Center for Optimal Aging director receives prestigious GSA award

Director of Center for Optimal Aging receives award from the Gerontological Society of America


Dr. Patricia C. Heyn, the founding Director of Marymount University’s Center for Optimal Aging, has achieved national recognition through the recently announced annual awards from the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

The country’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging, it acknowledged 23 individuals this week through its prestigious awards program. Dr. Heyn was honored with the Excellence in Rehabilitation of Aging Persons Award, a recognition within the Health Sciences section of the Society that acknowledges outstanding contributions in the field of rehabilitation of aging persons.

“I am incredibly honored to be selected for this very competitive and prestigious award by our distinguished colleagues from the geriatric rehabilitation sciences community,” Dr. Heyn said. “This award recognizes the greatest minds who have made a unique and important contribution to the quality of life of our older adults. To me, it also represents a career milestone and carries great responsibility, as I am the first Latina scientist to receive the GSA Excellence in Rehabilitation of Aging Persons Award. More than ever, I feel inspired and committed to championing a diverse and inclusive scientific culture that fosters high standards of health equity for all and serves as a role model for our underrepresented students to pursue their dreams.”

In early November, Dr. Heyn’s award will be presented at GSA’s 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting in Indianapolis, an event organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process.

“GSA salutes outstanding research, recognizes distinguished leadership in teaching and service and fosters new ideas through a host of awards,” the organization said in its announcement. “Nominated by their peers, the recipients’ achievements serve as milestones in the history and development of gerontology.”

With more than 25 years of experience in conducting research, educational activities, services and advocacy in gerontology and rehabilitation sciences, Dr. Heyn has published over 100 peer-reviewed scientific abstracts, book chapters and articles. She is renowned for her exceptional research in the evaluation of exercise programs for Alzheimer’s disease, and is also a leader in the development of innovative scientific training and mentoring activities aimed at increasing the diversity of the biomedical science workforce.

As founding Director of the Center for Optimal Aging, Marymount’s first interdisciplinary research hub, Dr. Heyn will help drive and advance gerontological innovations, discoveries and solutions to promote a meaningful, enriching and dignifying life for all. The Center will foster innovative academic-community partnerships by connecting interdisciplinary teams of scientists, professionals, trainees, students and stakeholders to properly address the needs and quality of life of the older adult population.