Associate professor Ishan Williams, assistant dean of the School's IDEA initiative and head of the School of Nursing’s Aging Research Team, was one of four individuals chosen by the Southern Gerontological Society (SGS) to receive the Victor W. Marshall Fellowship at the group’s annual meeting in April 2021.
The award recognizes “outstanding and continuing achievement that bridges the domains of original and applied research, service to government, practice with older adults, gerontology education, and advocacy within gerontology.” Williams is in her second term as SGS president, having served since 2019 through the end of her term in late 2021.
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Designation by the Southern Gerontological Society as a Victor W. Marshall Fellow in Applied Gerontology is an acknowledgement of outstanding and continuing achievement that bridges the domains of original and applied research, service to government, practice with older adults, gerontology education and advocacy within gerontology. This designation is equivalent to the attainment of Fellow status in many prestigious societies and organizations, and is named in honor of Victor W. Marshall who has made significant and long-lasting contributions to SGS and gerontology through original independent scholarship, working with diverse collaborative teams, support to veterans, nurturing of advocacy and public service to older adults, and mentorship of applied gerontologists from diverse disciplinary and practice backgrounds.
Williams—who teaches health policy, evidence-based practice, health promotion and population health, and culture and diversity courses—studies quality of life and healthcare among older adults and their family caregivers, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations. Her current research focuses on quality of life issues among older adults with dementia, chronic disease management for older adults with Type 2 diabetes, and a study on the link between cognition and vascular problems among African American adults.
She also collaborates with colleagues on work focused on advance directives, end-of-life concerns, patients’ transitions between home, community and hospital settings, and how individuals with chronic conditions share information about their health issues on social media.
Williams earned a degree in psychology at UNC Chapel Hill, a MS and a PhD in human development and family studies at UNC Greensboro before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill’s Institute on Aging. A member of the National Hartford Centers for Gerontological Excellence, a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and one of AARP’s Public Policy Institute Roundtable members, Williams serves on the Lindsay Institute’s Caregiving Advisory Council and is associate editor for Ethnicity & Health.