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ASA is the essential resource to cultivate leadership, advance knowledge, and strengthen the skills of those who work with, and on behalf of, older adults.

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Brian de Vries, Ph.D.

Brian de VriesProfessor
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, CA

What drew you to the field of aging or gerontology?

In the intergenerational household in which I was raised, I was exposed to positive models of healthy aging even as I heard and saw, in the media and beyond, stereotypes and negative views of aging. This discrepancy between what I lived with and what I heard and saw motivated me to better understand the aging process and societal attitudes—this still motivates me today.

What is your specialty or area of interest?

I have three areas of research interest. Primary among these is LGBT aging and trying to understand the challenges and strengths of aging as a member of a sexual minority, under stigmatizing conditions. I am also interested in friendships and the unique and pivotal role friends play in our lives. On the flip side of this issue, I am interested in how we grieve and the role of loss in our lives.

How do ASA’s resources and education help you with your work?

ASA’s commitment to diversity makes it vital to and for my work; nowhere else are the issues of LGBT aging so well represented and integrated into the culture of an organization dealing with the aging population. The annual Aging in America conference always serves as an energy boost and provides direction and colleagues for subsequent work; the webinars serve as regular updates and easily accessed “continuing” education; the publications always give me a handy reference for topical and current issues of aging.

How has your volunteer experience helped you grow as a leader?

I have learned how to think both more broadly and inclusively about some of the many issues of aging; I have met many of the leaders in the field from whom I continue to learn. Click to learn more about volunteer opportunities.

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