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Frank Whittington, PhD

College of Health and Human Services

Frank Whittington

Dr. Whittington is Professor of Gerontology and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. His research interests focus on the social dimensions of health and long-term care of older persons, especially African Americans. Dr. Whittington has studied prescription drug use and misuse by older people, the use of physical and chemical restraints in nursing homes, and the experience of poor African American elders as recipients of long-term home care services. Most of his recent work has been focused on global aging and the development of gerontology as a global science and area of practice.

His publications include 11 books and over 65 articles and chapters on health behavior, long-term care, and global aging. His most recent work includes a volume co-edited with Erdman Palmore of Duke and Suzanne Kunkel of Miami University, entitled the International Handbook on Aging. Published in 2009 by Praeger Publishers, the handbook includes chapters about aging research, education, and policy in 47 countries around the world. In 2013 he co-edited with Suzanne Kunkel a special issue of Generations on global aging, and in 2014 he co-authored a textbook with Kunkel and Scott Brown, entitled Global Aging: Comparative Perspectives on Aging and the Life Course, which was published by Springer.

Prior to his move to Mason in 2008, Dr. Whittington was at Georgia State University for 35 years, where he was on the faculty of the Sociology Department and deeply involved in developing the gerontology program, becoming Director of the Gerontology Institute in 1995. Dr. Whittington has served as President of the Southern Gerontological Society, which selected him to receive the Gordon Streib Academic Gerontologist Award in 2009 and the GRITS (“Gerontologists Rooted in the South”) Hall of Fame recognition in 2015. He has been actively involved with the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education for over 30 years, and in 2010 received the Clark Tibbitts Award for outstanding contributions to academic gerontology.


  • PhD, Sociology, Duke University, 1975
  • MA, Sociology, Duke University, 1971
  • BA, English, Mississippi State University, 1968