Ruth Finkelstein

Ruth Finkelstein

Ruth Finkelstein

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Health Policy and Management


722 W. 168th Street, 4th floor
New York NY USA 10032


Ruth Finkelstein, ScD, translates interdisciplinary scientific knowledge on aging and its societal implications into policy-focused practice. She is Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management, and she is Associate Director of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center. The goal of the her aging policy work is to maximize productivity, quality of life, and health across the life course. She also serves as director of ILC-USA. Prior to joining Columbia, Dr. Finkelstein was the Senior Vice President for Policy and Planning at The New York Academy of Medicine, where she directed the Age-friendly New York City Initiative, which won the 2013 award for "The Best Existing Age Friendly Initiative in the World" from the International Federation on Ageing, as well as the Archstone Award for Excellence in Program Innovation from the American Public Health Association. In 2012, Ruth was named one of the nation's "Game Changers" by Metropolis Magazine for her leadership on the Age-friendly NYC initiative. She also directs the Age Smart Employer Awards program funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Dr. Finkelstein has over thirty years experience in health policy, planning and research, focused on promoting health for vulnerable populations. As an expert in health care financing, HIV/AIDS care, and drug policy, she has led studies that motivated the integration of adherence support and drug treatment into HIV/AIDS care and also authored policy papers that helped provide a public health framework to overturn the Rockefeller drug laws in New York State. She has also provided technical assistance to other cities in the U.S. and around the world on planning, implementation, and evaluation of systems-level aging initiatives.   She received her Doctor of Science from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.



BA, 1977, University of Michigan
MA, 1979, Case Western Reserve University
ScD, 1990, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Columbia Affiliations

Other Affiliations

International Longevity Center
WHO Advisory Committee on Global Network of Age Friendly Communities
The New York Academy of Medicine, Elected Fellow

Honors & Awards

Recipient of Award for Best Existing Age Friendly Initiative in the World, 2013
Recipient of Archstone Award for Excellence in Program Innovation, 2013
The 2012 Havermeyer Award

Areas of Expertise

Aging and Elderly, Healthy Aging and Longevity, Intervention Studies, Community Programs and Outreach, Social Capital, Life-course Approach to Prevention, Global Health, State and Local Reform Models, Incarceration and Recidivism, Addiction/Drug Abuse
Back to Top