May 24, 2018
The University of New England (UNE) has announced that Thomas M. Meuser, Ph.D., has been selected as the founding director for the university’s new Center for Excellence in Aging and Health. The center, one of eight centers and institutes at UNE in support of research and scholarship, was recently established thanks to a generous gift of $1 million from Housing Initiatives of New England, a nonprofit organization, led by UNE Trustee Cynthia Taylor, which focuses on providing affordable senior housing. Meuser will lead the university’s efforts in support of new geriatrics and gerontology programs, as well as new approaches to healthy, active and “meaning filled” aging.
Meuser comes to UNE from the University of Missouri—St. Louis (UMSL), where he currently serves as the interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, director of the Gerontology program, and professor of gerontology and sociology. He will begin his appointment at UNE effective September 1.
University of New England Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Joshua Hamilton, Ph.D., said of Meuser, “I am confident that Tom will quickly develop our new Center of Excellence in Aging and Health to be a regional and national leader in high quality research, education and best practices in health care for older adults. His expertise will shape the center into a robust nexus of research and its application, combined with interprofessional education and practice that will transform healthfulness for older adults and fully prepare our students to serve the aging population.”
Meuser is a clinical psychologist and an applied gerontologist, and he coordinates the UMSL Life Review Project -- a combined teaching, service, and research initiative to facilitate integrative life story work in aging adults. He has been a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America since 2011 and is known internationally for his long-time work on older driver safety and his more recent focus on narrative and life review in aging. He is also known for his creative, inclusive and collaborative approaches to addressing today’s challenges and opportunities in aging.
His teaching interests include gerontological assessment, loss and grief in aging, and interviewing older adults and life review. He has published on grief and loss issues in aging and dementia, including a widely used measure called the MM Caregiver Grief Inventory. Meuser and his long-time collaborator, Marla Berg-Weger, Ph.D., developed the Assessment of Readiness for Mobility Transition (ARMT) instrument in 2011 to facilitate person-centered mobility transition counseling with older adults. His present work examines legacy beliefs in older adults and their adult children.
Meuser has received grant funding from the Alzheimer's Disease Centers Program of the National Institutes of Aging, the Alzheimer's Association, the State of Missouri's Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Research Program, the National Center on Senior Transportation (a division of Easter Seals funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation), the Missouri Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. His work has been published in various journals, including the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society; OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying, Death Studies, The Gerontologist, The American Family Physician, Social Work in Health Care, Journal of Gerontological Social Work, Accident Analysis & Prevention and Educational Gerontology: An International Journal.
Meuser was a clinical staff member (1992-1995) and later a clinical instructor in Psychiatry at Saint Louis University School of Medicine (1998-1999). From 1999 to 2007, he was a faculty member in the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He was promoted to associate professor there in 2006. He served as a research co-investigator (core leader) and director of Education and Rural Outreach for the Washington University Knight Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (K-ADRC), one of 29 centers in the United States funded through the Alzheimer's Disease Centers Program, National Institute on Aging. His work at the ADRC involved developing, coordinating and presenting educational programs on cognitive aging and dementia for student, professional and community audiences.
He received his B.A. in psychology from the College of the Holy Cross (MA) and both his M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Missouri—St. Louis. He is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Missouri.
To learn more about the Center for Excellence in Aging and Health, visit www.une.edu/ceah
To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions