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About Dr. Lubben

Ahearn Professor, Boston College; Professor Emeritus, UCLA

Dr. Lubben

Dr. James Lubben is the inaugural holder of the Louise McMahon Ahearn Chair in Social Work and the Program Director for the PhD in Social Welfare Program at Boston College. Dr. Lubben is also Professor Emeritus at UCLA. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. He is also a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and received the Leadership Award and Career Achievement Award from the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work. 


Dr. Lubben is a leading scholar in social gerontology with an active research agenda examining social support networks among older populations. Dr. Lubben is director of the Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work and the founding Director for the Institute on Aging at BCSSW. His research considers social isolation as a behavioral health risk among older adults. To carry out this research, he developed the Lubben Social Network Scale (LSNS), an abbreviated measure designed for both research and clinical use among older populations. The LSNS has been translated into many languages and employed in studies in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. Scores on the LSNS have been associated with a wide array of indicators of health including mortality, morbidity, psychological distress and loneliness, cognitive impairment, and various indicators of health care use.


Dr. Lubben has served as a principal investigator or collaborator on over $35 million (direct costs) of research and training grants. Additionally, Dr. Lubben has offered consultation to the World Health Organization regarding health and welfare systems development for aging societies. He served four terms (12 years) on the congressionally mandated Gerontology and Geriatrics Advisory Committee for the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Lubben was Founding Director of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s Doctoral Fellows Program in Geriatric Social Work that provided dissertation grants to 104 doctoral students throughout the United States. He is presently co-investigator on a Boston Royal Center for Active Lifestyles in Aging pilot project, which is funded by the National Institute on Aging ($1.5 million).