Dr. Morrow-Howell is the director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging. Her area of scholarship is the productive engagement of older adults. In the face of population aging, she wants to find ways that we shape social policies and programs to optimally engage the growing human capital of the older population, for the sake of society and older adults themselves.
As health, education and economic security have generally increased with each generation to date, so has the capacity of individuals to initiate and continue productive activities longer into the life course. “Productive aging” puts forward the fundamental view that the capacity of older adults must be better utilized in activities that make economic contributions to society – working, volunteering and caregiving. This engagement can lead to multiple positive ends: offsetting fiscal strains of a large older population, contributing to the betterment of families and civil society, and maintaining the health of older adults.
Dr. Morrow-Howell’s research, advocacy and educational efforts have centered around changing work environments and employment policies to enable people to work longer; restructuring educational institutions so that individuals can educate themselves across the life course; enabling older adults to engage in volunteer and service work; and supporting caregiving to facilitate involvement and reduce negative effects.