The BCTR welcomes incoming director Karl Pillemer
January 12, 2015
The BCTR is very pleased to welcome Karl Pillemer as center director beginning January 15. He additionally serves as Hazel E. Reed Professor in the Department of Human Development and Professor of Gerontology in Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College. Karl has close and long-standing ties to the BCTR, serving as PI or co-PI on several center projects, including the Translational Research Institute on Pain in Later Life (TRIPLL). He also oversaw multiple projects under the Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center (BLCC), a precursor of the BCTR, as well as serving as BLCC interim director. Karl succeeds John Eckenrode, founding director of the center and professor of human development.
Karl Pillemer's research examines human development over the life course, with a special emphasis on family and social relationships in middle age and beyond. His specific areas of interest include inter-generational relations in later life; family caregiving for impaired elderly relatives; long-term care for the elderly; conflict and abuse in families of the aged; and aging and healthcare. He has years of experience with translational research methods, including developing the BCTR consensus conference model, which brings researchers and practitioners together to identify research gaps and prioritize topics for new research. As co-PI of TRIPLL, he works closely with researchers at Weill Cornell and with community practitioners in New York City. The former College of Human Ecology Associate Dean for Outreach and Extension, he is well connected with Cornell Cooperative Extension and has close ties with community partners throughout New York State.
In a Cornell Chronicle article on the directorship transition, Dean Alan Mathios notes,
Karl is well positioned to lead the center thanks to his deep ties with community partners across the state and with Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), the Cornell Office for Research and Evaluation and Weill Cornell Medical College, all of whom are vital partners in achieving the college’s translational research goals and in fulfilling Cornell’s land-grant mission. I am excited to see how the center will evolve under Karl’s direction, and I am grateful for John Eckenrode’s tremendous guidance of faculty, staff and students to deliver translational programs in its first three years.
John Eckenrode oversaw the creation of the BCTR (in 2011) through the merger of the Family Life Development Center (FLDC), where he previously served as director, and the Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center (BLCC). During his tenure as BCTR director, John introduced the Talks at Twelve series, which draws an audience of both campus and community members, and the Innovative Pilot Study Program, awarding over $180,000 to eighteen teams of researchers in its first three years. He introduced a seminar on varying aspects of translational research through the Department of Human Development, the first of its kind at Cornell. Offered to undergraduate and graduate students in alternating semesters, the specific seminar topics vary, but all examine translational research in relation to policy and programs. In the new center, John continued the John Doris Memorial Lecture (introduced in 2008 in the FLDC) and the Iscol Family Program for Leadership in Public Service, which he has overseen since its inception in 2001 and will continue to administer in the future. John has been a champion of the work and legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner, ensuring that center-level programs are aligned with Bronfenbrenner's vision. In 2014 he organized, The Legacy of Urie Bronfenbrenner, a panel discussion featuring leading College of Human Ecology faculty reflecting on Bronfenbrenner’s impact on current research and practice and on their own work. John will remain connected to the BCTR, contributing his significant experience to the center’s efforts, as well as continuing as director of the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect, a center project.
In a video (see below) introducing Karl as BCTR director, he notes,
It’s an extraordinary opportunity right now to be stepping in as the director of the Bronfenbrenner Center because we’re at a critical juncture in American society. Precisely the problems that the Bronfenbrenner Center deals with are front and center now - child welfare, aging, problems of youth - and those are exactly the problems we deal with and have some good solutions for. [...] So I think that it really has a spectacular future right now and its building on a phenomenal base.
Karl Pillemer to lead Bronfenbrenner Center - Cornell Chronicle