• department Social Research
  • education BS, University of Connecticut
    MSW, University of Washington
    PhD, University of Washington
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Judith Gonyea is a professor and Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs at BUSSW and senior fellow in the Institute for Health Systems Innovation & Policy at Boston University.

Gonyea is the author of more 100 publications, often centering on historically disadvantaged older populations with the goal of advancing equity. In her work, she uses an intersectionality lens to explore how individuals’ multiple identities (e.g., gender, age, race) intertwine to shape their aging experience. One strand of Gonyea’s research focuses on elder care, especially the gendered nature of caregiving and how culture shapes health behaviors. A second strand explores the intersection of older adults’ health and environment, particularly neighborhood and community effects. In her current research, she is studying older adults in subsidized housing and those experiencing homelessness. She also writes extensively on the politics of aging.

Gonyea is a fellow and past elected chair of the Social Research, Policy and Practice Section of Gerontological Society of America and an elected member in the National Academy of Social Insurance and the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. She serves on the editorial boards of Public Policy & Aging Report, Journal of Aging & Social Policy, and the British Journal of Social Work.

Areas of Expertise

Aging and Gerontology; Behavioral Health, Mental Health and Addictions; Housing and Homelessness; Program Evaluation Methods; Social Policy and Poverty

Practice and scholarly focus

Vulnerable urban elders; aging politics and policies; community-based aging programs and services; age-friendly communities; intergenerational family relations and caregiving; older women’s economic and health status; the intersection of health and housing in later life; older homelessness.


SR 743 Social Work Research I
SR 744 Social Work Research II
SR 910 Doctoral Dissertation Seminar
WP 720 Family Policy


Gonyea, J.G., & Melekis, K. (2017). Older homeless women’s identity negotiation: Agency, resistance, and the construction of a valued self. The Sociological Review, 65, 67-82.
DOI: 10.1111/1467-954X.12369

Gonyea, J.G., Curley, A., Melekis, K., Levine, N. & Lee, Y-J. (2016). Loneliness and depression among older adults in urban subsidized housing. Journal Aging and Health. DOI: 10.1177/089826431668290

Gonyea, J.G., López, L.M., & Velásquez, E.H. (2016). The effectiveness of a culturally sensitive cognitive behavioral group intervention for Latino Alzheimer’s caregivers. The Gerontologist, 56, 292-302. DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnu045

Gonyea, J.G., & Hudson, R.B. (2015). Emerging models of age-friendly communities: A framework for understanding inclusion. Public Policy and Aging Report. DOI: 10.1093/ppar/pru056

Hahm, H.C., Gonyea, J.G., Chiao, C., & Koritsanszky, L.A. (2014). Fractured identity: A framework for understanding young Asian American women’s self-harm and suicidal behaviors. Race and Social Problems, 6, 56-68.

Gonyea, J.G., & Burnes, K. (2013). Aging Well at Home: Evaluation of a neighborhood-based pilot project to “Put connection back in community.” Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 27, 333-347. DOI: 10.1080/02763893.2013.813425

Gonyea, J.G. (2013). Changing family demographics, multigenerational bonds, and care of the oldest old. Public Policy & Aging Report, 23(2), 11-15.
Hudson, R.B., & Gonyea, J.G. (2012). Baby boomers and the shifting political construction of old age. Gerontologist, 52, 272-282.

Gonyea, J.G., & Hudson, R.B. (2011). Promoting employment and community service among low-income seniors: Successes and challenges of the Senior Community Service Employment Program. Aging and Public Policy Report, 21, 40-47.

Gonyea, J.G., Mills-Dick, K., & Bachman, S.S. (2010). The complexities of elder homelessness, a shifting political landscape and emerging community responses. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 53, 575-590.


Gonyea, J.G. & Melekis, K. (2017). Falling through the cracks: How older women negotiate their movement through homelessness. Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Montreal, Canada.

