Ruth Finkelstein, ScD
Dr. Finkelstein has devoted the last decade to transformation of our understanding of aging from a state of decline to a stage in the life course full of challenge and opportunity.
Most recently, she served as the Associate Director of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center as well as faculty member at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. There, she was responsible for translation of research to policy and practice, particularly in the areas of work, engagement, and built and social environments promoting aging well. Signature initiatives at Columbia included The Age Smart Employer Awards, honoring businesses who value workers of all ages, including older workers; The Age Boom Academy, an intensive annual course educating working journalists about specific topics in aging; and Exceeding Expectations, long form journalism and digital narrative following 20 New Yorkers over 81.
Prior to Columbia, Dr. Finkelstein was the architect of Age Friendly New York City, the award-winning initiative to make New York a great place to grow old. This public-private partnership between the Mayor’s Office, City Council, and The New York Academy of Medicine built upon the World Health Organization’s strategy. Age Friendly New York City focused initially on helping businesses better serve their older customers, enhancing the access of older adults to universities, and helping neighborhoods to address the specific issues of their older residents (Aging Improvement Districts). Program and policy change was realized in pools, parks, streets, schools, senior centers, and housing. Dr. Finkelstein’s work has won awards, including “The Best Existing Age Friendly City in the World,” 2013 and the Archstone Award. She has also been individually honored with a “Game Changer, 2012” award from Metropolis Magazine and as one of Next Avenue’s 2016 “Influencers in Aging.