The Rutgers School of Public Health has launched a Population Aging Concentration within the Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy.

The concentration - developed in response to the growing demand for professionals equipped to address the needs of older adults - will train researchers, clinicians, and community leaders who can develop and implement creative public health programs and policy solutions to align with the nation’s changing demographics.

Older adults are the fastest growing segment of the United States population, with more people aged 65 and over by 2035 than children. Older adults are more likely to experience chronic diseases as well as serious life-limiting illnesses, age-related dementias, and are at a heightened risk for suicide, all of which pose an enormous burden on families.

“There are shortages of clinicians, like geriatricians, geriatric psychiatrists, geriatric psychologists, geriatric nurses, and geriatric social workers; moreover, clinical training alone cannot mitigate the profound structural problems wrought by the demographic transition,” said Paul Duberstein, professor and chair of the Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy at the Rutgers School of Public Health.

The good news is that environments and behaviors can influence healthy aging at the individual and population levels. Public health workers, researchers, and advocates with training in aging are well positioned to collaborate with other community leaders on facilitating systems and planning environments that can promote equitable healthy aging.

Professionals trained in public health and policy will need to develop lasting solutions to address looming caregiver shortages, under-resourced long-term services and support programs, and siloed end-of-life care, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the country.

“In order to fully address the needs of the aging population and their complex intersectional identities, we have developed the Population Aging Concentration – the only such program in New Jersey - which will train a new generation of agile leaders who will be ready to develop and implement creative programs and policy solutions to align with the needs of older Americans,” said Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health.

The Population Aging Concentration, which currently offers a Master of Public Health degree, will begin accepting students in the Spring of 2021. Clinicians like physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers, family therapists, occupational therapists, as well as those working in public health, policy, or related fields and who have an interest in older adults and their families should consider applying.

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Rutgers School of Public Health

The Rutgers School of Public Health - New Jersey’s leading academic institution in public health - is committed to advancing health and wellbeing and preventing disease throughout New Jersey, the United States, and the world, by preparing students as public health leaders, scholars, and practitioners; conducting public health research and scholarship; engaging collaboratively with communities and populations; and actively advocating for policies, programs, and services through the lens of equity and social justice. Learn how the Rutgers School of Public Health is "keeping the ‘public’ in public health,” by visiting them at