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Washington State University


The GATHER (Generating Aging and Translational Health Equity Research) Lab is a collaborative research effort led by Dr. Raven Weaver & Dr. Cory Bolkan.

The world population is changing and for the first time in human history, there are more older people than children. In the U.S., 20% of the population will be aged 65 and older within a decade (U.S. Census Bureau). The dramatic increases in life expectancy have greatly altered the experience of aging for individuals, families, communities, and societies and create many unique opportunities and urgent challenges for policy makers, practitioners, and researchers.

Adult development and aging are complex, multifaceted processes of growth and change that unfold over an entire lifetime, from birth to death. We recognize that early life experiences, as well as accumulated advantage and disadvantage, shape outcomes in later life and that intersectional identities (e.g., race, age, class, ability, gender, sexual orientation) are associated with unequal aging due to differences in power, resources, and life chances. We believe in the integration of research from diverse perspectives to improve health and achieve health equity.

The overall aims of our research are to improve the health and well-being of a diverse population of older adults and their families, prepare and strengthen the future geriatric workforce, and inform local and national aging policies and programs.

Follow the GATHER Lab on Twitter!

Land Acknowledgement 

The GATHER Lab is co-located across Washington state in the cities of Pullman and Vancouver. In Pullman, the lab is located on the homelands of the Palus people and the lands of the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) Tribe. In Vancouver, the lab is located on the homelands of Chinookan and Taidnapam peoples and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. We would like to acknowledge their presence here since time immemorial and recognize their continuing connection to the land, the water, and their ancestors. We also want to thank these communities, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations.

News & Noteworthy

Bringing a lifespan perspective to the Society for Prevention Research conference

Raven presented a paper about Social Connectedness during COVID-19 as a part of the Application of Prevention Science across the Life Span to Understand Differential Health Behavior Outcomes Due to Physical Distancing Measures symposium. Although social connectedness decreased after restrictions were implemented for all age groups, individuals in the earliest and latest life stages felt the greatest impact of changing social connectedness. Intentionality of creating social connections seems to be a protective factor for older adults. As the symposium discussant, Cory provided insight about the importance of taking a lifespan perspective.

Saying hello to goodbye, Drs. Bolkan and Weaver on the importance of a course on death and dying

“We don’t like talking about it, and we certainly don’t want to experience it.” Drs. Bolkan and Weaver share insights about supporting each other through grief from the pandemic and the importance of having difficult conversations with loved ones.

Olivia Davis receives Crimson Award at the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities

Olivia Davis presented her project “A scoping review: Educational Training for healthcare professionals about sexual health and behavior in later life” at the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Students. She received the a Crimson Award, which is presented to students receiving the very top scores in their category! Way to go, Olivia!

Raven speaks about her research at 'Coffee Chat'

Recently, Raven spoke at a Coffee Chat held by the Emeritus Society of Washington State University to discuss her research and the important health issues impacting older adults, as well as their resilience during the COVID-19 crisis.

Autumn Decker discusses Gerontology Program at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Autumn Decker gives an overview of the Applied Gerontology Certificate she completed during her tenure at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee including the strengths of the program, how completing the certificate helped her career and advice for future students!

Cory Bolkan speaks about older adults and challenges to aging in place

Cory discusses targeted solutions for aging in place and equity, especially for the older LGBTQ+ population.

Cory and Raven discuss their Death and Dying course offered at WSU

This Daily Evergreen article covers Death and Dying (HD_360), a course taught both on Pullman and Vancouver campuses. Read to find out more about this course and what Cory and Raven have to say!

Cory Bolkan speaks with Dr. Universe about why we age

Cory discusses the question: Why do we age? with Dr. Universe, a science-education project through Washington State University. Cory shares the science behind aging and why we age.

Take Care! How to Handle The Trying Times

Washington State Magazine featured an article on how to handle trying times. Read here to see what Raven and Cory had to say about their current projects related to the COVID-19 Pandemic and more.

Cory Bolkan shares results from her study regarding technology and aging in place

Cory shares results from her project: Technology to Support Aging in Place (TSAP): A Community-Based Partnership for Older Adults with Heart Failure. These results include how hospital admissions could be reduced among underserved individuals.

Listen to a radio interview Raven gave on the services needs of rural older adults

Listen to Raven give a radio interview with Pacific Northwest AG Network on the service needs of rural older adults in Washington State.

Cory is featured on a Washington State Magazine article

Cory discusses her research with personality, health and aging in an article focused on Bernice Lavine, an actress and WSU alum. A great read about views on aging and creativity.