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headshot of Ayn Welleford

E. Ayn Welleford MS, PhD

Associate Professor & Gerontologist for Community Voice

Email: ewellefo@vcu.edu


  • Adult Development
  • Adult Family Life Cycle
  • Ethical Decision Making and Human Values
  • Bridging Classroom and Community through Community-University Collaboration


  • PhD in Developmental Psychology, from Virginia Commonwealth University
  • MS in Gerontology from Virginia Commonwealth University
  • BA in Management / Psychology from Averett University

Research Interests

  • Innovations in Community-University Partnerships
  • Family Relations and Family Care
  • Elderhood


Dr. Welleford has taught extensively in the areas of Lifespan Development, and Developmental Gerontology, Geropsychology, as well as Ethical Decision Making and Human Values.

As Associate Professor and Gerontologist for Community Voice she currently works to make our community a great place for all people to GROW older by bridging classroom and community.

Currently, Dr. Welleford serves as co-lead of the Longevity Project for a greater Richmond with Senior Connections Executive Director Amy Strite. She has been known to say, “Let’s do something that does something.”


  • 2018 Phoebe and Frank Hall Humanitarian Award, from Senior Connections, for her significant advocacy, Contributions, and Leadership.
  • 2017 Humanitarian Award, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities
  • 2015 Richmond History Makers for work on the Greater Richmond Age Wave,  encouraging regional collaboration
  • 2012 Mary C. Payne Leadership in Aging Award for her visionary leadership as a trailblazer in the field of aging
  • 2011 AGHE Distinguished Teacher Award
  • 2011 Alzheimer's Association Advocacy for person centered dementia care and work on Virginia’s Statewide Dementia Plan
  • 2007-2011, Chair of the Governor's Commonwealth of Virginia Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Commission


  • Aging for Life Training, Greater Richmond Age Wave Coalition 
  • Person Centered Personal Care Aide School, 2019
  • Gendron, T., Inker, J., & Welleford, E.A. (2018). “How Old Do You Feel?” The Difficulties and Ethics of Operationalizing Subjective Age. The Gerontologist.
  • Gendron, T., Inker, J., & Welleford, E.A. (2017). A Theory of Relational Ageism: A Discourse Analysis of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. The Gerontologist.
  • Arbogast. C., Welleford, E. A., & Netting, E., (2015). State Dementia Plans and the Alzheimer's Disease Movement: Framing Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Motivation. Journal of Applied Gerontology.
  • Welleford, E. A. & Netting, F. E. (2013). Taking a broader look at preparing for boomer volunteers: Beyond tips and tricks. The International Journal of Volunteer Administrators, XXIX, (3), 23-30.
  • Ligon, M. B.,Ehlman, MC., Moriello, G. & Welleford, E. A. (2009). Oral History in the Classroom: Fostering Positive Attitudes toward Older Adults and the Aging Process. Journal of Aging, Humanities and the Arts. 3(1), 59-72.
  • Welleford, E. A., Parham, I. A., Coogle, C. L., Netting, F. E., Burke, A. L., & Boling, P. (2005). The Emergence of a Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Training Certificate: A University-Community Partnership. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 24(3), 248-261.
  • Cotter, J. J., Welleford, E. A., Vesley-Massey, K. (2003) Town and Gown Collaborative Research: Challenges And Opportunities. Family and Community Health: Community Based Innovations in Older Populations 26(4), 329-337.