USC Davis School to Launch Psychology of Aging Course in Israel

Later this spring, students will have a new opportunity to study key gerontology topics in one of the world’s most interesting places to study aging: Israel.

The result of a newly launched educational partnership between the Davis School and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel (IDC Herzliya), the program’s inaugural course will be “The Psychology of Aging” (GERO 320) and will be open to undergraduate students from both USC and IDC. The three-week course, held at USC during the first week and in Herzliya during the second and third weeks, will be taught by aging psychology expert and USC Leonard Davis Professor Mara Mather.

During the course, students will learn about the cognitive, personality, adaptive, and social processes taking place throughout the adult lifespan as well as current gerontology theory and research. Several guest lecturers from Israel’s gerontology, psychology, and neuroscience communities will also present material throughout the course.

Israel provides a unique venue for the study of aging, Mather said. While its population is relatively young compared to many other developed countries, it is aging more rapidly than many of its counterparts. Thus, Israel can serve as an important example for other nations working to adapt to the “silver tsunami,” or the outnumbering of young people by older adults that is projected to affect nearly every country in the coming decades. Also, members of Israel’s older generation have experienced the country’s founding, several waves of immigration, and other major events affecting health and well-being throughout their life histories.

“Jewish tradition provides another fascinating layer to the context of aging in Israel, as it considers old age a virtue and a blessing in contrast to the negative attitudes prevalent in developed countries,” Mather added.

Helping the world’s aging population lead not only longer but healthier lives is one of the biggest problems of the 21st century and is a key issue for USC, said USC Leonard Davis School Dean Pinchas Cohen. The Davis School’s efforts in Israel will eventually include not only summer courses but also scientific collaboration involving faculty members and postdoctoral researchers from USC and universities throughout Israel.

“USC is known globally as a leader in gerontology; this course in Israel will build upon the Davis School’s growing global aging efforts in countries such as Italy, China, Singapore, and others,” Cohen said. “Participation in the course will lend itself to transformational experiences not only in the classroom but in the field.”

The course will take place May 16-June 3, 2016. Students interested in signing up for the course can contact USC Leonard Davis School Admission Counselor Sade Ojuola at (213) 740-1728 or ojuola@usc.edu.

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