Prominent professor, gerontology expert Robert Binstock passes away

Well-known faculty member and academic Robert Binstock, PhD, passed away Monday evening. Binstock was the professor of Aging, Health and Society but served in a variety of roles across the university. He held primary appointments in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics in the School of Medicine and in the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, where he also served as faculty associate in the University Center on Aging and Health. He held secondary appointments in the bioethics, medicine, political science and sociology departments.

“Professor Binstock was an extraordinarily talented and prolific academic whose work has had a major impact on public health efforts in gerontology, and a broadly engaged university citizen who contributed across our campus,” said Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III.

Binstock won the 2010 Frank and Dorothy Humel Hovorka Prize from Case Western Reserve University, recognizing his accomplishments in the classroom, his enduring research and his continued endeavors in the fields of gerontology and geriatrics.

A former president of the Gerontological Society of America, Binstock served as director of a White House Task Force on Older Americans and as chairman and member of a number of advisory panels to the federal, state and local governments and foundations.  He was also a former chair of the Gerontological Health Section of the American Public Health Association, and he frequently testified before the U.S. Congress. He was a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on an Aging Society.

Binstock published more than 300 articles, book chapters, monographs, and books. Most of them deal with politics and policies affecting aging. His 26 authored and edited books include Aging Nation: The Economics and Politics of Growing Older in America (2008), and seven editions of the Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences, with the latest published in 2011.

Highly regarded in his field, in the last year alone, he received the 2011 M. Powell Lawton Award from the Gerontological Society of America, the 2010 Distinguished Professor Award from the UCLA Academic Geriatric Resource Center.

Other honors throughout his career include the Kent Award; the Brookdale Award; the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Key Award from the American Public Health Association’s Gerontological Health Section; the American Society on Aging Award; the American Society on Aging’s Hall of Fame Award; and the Ollie A. Randall Award from the National Council on Aging. Binstock received his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Harvard University.

Services are planned for 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27, at Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Funeral Home (1985 South Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118). His family will host an informal gathering immediately following the services between 4 and 7 p.m. at the Cleveland Racquet Club (29825 Chagrin Blvd., Pepper Pike, OH 44124).