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: hispanic health and aging, health disparities among older adults, cross-national comparisons. quantitative methods

Teaching: Aspects of Aging (undergraduate), Mental Health and Aging (graduate), Public Health and Aging (graduate), Aging and Society (graduate)

Honors, Awards, and Achievements

Center for Teaching and Learning Online Learning Fellow, University of Georgia, 2016, 2017

Lilly Teaching Fellow, University of Georgia, 2012-2014

Funded Participant, National Institute on Aging Summer Institute on Aging Research, 2009

Funded Participant, University of Michigan National Poverty Center Workshop, 2009

Gerontology Service Award, University of Massachusetts Boston, 2008

Poster Award, Population Association of America, 2008


Gerontological Society of America

Sigma Phi Omega (International Honor Society in Gerontology)

Course Instruction

GRNT 3000/3000E  Aspects of Aging

GRNT 6750E Mental Health and Aging

GRNT 6650/6650E Aging in Society

Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (CURO)

Dr. Emerson teaches an overview course in aging issues at the undergraduate level, and graduate seminars in more specific topics, including mental health and aging and society. She teaches both in-person and online courses and really enjoys mentoring students in a wide range of disciplines that are interested in gerontology.

Research Interests

As a gerontologist interested in minority aging and health, Dr. Emerson’s research uses large secondary data analyses to explore aging issues in the United States. Her research interests includes Hispanic aging, loneliness among older adults, exploring the impact of immigration on mental health, as well as the influence of neighborhood characteristics on physical and mental health outcomes.

Selected Publications

Emerson, K.G., Boggero, I., Ostir, G. & Jayawardana, J. (2017). Loneliness among Older Adults: The Impact of Pain. Journal of Aging and Health, Published online first, doi: 10.1177/0898264317721348

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

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.

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, K. & Burr, J. A. (2012). Welfare Program Participation Among Older Immigrants. Public Policy & Aging Report, 22 (2), 12-16.

Burr, J.A., Mutchler, J.E. & Gerst, K. (2012). Hispanic Residential Segregation and Immigrant Living Arrangements in Later Life. Population Research and Policy Review, 32(1), 25-45.

Burr, J. A., Mutchler, J.E. & Gerst, K. (2011). Homeownership among Mexican Americans in later life. Research on Aging, 33(4), 379-402.

Gerst, K., Michaels-Obregon, A. & Wong, R. (2011). The Impact of Physical Activity on Disability Incidence among Older Adults in Mexico and the United States. Journal of Aging Research, 2011, 1-10.

Gerst, K., Miranda, P., Eschbach, K., Sheffield, K., Peek, M.K. & Markides, K.S. (2011). Protective neighborhoods: The impact of neighborhood percent Mexican American on depressive symptoms. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59(2), 353-358.

Gerst, K. & Burr, J.A. (2010). Welfare use among older Hispanic immigrants: The effect of state and federal policy. Population Research and Policy Review, 30(1), 129-150.

Gerst, K., Al-Ghatrif, M., Beard, H.A., Samper-Ternent, R. & Markides, K.S. (2010). High depressive symptomatology among older community-dwelling Mexican Americans: The impact of immigration. Aging and Mental Health, 14(3), 347-354.