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Ilene L. Nathanson DSW, LCSW

Dr. Nathanson began her career in gerontology in the 1980’s under the mentorship of the revered doyenne, Dr. Rose Dobrof, founder of the Brookdale Center on Aging of Hunter College. Dr. Dobrof, in addition to her many individual achievements, was deeply affiliated with Dr. Robert Butler, known for coining the phrase “ageism.” Ilene takes great pride in having continued the legacy of her pioneering forbears. Her work today is very much a dedication to her early socialization in an emerging field.

Ilene’s early work focused on directing grants with New York State and the federal Administration on Aging. Her first assignment was to manage a million dollar training grant aimed at promoting collaborative discharge planning through the New York State hospital system. She was awarded responsibility for a subsequent federal grant, “Linking the Aging System to Aging Services.”  Ilene remembers traveling a lot in those days. She attributes this early experience, coupled with a stint at Bellevue Hospital, with her appreciation of the intersectionality of aging and health care.

Two successful grants later, Dr. Nathanson was hired as the “human services expert” for the Masters in Public Administration Program at Long Island University, where she first served as Associate Director of the Center on Aging and later as the Director. Over the years, Ilene compiled a rich record of publications beginning with the co-authorship of the seminal book, “Elder Practice: a multidisciplinary approach to serving the elderly in the community.” Way before the community was ready, she initiated a multidisciplinary service agency, Senior Serve, from which she learned many political lessons. 

Her publications cover a wide scope of issues, including, but not limited to, human development, clinical gerontology, spirituality, sexuality, and collaborative practice. Her most recent personally driven publication, “Caregiving Confidential” (Bookbaby, July 19, 2022) grew out of her work as a gerontological consultant and recognition of the largely neglected but emerging crisis that caregiving represents for those who provide care and for society at large.  Although, clinically trained, she is choosing to focus now on areas of macro significance, recognizing that nothing changes until we have new norms and institutional practices, regulated by rules and laws.

Therefore, since her recent retirement from Long Island University, she has devoted herself to public service. She has gained many connections through her numerous postings on Linked-In. She has also associated herself as a workshop leader, transition consultant, and blogger with an online executive consultancy focused on career transition, primarily for women, Leaning Out. Ilene prides herself on lifelong learning and attributes this step into the online community to her experiences at Leaning Out and association with its founder, Trish Wheaton.

One last note on employment background: After graduation from Cornell University, Ilene’s first job was with the Member Offices and Personnel of the New York Stock Exchange. She was one of the first women to be hired and she often wonders what the trajectory of her career/life would have looked like, if she had remained on Wall Street!

Ilene has no regrets with her choice of career, since she remembers thinking way back when, that gerontology was a field of practice that would continue to grow in opportunity for engagement along with her own aging and development. She has not been disappointed!


Check out Ilene's interview regarding her book "Caregiving Confidential" with Al Cole Enterprises, "People of Distinction"  by clicking on link below.

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Order your copy of Caregiving Confidential: Path of Meaning here:

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