Tam Perry recognized for work with older adults as a 2020 Gerontological Society of America fellow

Associate Professor Tam Perry from the Wayne State University School of Social Work has been named a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

Perry was awarded GSA fellowship – the highest class of membership – through the Social Research, Policy, and Practice Section in acknowledgment of her outstanding and continuing work in the field of gerontology. GSA is the world’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. Perry’s fellowship was unanimously approved by GSA’s Council after review and recommendations by the GSA Fellowship Committee. Perry will be honored at the GSA Annual Scientific Meeting, tentatively scheduled for November 4-8 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Fellows and International Reception.

Now more than ever, we must work to make sure as cities transform, the older residents’ voices are included, valued for their wisdom and contribute to the road ahead. - Tam Perry

Perry’s ethnographic research addresses housing transitions of older adults from a network perspective. As health, mobility, and kin and peer networks alter, Perry explores how older adults contemplate their homes and its contents. She studies housing transitions because, while aging in place is often preferred and cost-effective, inevitably some older adults will undertake the emotional and physical labor, as well as the negotiation of medical, financial and long-term care infrastructures, involved in relocation. Perry earned her PhD in Social Work and Anthropology from the University of Michigan and her research has been supported by the National Institute on Aging, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. Perry serves as the President of the Association of Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW) and serves as research chair of the Senior Housing Preservation-Detroit, a local coalition linking housing and health for seniors.

“Through research and advocacy in Detroit and partnerships with amazing professionals dedicated to the well-being of seniors, we have been able to highlight the unmet needs of seniors in terms of housing and health, particularly in this global pandemic," stated Perry. "I am grateful for all my collaborators, of all ages and backgrounds, that move this work forward.  I am also grateful to the Gerontological Society of America which has provided me a place to share my research, gain mentors from around the globe and provide incredible insights through its conferences that helped me develop as a scholar.”

Perry’s community rooted research, advocacy and engaged teaching have helped to empower social change for older adults in Detroit and across the nation. We at the School of Social Work are proud the GSA recognizes the invaluable work Perry has done to improve the understanding and care for this diverse vulnerable population.

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