Kerstin Gerst Emerson

Institute of Gerontology, Health Policy & Management,
Clinical Associate Professor
Director, Online Learning at CPH

Curriculum Vitae

Institute of Gerontology, Health Policy & Management,

Dr. Emerson has two main research areas, both centering on older adults and using large secondary datasets. She focuses on Hispanic aging, specifically the influence of individual and neighborhood characteristics on physical and mental health outcomes among older Mexican Americans. More recently, Dr. Emerson’s research investigates the impact of loneliness among older adults, including healthcare utilization.

  • PhD, Gerontology, University of Massachusetts, 2008
  • MS, Gerontology, University of Massachusetts, 2006
  • MGS, Gerontology, Miami University, 2002
  • BA, Economics and Psychology, University of Michigan
Areas of Expertise

Research: Loneliness and older adults, Hispanic health and aging, health disparities among older adults
Teaching: Online teaching, Gerontology education in higher education

Honors, Awards, and Achievements
  • Awarded fellow status in the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), 2020
  • Faculty Excellence in Service Award, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, 2020
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Scholar, University of Georgia, 2019-2020
  • Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, 2018
  • Center for Teaching and Learning Online Learning Fellow, University of Georgia, 2016, 2017
  • Lilly Teaching Fellow, University of Georgia, 2012-2014
  • Career Center Recognition for supporting students’ career development and success, University of Georgia
  • Gerontological Society of America
  • Sigma Phi Omega (International Honor Society in Gerontology)
Course Instruction
  • Aspects of Aging (undergraduate)
  • Foundations of Aging (graduate)
  • End of Life and Older Adults (graduate)
Research Interests

Dr. Emerson is a gerontologist who uses large secondary data analyses to explore aging issues in the United States. Her research interests include loneliness among older adults, Hispanic aging, as well as the influence of neighborhood characteristics on physical and mental health outcomes.

Selected Publications

Zhang, D., Rajbhandari-Thapa, J., Panda, D., Chen, Z., Shi, L., Li, Y., Shen, Y., Ghimire, R. & Emerson, K. G. (2021). Linguistic isolation and mortality in older Mexican Americans: Findings from the Hispanic Established Populations Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly. Health Equity, 5.1, 375-381. doi: 10.1089/heq.2020.0139

Bower, K. & Emerson, K.G. (2021). Exploring contextual factors associated with suicide among older male farmers: Results from the CDC NVDRS dataset. In press at Clinical Gerontologist, doi: 10.1080/ 07317115.2021.1893885

Emerson, K.G. (2020). Coping with being cooped up: Social distancing during COVID-19 among 60+ in the United States. Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública/Pan American Journal of Public Health, 44, e81. doi: 10.26633/RPSP.2020

Gerst-Emerson, K. & Jayawardhana, J. (2016). Risk factors for loneliness among elders. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 64(4), 886-887, doi: 10.1111/jgs.14053\\

Gerst-Emerson, K., Wong, R., Michaels-Obregon, A. & Palloni, A. (2015). Cross-national differences in disability among elders: Transitions in disability in Mexico and the United States. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Social Sciences,70(5), 759-768

Gerst-Emerson, K. & Jayawardhana, J. (2015). Loneliness as a public health issue: The impact of loneliness on healthcare utilization among older adults. American Journal of Public Health, 1013-1019