Join Us for an Upcoming Gerontology Info Session

VCU’s Department of Gerontology in the College of Health Professions was founded in 1976 and remains the only MS in Gerontology in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our mission to promote optimal aging for individuals and communities is evident through our innovative graduate and continuing education, scholarship, and university-community partnerships. Our graduates further our person-centered, transdisciplinary mission all over the country and globe.

Join VCU Gerontology Dept. Chair Dr. Tracey Gendron and Gerontology Program Director Prof. Jen Pryor at one of our upcoming info sessions. Select the topic that piques your interests and goals, and register today. 

Public Health and Gerontology | Wednesday, November 10 11:00 – 11:30am

Learn about the types of careers available to gerontologists within the field of public health. From safety and medication management to administrative leadership and policy in public health -- there is a path for anyone interested in this exciting and impactful field of study. Click here to register

Your New Career: Opportunities for Gerontology Newcomers | Wednesday, January 12, 2022 11:00 – 11:30am

Has the pandemic changed the way you feel about your life -- and your career? Join us to learn about gerontology as an ideal field for a new career path, with flexible opportunities and meaningful, impactful work. Students not only uncover a wealth of knowledge about the societal impacts of aging and the fascinating science behind this life stage, but embark on a personal journey to learn about themselves, their communities, and their career opportunitiesClick here to register

Assisted Living Administration: Open the Door to this Career | Wednesday, February 9, 2022 11:00 – 11:30am

Be the change and usher in a new era of leadership in the field of assisted living. VCU Gerontology is the top choice for anyone looking to join this field or enhance their career. With licensed Assisted Living Facility Administrators who are also faculty members in the VCU Department of Gerontology, VCU Gerontology has the only NAB accredited degree program earning a Master’s in Gerontology with an Assisted Living Administration emphasis in the United States. Click here to register

BONUS Feb. Info Session: Learn about the 15-credit graduate certificate in aging studies | Wednesday, February 16, 2022 11:00 – 11:30am

VCU Gerontology's mission to promote optimal aging for individuals and communities is evident through our innovative graduate and continuing education, scholarship, and university-community partnerships. Our graduates further our person-centered, transdisciplinary mission all over the country and globe. Join VCU Gerontology Dept. Chair Dr. Tracey Gendron and Gerontology Program Director Prof. Jen Pryor to learn all about the 15-credit graduate certificate in aging studies! A key opportunity for all interested in this rapidly growing population and field. Click here to register

Dementia and Brain Health Research Opportunities at VCU Gerontology | Wednesday, March 9, 2022 11:00 – 11:30am

Learn about exciting research and ongoing initiatives at VCU Gerontology and the Virginia Center on Aging related to brain health, cognitive decline, and dementias. Myriad opportunities for students exist within this growing field, from rigorous academic research to nonprofit administration and support, and more. Click here to register

Policy and Advocacy in Gerontology | Wednesday, April 13, 2022 11:00 – 11:30am

Our alumni are changing the world. Join us to learn about how VCU Gerontologists can make an impact in public policy and advocacy work. The career opportunities for VCU gerontologists are wide in scope and practice. Gerontologists lead policy implementation and advocate for a better future for elders today, and for the elders of tomorrow (in other words, all of us!). Click here to register

Social Justice at VCU Gerontology | Wednesday, May 11, 2022 11:00 – 11:30am

Hear about VCU Gerontology’s mission to end ageism that seeps through every layer of daily discourse in society. All gerontology programs include the scientific study of age, aging, and the aged, including aspects of the social, psychological, and physical/biological spheres of aging. But for VCU Gerontology, it’s a social movement and academic program rolled into one. VCU Gerontologists shift culture for the better, in order to improve outcomes for our communities and to liberate ourselves. Click here to register


VCU honors Annie Rhodes as one of its top 10 graduates of the last decade

Annie Rhodes has been named by her alma mater, Virginia Commonwealth University, as one of the university’s top 10 graduates of the past decade.

Featured News Photo for Annie Rhodes Top 10
VCU Alumni’s 10 Under 10 awards celebrate alumni who earned their first VCU degree within the past 10 years and who have enjoyed remarkable professional success, made important contributions to their community and/or loyally supported the university. Rhodes, a research associate in the VCU Department of Gerontology, graduated in 2017 with an M.S. from the VCU College of Health Professions.

When Rhodes began working at a care community at age 16, she had no idea she would find her life’s purpose as an advocate for older adults. But that positive experience showed her how aging is a common experience among humans and the value of fostering a deeper understanding of the physical, mental and societal impact.

Rhodes’ interest in the implications of aging led her to pursue a master’s degree in gerontology at VCU’s College of Health Professions in 2015. The opportunities to grow and VCU’s focus on service learning kept her there as a Ph.D. student in health science, with a concentration in gerontology; she’s studying the impact of health practices among low-income elders with faculty at the Department of Gerontology

“The more I understand the socioeconomic disparities that exist in aging, the more passionate I am about advocating for older adults,” Rhodes declares. “We are all aging people, so any investment in infrastructure or supports for older adults are interests we should all share.”

The heightened risks elders face because of COVID-19 put a spotlight on their needs — and deficiencies in the health care system. “I was immediately frightened for them when the pandemic hit,” she says. Besides the dangers of social isolation that already existed for older individuals, she was most disturbed by the ageism and hostility she witnessed in the form of discriminatory rhetoric suggesting older people are a more expendable segment of the population. This messaging only reinforced her deeply held belief that integrating older adults into the larger community is more important than ever.

For Rhodes, this bridge-building starts with pursuing allyship with marginalized communities and promoting diversity in gerontology research — which first requires building trust. “Coalition building and community partnerships are a big part of my personal mission.” That in turn drives her goal of broader community awareness and engagement to create lasting change. She has a strong interest in increasing the quality of education for nursing homes, which she has been able to foster through the VCU COVID Action Network’s Project ECHO, a mentoring-based learning network or nursing homes.

As she continues to tackle challenges and opportunities in front of her, Rhodes’ thoughtful approach is clear. “I think more than anything I’ll just be listening. And whatever answers the community gives, I’ll be acting on that.” To learn more about the 10 Under 10 awards program, visit

About VCU and VCU Health: Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 217 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System.

About VCU Alumni: The VCU Office of Alumni Relations nurtures lifelong relationships with and among current and future VCU alumni. It offers valuable benefits and programs for alumni and creates support for VCU. For more, see

Inker receives Gold Award and Gendron receives Bronze Award

Gendron_Inker award picture of both FacultyJenny Inker, assistant professor and co-director for Assisted Living Administration and Tracey Gendron, chair and associate professor in the Department of Gerontology, recently were honored with Innovative Research on Aging Awards. The awards recognize excellent applied research that offers important implications for the senior living industry.

Healthier together: Confronting loneliness and health care challenges among older adults

Jodi Winship, Ph.D., an associate professor of occupational therapy for the College Health Professions worked in conjunction with Elvin Price (a professor at the School of Pharmacy) and Pam Parsons(an associate professor at the School of Nursing) to examine the affects of long term lack of social connections among older adults. The article below describes how they created and evolved the Richmond Health and Wellness Program to help older adults in need especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.


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VCoA Received CARES Act Covid Funding

The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded $90,625 to the Virginia Center on Aging to support VCoA’s Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program in preventing, preparing for and responding to COVID-19. Much of GWEP’s face-to-face training is now being conducted. These funds allow for the purchase of telehealth equipment and the training of health professions students and clinicians to deliver quality telehealth care services during the COVID-19 pandemic.