Next Avenue’s 2016 Influencers in Aging

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Meet Next Avenue’s 2016 Influencers in Aging. These 50 advocates, researchers, thought leaders, innovators, writers and experts continue to push beyond traditional boundaries and change our understanding of what it means to grow older.

Learn more about this year’s list  |  Read Influencers’ views on aging | View the 2015 list 

The List


Influencer of the Year

Ashton Applewhite

Read Next Avenue’s interview with Applewhite and learn why the author’s crusade against ageism makes her our 2016 Influencer of the Year.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT AGING IN AMERICA, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

“Catalyze a social movement to raise awareness of ageism that would transform the experience of aging in America and make discrimination on the basis of age as unacceptable as racism and sexism. We would no longer see aging as a problem to be ‘fixed’ or a disease to be ‘cured,’ but for what it is: a powerful, natural, lifelong process that connects us all.”

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Michael Adams

Iris Apfel

Anne Basting

Bob Blancato

Don Blandin

Phyllis Borzi

Tim Carpenter

Bruce Chernof

Carol Fishman Cohen

Helen Dennis

Ken Dychtwald

Michael Eisner

Jim Emerman

Elissa Sarah Epel

John Feather

Ruth Finkelstein

Terry Fulmer

Mary Furlong

Eric Garcetti

Teresa Ghilarducci

Howard Gleckman

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Sarita Gupta

Gail Gibson Hunt

Paul Irving

Karyne Jones

Kathleen Kelly

Paul Kleyman

Mark S. Lachs

Mark S. Lachs: Combating Abuse and Neglect

Co-Chief, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Care and Chief, Center for Aging Research and Clinical Care at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian

Dr. Lachs is a renowned geriatrician and gerontologist who has devoted his career to the care of the disenfranchised, including victims of physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse. At Weill Cornell Medical College, his recent research includes a study of the prevalence of resident-to-resident mistreatment in nursing homes and the development of a unique protocol for photographing injuries of victims who come to the emergency department.

And Lachs confronted “medical ageism” in his 2010 book, Treat Me, Not My Age, which examined how older patients’ concerns are often dismissed — or overtreated — based on their age.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT AGING IN AMERICA, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

“I would create an intergenerational ‘Friends are Medicine’ program, based on the compelling science that social forces vastly trump medical forces in ensuring quality of life. Doctors should be paid to include community programs in their treatment, like they are paid for medical procedures. Older adults should be encouraged to work in meaningful roles beyond 65. I would pay young people to befriend older adults in evidence-based ways. The savings would be incalculable and the relief of suffering immeasurable.”


Norman Lear

Carol Levine

Becca Levy

David Lindeman

Richard W. (Dick) Lindsay

Jean Makesh

Siddhartha Mukherjee

S. Jay Olshansky

Susan C. Reinhard

Max Richtman

Charlie Sabatino

Andy Sieg

June Simmons

Betty Reid Soskin

Wendy Spencer

Lesley Stahl

E. Percil Stanford

Sarah Szanton

Louis Tenenbaum

Debra Whitman

Debra Whitman

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