By Maria Palomino
Boston College has named James E. Lubben professor emeritus for his many contributions to the School of Social Work (BCSSW) and the fields of gerontology and social welfare. Teacher, scholar, and researcher, Lubben is an expert on health and welfare systems for aging populations. He is also professor emeritus at UCLA, where he taught for 20 years and was the associate dean and chair of the Department of Social Welfare.
“Professor Lubben’s leadership around the development of the Grand Challenges in Social Work and his research on older adults have advanced the field of social work and directly contributed to the high regard and strong reputation of the School of Social Work as an innovator in improving the lives of the elderly,” said BCSSW Dean Gautam N. Yadama.
A member of the BCSSW faculty and chair of the doctoral program since 2003, Lubben was the inaugural Louise McMahon Ahearn Endowed Professor in Social Work. He was the founding director of the University’s Institute on Aging and director of the International Doctoral Program in Social Welfare at Boston College, a program established in 2011 through grant funding and in partnership with three Jesuit universities in Latin America.
A recognized authority on social gerontology and social welfare systems, Lubben developed the influential Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS)—a clinical and research tool used to gauge the influence of social connection on an older individual’s health and well-being. He has advised the World Health Organization and served four terms on the Geriatrics and Gerontology Advisory Committee for the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He also served on three national boards of social work education and was the founding director of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s Doctoral Fellows Program in Geriatric Social Work, which provided dissertation grants to over 100 social work doctoral students throughout the United States.
A prodigious researcher, Lubben has been principal investigator or collaborator on more than $35 million in research and training grants. He has authored more than 100 articles and chapters and six books, including his 2018 co-edited book, Grand Challenges of Social Work and Society, which features research findings from eight of his BCSSW colleagues.
In 2014, he received the Career Achievement Award from the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work for his leadership in the field of gerontology and his commitment to mentoring students and faculty interested in aging.