The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging, has elected Karen Lincoln, associate professor at the USC School of Social Work, as a fellow in its behavioral and social sciences section.
Fellowship — the highest class of membership — was awarded to Lincoln for her outstanding research contributions in the field.
“Being awarded fellow status by GSA is truly an honor, and I am pleased to have my work recognized,” said Lincoln, who will be formally inducted in a ceremony at GSA’s 67th annual scientific meeting in November.
An expert in the area of mental health disparities, particularly the well-being of African-Americans, Lincoln was recently ranked among the most influential African-American social work scholars in the United States, according to a list published in Research on Social Work Practice.
One of her most significant studies revealed that race alone does not predict depression risk, confirming her theory that racial differences shouldn’t be the only factor considered when treating health disorders because it can lead to the under-diagnosis and under-treatment of African-Americans, who are considered to have a lower risk when, in fact, some are high risk.
Lincoln is currently examining how mental health disorders relate to physical health problems such as obesity. She recently published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved and received funding from the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute to support her work in this area with the goal of finding hidden linkages that will lead to more encompassing intervention strategies.
Lincoln is also a senior scientist at the USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging and director of the new USC Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work whose mission is to develop culturally competent practitioners and scholars in geriatric social work to serve and advocate for minority older adults at all levels of practice and policy.
A Hartford Faculty Scholar, Lincoln maintains an active research portfolio while still finding time to teach graduate courses, mentor graduate students and emerging scholars, and provide service to the university and the community. She is also founder and chair of Advocates for African American Elders, which serves as a voice in the development of policies and culturally relevant programs that impact services to African-American seniors in Los Angeles.
Along with funding from The John A. Hartford Foundation GSA, her research is supported by a number of different agencies within the National Institutes of Health, including the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Mental Health.