Robyn Stone: Influencer in Aging

CFAR | September 28, 2017 | by Geralyn Magan

Dr. Robyn Stone brings decades of research experience and senior-level policy expertise to LeadingAge’s mission to inspire, serve and advocate for older Americans.

Dr. Robyn Stone, senior vice president of research at LeadingAge, has been named an Influencer in Aging by Next Avenue. The Influencers in Aging list recognizes 50 advocates, researchers, thought leaders, innovators, writers and experts “at the forefront of changing how we age and think about aging.”

“Stone brings decades of research experience and senior-level policy expertise to LeadingAge’s mission to inspire, serve and advocate for older Americans,” reads the Next Avenue description of Stone’s accomplishments. “She has leveraged her expertise into advocacy for better long-term care policy, with a particular emphasis on lower income older adults.”

Candidates for the Influencers in Aging designation are nominated by Next Avenue readers, editors, and contributors, as well as past Influencers in Aging.

“We searched for a diverse and broad list of people whose work to improve the lives of older adults in the areas of health, money, work, living and caregiving was especially impressive over the past year,” writes Shayla Stern, director of editorial content for Next Avenue.

Two LeadingAge members were also recognized by Next Avenue: Kathryn Roberts, LeadingAge board chair and CEO of Ecumen; and Richard Browdie, president and CEO of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging.

An Impressive Resume

Stone, who is also co-director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston (formerly the LeadingAge Center for Applied Research), has a long and impressive resume.

Before coming to LeadingAge, she served the White House as deputy assistant secretary for disability, aging and long-term care policy, and as acting assistant secretary for aging, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Stone staffed the Clinton administration's 1993 Task Force on Health Care Reform, and the 1989 Bipartisan Commission on Comprehensive Health Care. She also served as executive director of the International Longevity Center-USA, which was established by noted gerontologist Robert Butler.

Stone has contributed to several major national initiatives that have transformed the field of aging services:

  • She was one of the first researchers to identify and quantify the nature and scope of family caregiving. Her seminal Congressional report on caregiving contributed to the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993.
  • In 1998, Stone helped develop the federal Cash and Counseling Demonstration Program, which formed the basis for all consumer-directed programs in the U.S.
  • Stone has worked tirelessly to strengthen the workforce that provides services and supports to millions of older Americans. She began that effort by managing a $15.5 million, 4-year research initiative called Better Jobs Better Care. Findings from that project influenced the ground-breaking Retooling for an Aging America report that the National Academy of Medicine released in 2008 to shine a spotlight on our looming workforce crisis.
  • As a member of the National Academy of Medicine, and a fellow at the Gerontological Society of America, Stone continues to advocate for national policies that promote the health, well-being, and dignity of aging Americans.
  • She also has helped researchers and policy makers around the world find effective ways to prepare for the rapid growth of their older populations. Stone’s work in Japan, Singapore and South Korea is already providing valuable lessons that the United States can apply to its own efforts to address the challenges and opportunities posed by an aging population.

Advocating for Vulnerable Elders

When asked by Next Avenue to name something she would change about aging if she could, Stone replied, “All older adults, regardless of economic status, should have access to quality, affordable long-term services and supports and housing that allows them to age successfully with dignity and autonomy in the setting and community of their choice.”