Feb. 25 2014

Research capacity at the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center, which launched at the Mailman School as a university-wide center in January, has grown more robust with the appointment of three new research scientists. 

Ursula M. Staudinger, PhD, Center director and Robert N. Butler Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and professor of psychology, announced the arrival of David Weiss, PhD, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences, and Anne K. Reitz, PhD, post-doctoral research scientist in psychology. Dr. Ruth Finkelstein, who will also be a faculty member of the Department of Health Policy and Management, begins in April as the Associate Director of the CAC’s International Longevity Center. All three will contribute to the Columbia Aging Center’s mission to better understand the aging process and its implications for societies with longer lifespans seeking to maximize productivity, quality of life, and healthcare.


Aging scholars Anne Reitz, David Weiss, Ursula Staudinger, and Ruth Finkelstein to investigate the aging process and its wider implications for society.

“The Columbia Aging Center’s ability to study and promote healthy and productive aging takes on new dimensions as we welcome these new researchers,” said Dr. Staudinger.  “Drs. Weiss, Reitz, and Finkelstein bring an unusual combination of theoretical and practical knowledge to an expanding field, as well as the unique perspectives of psychology, anthropology, and public policy.”

David Weiss comes to Columbia Mailman from the University of Zurich, where he has taught since 2009.  His research focuses on societal perceptions of older adults and collective identity in later adulthood.  He earned his PhD in psychology at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.

Anne Reitz earned her PhD in psychology at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, and was a fellow of the International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course. She has conducted research on the role of social and cultural contexts in personality development.

Ruth Finkelstein joins the Center from the New York Academy of Medicine, where as senior vice president for policy and planning, she translates research into policies designed to promote healthy aging. One of the original architects of the Ryan White CARE Act, she has worked with the New York City Council and Office of the Mayor and is currently director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Aging, Globalization and Urbanization and the Age Friendly New York City initiative. With the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Dr. Finkelstein created the Age Smart Employer Awards, which were given out for the first time this February. Dr. Finkelstein earned her doctorate in health policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The Columbia Aging Center plays a key role in the Mailman School’s expanding interest in the effect of longer lifespans on health, the built environment, and support for intergenerational exchange.