GSA Welcomes Barr as Visiting Scholar

For Immediate Release
May 7, 2020

Contact: Todd Kluss
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Robin A. Barr, DPhil, has joined The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) as part of the organization’s Visiting Scholar Program. This opportunity is open to GSA members able to make a full- or part-time commitment to conduct work on Society projects related to their area of expertise.

“Dr. Barr is highly regarded in our field, particularly for his leadership of the extramural activities program at the National Institute on Aging, where he worked to enrich aging science and build the research community,” said GSA CEO James Appleby, BSPharm, MPH. “We look forward to working with him and adding his expertise to the GSA team.”

As a GSA member for more than 30 years, Barr said he is excited about the opportunity to contribute to the organization as a visiting scholar.

“I am looking forward very much to working closely with GSA members and its staff as I work on a project to integrate aging into the study of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias,” said Barr.

Prior to joining GSA, he was the director of the Division of Extramural Activities at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he retired in January after 33 years. He focused on shaping NIH policies toward new and early stage investigators and managed NIA’s National Advisory Council on Aging.

In 2014, Barr became the founding editor of the NIA blog for the extramural community (Inside NIA: A Blog for Researchers). He also served on multiple NIH committees focused on research training and early career researchers and helped develop the NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) and the Early Stage Investigator designation.

He worked with multiple foundations to bring the Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging program to NIA. This provides awards to aspiring leaders among early-stage health scientists who have a focus on aging and geriatrics. Barr continued to shepherd the program through multiple transitions at NIH.

In recent years, as NIA received a substantial infusion of funds for Alzheimer’s disease research, he led new approaches aimed at expanding the field rapidly, including guiding the creation of an administrative supplement program across NIH to stimulate research in this area.


The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational section, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

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