AgeLab Addition Taylor Patskanick Brings Social Work, Public Health Background

AgeLab Addition Taylor Patskanick Brings Social Work, Public Health Background

Taylor Patskanick is a new addition to the AgeLab team, joining the research staff as a technical associate in August of 2018. Her educational background in social work and public health brings another unique perspective to the lab’s work.

Ms. Patskanick grew up in South Carolina and Georgia before attending the University of Georgia for her Bachelor’s of Social Work. At UGA she was exposed to the field of gerontology through a mentor who informed her about the wide array of opportunities available to researchers and professionals in the field of aging. Her field placement was at the Athens Community Council on Aging, where she worked on the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program and provided ancillary assistance for the Council’s Meals on Wheels and Center for Active Living programs. Her capstone project organized an intergenerational pen-pal program between older adults and fourth graders. In addition to her academic work, she participated in the Georgia Bulldogs’ marching band, enjoying the honor of meeting and spending time with Georgia’s real-life canine mascot, Uga.

After graduating from UGA, Patskanick attended the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, with a double major in social work and public health. Her practicum was in the healthcare field, placing her in a hospital working with patients receiving kidney and liver transplants and consulting for the hospital’s ethics committee. In the latter role, she explored the ethics of a number of patient-care situations and conducted surveys on moral distress among healthcare providers.

The possibility of working with the MIT AgeLab drew her interest because of its specific focus on aging as a research subject, going back to her experiences as an undergraduate, and the interdisciplinary makeup of the staff. Asked what research projects are particularly salient for her, she says, “All of them. I’m excited about everything we’re doing here.” Asked for greater clarity, she says she hopes to develop a focus on the intersection between gerontology and the healthcare field, understanding the problem of the medicalization of old age while recognizing that a major component in the lives of many older adults is managing health in healthcare settings.

Pictured below: Taylor as an undergraduate and Uga, famed mascot.