB) School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. The researchers found that older adults who volunteered had better assessments than non-volunteers on three measures of well-being: daily functioning, self-rated health and self-rated depression.

Older Americans in the workforce essential to economic future

Older workers enrolled in a computer training class.Some economists predict that by 2030, the United States could experience a labor shortage of 35 million workers. Many businesses, including retail giants such as Wal-Mart and McDonalds, have responded to a looming labor shortage by encouraging older workers to remain in the workforce. But a recent study issued by the U.S. General Accounting Office finds that many of the government’s existing employment assistance programs are not providing computer training and other high-tech skills to workers over the age of 55, a demographic that may soon constitute roughly one-third of the entire American workforce. Nancy Morrow-Howell, Ph.D., a professor of social work at Washington University in St. Louis and a leader in the emerging field of productive aging research, contends that America’s economic future may well hinge on our ability to help older adults continue making contributions to society.