Faculty Directory

James Lubben

Professor Emeritus

Founding Director, Institute on Aging


James Lubben, PhD, is Professor Emeritus at Boston College. He was the Louise McMahon Ahearn Endowed Professor in Social Work for 15 years. He is also Professor Emeritus at UCLA where he taught for 20 years and was Associate Dean and Department Chair. During his 35 years in the academy, Dr. Lubben mentored over 200 doctoral students and junior faculty. He served on over 50 doctoral dissertation committees and secured dissertation research funding for over 150 doctoral students. He published over 125 articles and chapters and edited 7 books. Dr. Lubben has been a principal investigator or collaborator on over $35 million (direct costs) of research and training grants. The primary aim of his research agenda examines social isolation as a behavioral health risk among older populations. He is presently co-investigator on a Boston Roybal Center for Active Lifestyles in Aging pilot project, which is funded by the National Institute on Aging. He is a Fellow in the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and also a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.

Selected Grants

National Institute on Aging 11/1/14 – 9/30/19

NIA 5P30AG048785-03.

Roybal Center for Active Lifestyle Interventions (RALI-Boston)

The overall goal of the Boston Roybal Center (BRC) is to develop and test behavior change strategies to promote healthy aging, especially among adults at high risk for poor health outcomes. The Boston Roybal Center will engage in the translation of research evidence to interventions that motivate and support sustained increases in physical activity.

Role:  Co-Investigator, Co-Director of Core A.


Santander Universities Foundation 7/1/11-6/30/18

International Partnerships in Social Welfare Doctoral Education

Established dual doctoral programs in social welfare with Boston College and ITESO (Mexico City, Mexico), IBERO (Guadalajara, Mexico) and Alberto Hurtado (Santiago, Chile).

Role: PI


John A. Hartford Foundation 1/1/13- 2/28/17

Hartford Academic Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work.

Grant establishes a Hartford Academic Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work at Boston College.  Funding is provided to support continuation of training MSW and PhD students in gerontology and geriatrics as well as creation of continuing education for social workers and other health practitioners working with older adults and their families.

Role: PI


John A. Hartford Foundation 10/1/07- 6/30/14; 10/1/04- 9/30/09; 9/15/00- 9/14/06

Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program in Geriatric Social Work.

Grant established the Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program that seeks to identify and support pre-doctoral social work students interested in pursuing academic careers in areas related to improving health care of older adults.  Funding provide dissertation support for 24 Doctoral Fellows selected through a nationally-competitive process. Fellows received extensive financial support, mentorship and networked support. This grant was refunded twice and given a no-cost extension enabling the awarding of a total of 104 Doctoral Fellowships supporting dissertation research.  In addition 60 Pre-Dissertation Awardees received funding to help develop a dissertation proposal on aging.  

Role: PI


National Institute on Aging (NIA) 10/1/92 - 6/30/97


Older Korean Americans: Social Support and Long Term Care.

The specific aim of this research was to conduct a longitudinal comparative study of the ways in which social networks and social support systems inhibit, moderate, or facilitate the utilization of long term care services (including both health and social services) among older Korean Americans and non-Hispanic whites.

Role: PI


US Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) 5/1/88 - 4/30/94

Medicare Screening and Health Promotion Trial.

The specific aim of this clinical trial was to evaluate the benefits of health promotion and disease prevention

among a community dwelling Medicare population. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a control group included annual telephone surveys about health status and activities or an experimental group that also included the annual health survey as well as an annual health promotion clinic with extensive screening and health education counseling as well as follow-up.

Role: PI (8/91-8/92) and Co-PI 5/88-7/91 & 9/92-4/94)


Special Appointments

1989 – 2000, Member, Geriatrics and Gerontology Advisory Committee, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

1999 – 2015, Member, National Program Advisory and Selection Committee for Hartford Faculty Scholars Program in Geriatric Social Work sponsored by the John A. Hartford Foundation

2005 – 2010, Member, National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE) of Canada

2008, Fulbright Senior Specialist to Chile.  U.S. Council for International Exchange of Scholars

2012 – Present, Member, Executive Committee for Grand Challenges Initiative of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW)

2012 – 2014, Member, Steering Committee (elected office), Group to Advance Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE)

2012 – 2015, Member, Board of Directors and Executive Committee (elected offices), Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

2013 – 2016, Vice President (elected office), Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR)