UCLA Center for Policy Research on Aging
Fernando Torres-Gil is currently Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the School of Public Affairs, University of California, Los Angeles. He holds appointments as Professor of Social Welfare and Public Policy in the School and is the Director of the Center for Policy Research on Aging. Before joining UCLA, he was a Professor of Gerontology and Public Administration at the University of Southern California, where he continues as an Adjunct Professor of Gerontology.
Professor Torres-Gil is an expert in the fields of health and long-term care, the politics of aging, social policy, ethnicity and disability. He is the author of six books and more than 80 articles and book chapters, including The New Aging: Politics and Change in America (1992), and Lessons from Three Nations, Volumes I and II (2007). In recognition of his many academic accomplishments, he was elected a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America in 1985 and the National Academy of Public Administration in 1995. He also served as President of the American Society on Aging from 1989 to 1992 and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.
His academic accomplishments parallel his extensive government and public policy experience, including being appointed by President Clinton as the first Assistant Secretary for Aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As the Administration’s chief advocate on aging, Torres-Gil played a key role in promoting the importance of the issues of aging, long-term care, and disability, in consolidating federal programs for the elderly and in helping baby boomers redefine retirement in a post-pension era. He also worked with HHS Secretary Donna Shalala in overseeing aging policy throughout the federal government, managing the Administration on Aging and organizing the 1995 White House Conference on Aging; in addition to serving as a member of the President’s Welfare Reform Working Group.
He has also served as Staff Director of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging (1985-1987) – where he administered the legislative and oversight activities of the largest committee in the U.S. Congress; Special Assistant to Secretary of Health and Human Services Patricia Roberts Harris (1979-1980); and White House Fellow and Special Assistant to Joseph Califano, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (1978-1979). In 1978, President Carter appointed him to the Federal Council on Aging.
At the local level, Dr. Torres-Gil has served as the Vice President of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission (1989-1993) and as a member of the Harbor (1997-2001) and Taxi Commissions (1996-1997) for the city of Los Angeles. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa appointed him to the Board of Airport Commissioners and he was previously appointed by former Governor Gray Davis to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Veterans’ Homes and by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.
He has served as a board member of the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California and The Los Angeles Chinatown Service Center. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of Elderhostel, The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the AARP Foundation, and The California Endowment.
Dr. Torres-Gil was born and raised in Salinas, California, the son of migrant farm workers. He earned his A.A. in Political Science at Hartnell Community College (1968), a B.A. with honors in Political Science from San Jose State University (1970), and an M.S.W. (1972) and Ph.D. (1976) in Social Policy, Planning and Research from the Heller Graduate School in Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
" The future of the United States will rest heavily on the next generation of workers and elders; populations heavily diverse and Latino and living longer. Thus, we must understand and respond to their unique demographics."