2024 Nominations are now open - NOMINATE HERE
Dutch Kastenbaum Outstanding Gerontologist Award
The Minnesota Gerontological Society established the Outstanding Gerontologist Award in 1984 to recognize individuals who have contributed to lives of older persons throughout Minnesota. Contributions can be made to the field of aging through practice, research, or academics. In 1998 the award was renamed the Dutch Kastenbaum Award to honor Abraham “Dutch” Kastenbaum. Kastenbaum was trained as a social worker, and was a champion in beginning service programs for older people. He later became a celebrity with his weekly television show, Senior Citizen’s Forum, which ran for almost 25 years. To honor his memory, the Minnesota Gerontological Society receives nominations each year to recognize outstanding gerontologists.
2023 Gerontologist of the Year:
Pat Samples, MHD, St. Mary’s University; MFA, Hamline University
Thought Leader, Author, Speaker & Workshop Leader, Consultant
In her own words: “I am an avid champion for creative aging. Research shows that we all have a burst of artistic impulses in our older years and an urgent drive to tell our important stories. From my first job in a nursing home while I was in college to my current work serving senior living communities across the metropolitan area, I’ve seen firsthand how this creative burst, when guided by skilled teaching artists, transforms lives. The stories, resilience and creative capacities of older people come to life!
I’ve felt the joy of teaching creative writing to older adults for nearly two decades. I’ve also worked throughout Minnesota and nationally to spur the development of creative aging programs. As a co-founder of the Minnesota Creative Arts and Network, and its long-time coordinator, I organized statewide conferences, helped create a documentary, and sparked the implementation of arts program for older adults across the state. In recent years, I guided the development of the Artful Aging program at COMPAS and set up state-of-the-art learning opportunities in the arts at Ebenezer’s Minneapolis campus.
I continue this work today by speaking to groups and providing training and consulting support for arts and senior-serving organizations. One way I express my own creative drive is by writing. Through my eight books and countless articles, I have spread uplifting and empowering messages to readers around the world. I have also served as editor of numerous books and wellness publications. It’s also exciting for me to help other people and organizations with their writing and editing projects. My goal is always to create, or help them create, a piece of writing that rings true to their purpose and leaves them with feelings of pride and satisfaction.”
Past Award Winners