USFSM gerontologist Kathy Black, PhD, will assist a World Health Organization healthy-aging program.

USF Sarasota-Manatee professor to join World Health Organization outreach effort

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: November 27, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. (Nov. 27, 2019)University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee professor Kathy Black, PhD, is bringing her work in gerontology to the global stage by joining a World Health Organization (WHO) effort to promote healthy aging.

Black, a professor of aging studies, public health and social work in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, will travel to the organization’s headquarters in Geneva next month for two days of training ahead of the program’s launch early next year.

“The goal of the program is to help English-speaking countries understand principals and adopt policies that support healthy aging,” Black, a gerontologist, said.

Black’s role will be to assist community and governmental officials who enroll in the 12-week online course to promote age-friendly services and programs in their communities. If successful, the program will be rolled out worldwide, potentially expanding Black’s work with the global organization.

“This is very prestigious and I am truly honored to be a part of this program and to represent USFSM,” she said. “I am most excited about the idea of promoting healthy aging worldwide to make a difference in the lives of so many people.”

This is not Black’s first interaction with the World Health Organization, which designates communities as “age-friendly” and oversees a network linking them. In April 2016, she addressed WHO officials about Age-Friendly Sarasota and its effort to promote active, engaged and healthy living for people across their lifespan.

In addition, Black frequently lectures across the United States about age-friendly principles and practices, which can range from easy-access public transportation to building codes that encourage housing adapted to elderly and handicapped people.

Black was contacted about assisting the WHO three months ago. She’ll join two dozen other health experts in tutoring governmental leaders from a half-dozen countries.

“This program takes a macro focus with respect to aging,” Black said. “The main idea is to promote policy changes that can encourage people to lead better, healthier lives, which is so important as we get older.” For more about USF Sarasota-Manatee, visit

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