Elizabeth Johns, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Johns is a 2016 Ph.D. graduate in gerontology from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her academic interests focus on the economic well-being of retirement-age adults and how policy can support older adults’ economic security.

For her dissertation research, she collaborated with the Maine State Employees Association (MSEA) to examine whether more intensive informal (unpaid) family caregiving impacted the financial resources that workers accumulated prior to retirement. In 2017, a proposal for a new minimum benefit in Social Security, developed with colleague Kimberly Johnson, Ph.D., was one of five chosen by AARP in its national Policy Innovation Challenge for funding and further development. Shortened versions of this and other winning proposals appear in the Gerontological Society of America’s (GSA’s) Public Policy and Aging Report.

Her current research involves using Panel Study of Income Dynamics data to explore whether primary caregivers (mostly mothers) of a child with a significant health condition or disability are disadvantaged in later years in terms of income and wealth relative to parents of typical children.

Dr. Johns has an M.S. in Human Development from the University of Maine and served in the early years of the Center on Aging as a staff associate.