July 2, 2024

Wayne State University professor wins prestigious gerontology award

As 2022 president, Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., welcomed 3,200 people from 38 countries to the Gerontological Society of America's meeting. He recently won the GSA's Kent Award.
As 2022 president, Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., welcomed 3,200 people from 38 countries to the Gerontological Society of America's meeting. He recently won the GSA's Kent Award.

DETROIT — One of the highest honors of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has been bestowed on Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., ABPP, a distinguished service professor of psychology at Wayne State University and the director of its Institute of Gerontology (IOG). Lichtenberg received the 2024 Donald P. Kent Award for exemplifying exceptional standards of professional leadership in gerontology through teaching, service and interpretation of gerontology to the larger society. Lichtenberg has been a member of GSA since 1987 and served as GSA president in 2022.

The award ceremony will take place in November at the Seattle GSA Annual Scientific Meeting, and the award includes an esteemed lectureship at the 2025 GSA meeting. James Appleby, GSA’s chief executive officer, announced the honor on a recent visit to Detroit. The nomination letter outlined numerous examples of Lichtenberg’s leadership being “impactful and impressive,” including 27 years co-directing the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research and prioritizing the IOG’s trainings in aging to reach more than 20,000 health care professionals annually. “Importantly,” the letter states, “he has maintained this level of service and impact over the entire arc of his professional career.”

Lichtenberg has directed the Institute of Gerontology for 25 years. “I wanted older people to become integrated into our research and training,” Lichtenberg said, and the staff of the IOG created a nationally lauded program for older adults and the professionals who serve them. “I wanted research to be applied to the lives of the older adults studied and not just found in the journals where studies were published.”

Lichtenberg brought this commitment to inclusivity of older people into leadership roles in Michigan and across the United States. He has received leadership awards for his work with the Michigan Dementia Coalition, Area Agency on Aging 1-B (including a Lifetime Achievement Award), Elder Law of Michigan and Michigan’s SAVE Task Force.

One of the nation’s first board-certified clinical geropsychologists, Lichtenberg has always been both a clinician and a researcher. “I’m grateful to all of my colleagues across the country who continue to inspire me to do better,” he said.

In the past two decades, he has concentrated his research on understanding financial decision-making and identifying vulnerabilities in older adults that increase their risk of financial exploitation. Thousands of older adults, caregivers, and financial and health services professionals have used his no-cost Older Adult Nest Egg tools to better understand issues of decision-making and risk of exploitation.

Lichtenberg has been interviewed about his work by The New York Times, AARP Magazine, Forbes, NPR’s Marketplace Morning Report, The Economist, MSN, and U.S. News & World Report, among others. “Receiving this award is precious to me,” he said. “I admire all of the previous winners, and to know my nominators thought I was deserving of joining them touches me deeply.”

Faculty spotlight


Cheryl Deep
Phone: 313-664-2607; 248-225-9474
Email: cheryldeep@wayne.edu

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