Gonyea, J.G., Curley, A., & Melekis, K. (2017). The correlates of depression among lower-income minority older adults living in urban subsidized housing. The World Congress of the International Association of Geriatrics and Gerontology, San Francisco, CA.

Gonyea, J.G., Curley, A., Melekis, K., & Lee, Y. (2016). Neighborhood safety and depression among older adults in subsidized housing: Sense of community belonging as a mediating variable. Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, New Orleans, LA.

Gonyea, J.G. & Melekis, K. (2015). Narratives of older homeless women: Social connection, sense of agency and levels of resistance. Symposium on Gendered trajectories: The pathways and experiences of older homeless adults. Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Orlando, FL.

Hudson, R.B & Gonyea, J.G. (2015). A shifting economic and political landscape: New realities for aging families. Aging Families/Changing Families: An International Conference, Syracuse, NY.

Gonyea, J.G. (2014). The weakening political legitimacy of seniors: Consequences for aging boomers. Symposium on The shifting political construction of old age and its consequences. Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Washington, DC.

Melekis, K., & Gonyea, J.G. (2014). Status and self: Managing the stigma of being old and homeless. Symposium on Perspectives on the housing and health status of older homeless adults. Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, Washington, DC.

Gonyea, J.G. (2014). Supporting Latino elders and families impacted by Alzheimer’s: A call to action.Plenary Panel, Narrowing the Latino disparities gap: Promising interventions to ensure behavioral health care equity. National Hispanic and Latino ATTC Conference, Austin, TX.

Hudson, R.B, & Gonyea, J.G. (2014). Old age and the social construction of a moving target population. American Political Science Association, Washington, DC.

Gonyea, J.G., & Lopez, L.M. (2013). Circulo de cuidado: A cognitive behavioral intervention for Latino Alzheimer’s family caregivers. Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America, New Orleans, LA.


Principal Investigator. (2017-2018). Falling through the Cracks: Policy and Program Gaps Experienced by Older Homeless Women. Melville Charitable Trust.

Co-Principal Investigator. (2017). Process Evaluation of The Kiosk for Living Well: Promoting Health and Wellness at Community Pulse Points. Subcontract to Boston University on a Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts Foundation Grant to Greater Lynn Senior Services.

Principal Investigator. (2015-2016). Growing Old in Urban Subsidized Housing: The Relationship between Perceived Neighborhood and Residents’ Mental Health. Boston University Initiative on Cities, Boston, MA.

Research Consultant. (2014-2015). Needs and Assets Assessment of Lower-Income Adults 55 and Older Living in Subsidized Housing in Boston. The American City Coalition (TACC) and Madison Park Development Corporation, Boston, MA.

Principal Investigator. (2011-2013). Child Welfare Community Services for Children and Families: Policy and Reimbursement Trends, Mentor Network Charitable Foundation, Boston, MA.

Principal Investigator. (2009-2011). Circulo de Cuidado: A Group Behavioral Intervention for Latino Families Coping with Dementia. Alzheimer’s Association Investigator Initiated Research Grant, Chicago, IL and the Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation, New York, NY.

Principal Investigator. (2008-2009). Evaluation of the Aging Well at Home Program: A Caring Community Initiative of the Jewish Family & Children Services of Greater Boston, Subcontract, JF&CS, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Baltimore, MD.

Principal Investigator. (2008-2009). The Challenges of Housing Formerly Homeless Elders: Evaluation of the HEARTH Resident Population, Subcontract HEARTH, The Boston Foundation, Boston, MA.

Professional Activities and Certifications

Current Editorial Board Member:
Aging and Social Policy
The Gerontologist
Public Policy and Aging Report
Journal of Gerontological Social Work

Awards and Honors

Current: Fellow, The Gerontological Society of America

Current: Elected Member, National Academy of Social Insurance

2005: National Leadership Award, AGE-SW, Association for Gerontological Education in Social Work

2004-2006: Elected Chair of the Social Research, Policy and Practice Section, Gerontological Society of America

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