Dr. Ruth Finkelstein, the Rose Dobrof Executive Director of the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College, has been named the recipient of the 2019 Maggie Kuhn Award, given by the PSS, a nonprofit agency formerly known as Presbyterian Senior Services whose mission is to strengthen the capacity of older New Yorkers to thrive.
The Maggie Kuhn Award was presented at a special ceremony on May 2 at Club 101.
Dr. Finkelstein, who joined Brookdale in January 2018, was recognized for her more than 30 years of leadership in health policy, planning and research—as well as her tireless advocacy for older adults—focused on rethinking the pathways to best meet the challenges of aging while embracing its opportunities. Framing aging as a natural part of life, she has long been dedicated to combatting ageism, promoting diversity in age-related research, and fostering programs to help seniors live rich, engaging lives.
“Dr. Finkelstein has long been committed to helping older New Yorkers—not just to survive, but to thrive,” said Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab. “Our thought leader around aging and health, she knows how to promote policies and effect change through strategic use of applied research, training, and community engagement. Aging isn’t always easy, but appreciating Dr. Finkelstein’s contributions to support New York’s seniors is.”
Prior to coming to Hunter, Dr. Finkelstein held positions at Columbia University and the New York Academy of Medicine. She directed the Age-friendly New York City Initiative and the Age Smart Employer Awards program funded by the Alfred P. Sloan foundation. In 2012, Metropolis Magazine named her one of the nation’s “Game Changers.”
Given annually, the Maggie Kuhn Award was established in 1995 in honor of the founder of the Grey Panthers, an activist organization dedicated to fighting for justice for older Americans. The award recognizes modern-day inheritors of Maggie Kuhn’s legacy, people who “exemplify advocacy and civic commitment to older adults following in the tradition of that great champion.” Previous winners of the Maggie Kuhn Award include Margaret Chin, Chair of the NYC Council Committee on Aging; Cynthia Stuen, Ph.D., United Nations Representative for the International Federation on Aging; Gray Panthers NYC; Dr. Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, who serves as Senior Advisor to President Jennifer J. Raab; and, in 1999, Rose Dobrof, pioneer in the field of social gerontology and the founder of Brookdale.
PPS, originally founded as a local volunteer organization to serve older members of a church community, has expanded its base and its ambitions and now employs more than 70 dedicated staff, with a team of more than 250 volunteers and interns.