Outstanding Gerontologist Award

Dutch Kastenbaum Outstanding Gerontologist Award
The Minnesota Gerontological Society established the Outstanding Gerontologist Award in 1984 to recognize individuals who have contributed to lives of older persons throughout Minnesota. Contributions can be made to the field of aging through practice, research, or academics. In 1998 the award was renamed the Dutch Kastenbaum Award to honor Abraham “Dutch” Kastenbaum.  Kastenbaum was trained as a social worker, and was a champion in beginning service programs for older people. He later became a celebrity with his weekly television show, Senior Citizen’s Forum, which ran for almost 25 years. To honor his memory, the Minnesota Gerontological Society receives nominations each year to recognize outstanding gerontologists.

Nominations for 2022 Gerontologist of the Year Award will open in January 2022.

2021 Gerontologist of the Year:

Lori Vrolson, MS, Executive Director, Central Minnesota Council on Aging

Lori Vrolson has more than 27 years of experience in the field of aging, holding an MS Degree in Gerontology. Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Central Minnesota Council on Aging (CMCOA), serving the 14 counties in the central region of Minnesota. Lori has served as the past-president of the Minnesota Gerontological Society and past chair of the MN Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Lori has provided leadership to create and mentor an innovative team that has led to award winning work around Dementia Friends and ACT on Alzheimer’s. Lori is respected in the field and has input at the legislative level around policies on aging in Minnesota. Lori has nurtured effective relationships with community organizations, health systems, public health and with her peers in the Minnesota Areas on Aging.

Lori is continuously thinking of ways to expand understanding of the needs and issues of aging through continued connections with legislators and legislative staff to assist in understanding the needs/concerns of older adults and their caregivers; for example, in exploring volunteer driver needs and broadband expansion. Throughout the current pandemic she has acted quickly to ensure that older adults and their caregivers physical, emotional and social needs were being met. Lori is actively involved in national organizations and stays current on research and practices related to healthy aging. As an Executive Director, Lori regularly provides updates on legislation, news from various national organizations and research on seniors to staff and the community.

Lori is very active in efforts at the state level to provide input and stay current, where appropriate around policies affecting seniors.  Her connections among the various systems within the state have allowed her organization to be in the position to respond quickly to the rapidly changing environment for seniors this past year.

Past Award Winners

  • 2020 John Brose
  • 2019 George Schoephoerster
  • 2018 Patti Cullen
  • 2017 Helen Kivnick
  • 2016 Olivia Mastry
  • 2015: Jean K. Wood and Jim Tift
  • 2014: Elaine Carlson
  • 2013: Dawn Simonson
  • 2012: Edward Ratner
  • 2011: Phyllis Greenberg
  • 2010: Hal Freshley
  • 2009: Gayle Kvenvold
  • 2008: Janet Hively
  • 2007: Maddy Forsberg
  • 2006: Jeanette Metz
  • 2005: Marion Goepner
  • 2004: Maria R. Gomez
  • 2003: Robert and Rosalie Kane
  • 2002: John Selstad
  • 2001: Warren Wolfe
  • 2000: Larhae Knatterud
  • 1999: Pamela Parker
  • 1998: Ken Hepburn
  • 1997: Janet Woodhull and Iris Freeman
  • 1996: Gerald Bloedow
  • 1995: Abraham Kastenbaum
  • 1994: Muriel Ryden
  • 1993: Donna Walberg and Steven Miles
  • 1992: Donald McTavish and David Knopmaan
  • 1991: Doug Hanneman
  • 1990: Nancy N. Eustis
  • 1989: Elva Walker
  • 1988: Raye Kreevoy and Cynthia Polich
  • 1985: Grace Warfield and Norm Bourestom
  • 1984: Etta Saloshin