Institute of Gerontology director cited for exemplary service to aging

Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., director, Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University
Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., director, Institute of Gerontology, Wayne State University

DETROIT – Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., ABPP, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, has received an Exemplary Service Award for his years of extraordinary contributions to aging services in Michigan. Lichtenberg was jointly honored by the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging, the Aging & Adult Services Agency, and the Statewide Network of Services for the Aging. Lichtenberg has worked as a clinical geropsychologist, researcher, program director and national leader in gerontology for the past 35 years.

Dona Wishart is the executive director for the Otsego County Commission on Aging and was chair of the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging when Lichtenberg was honored for his service. “Words, even carefully chosen, cannot capture all the essence of the service Peter brought to his work with the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging,” she said. “He was willing and generous in rolling up his sleeves to share information and expertise in topics critical to the work of the commission. In doing so, he expanded the learning and influence of his fellow commissioners, the State Advisory Council, partner agencies in services to the aging, and older adults and family caregivers throughout our state.”

Lichtenberg has spent his career promoting the well-being of older adults across Michigan and around the country. He served on the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging for five years, regularly presenting to the commission and the State Senior Advisory Committee. He brought his expertise and passion for older adults to the Aging and Adult Services State strategic plan and the plans by each area agency on aging. His work was awarded grants from the commission for older adult financial exploitation, helping scam victims with economic advocacy and financial coaching, and partnering with Michigan's Adult Protective Services to investigate cases of financial exploitation. He has also served on the Attorney General's Elder Abuse Task Force since 2019.

Lichtenberg was recently elected the 2022 president of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). GSA is the leading interdisciplinary gerontology research organization in the world, with a membership of 5,300. He also became one of the country’s first board-certified clinical geropsychologists in 2012 and received the American Board of Professional Psychology’s 2020 Specialty Board Award in geropsychology.

Lichtenberg is nationally renowned for his work on financial decision-making, capacity, vulnerability and undue influence in older adults. He has contributed significantly to the practice of older-adult psychology in areas including financial exploitation, Alzheimer’s disease and late-life depression. He is the author of nine books, and author or co-author of more than 215 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. As a result of his research into financial exploitation, Lichtenberg created several tools for professionals, caregivers and seniors to assess financial decision-making in older adults. These surveys, questionnaires and interviews are available at no cost at


The Institute of Gerontology researches aging, educates students in gerontology, and informs professionals, caregivers and older adults in the community on issues related to aging ( The institute is part of the Division of Research at Wayne State University, one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research institutions in an urban setting. For more information, visit

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