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AARP Announces National Older Driver Safety Expert Panel

Collaborating with MIT AgeLab, Panel Will Advise on AARP Driver Safety Curriculum


May 21, 2012



Allyson Funk or Nancy Thompson


AARP Announces National Older Driver Safety Expert Panel

Collaborating with MIT AgeLab, Panel Will Advise on AARP Driver Safety Curriculum 

Washington, D.C. – AARP today announced members of the AARP-MIT AgeLab National Older Driver Safety Expert Panel. Looking to integrate a multidisciplinary perspective into the future of driver education and curriculum, AARP has assembled this panel of experts from diverse backgrounds. The panel will advise on curriculum content, identify technological and practical innovations in cars, driving and road safety, provide insight on best practices in adult safety education from around the world and serve as a sounding board in the development of the new AARP Driver Safety course. 

“There is a real need to adapt older driver education to our changing world,” said AARP Driver Safety Vice President and National Director Julie E. Lee. “Bringing together a panel of experts from different fields will help AARP to develop the most comprehensive and effective education curriculum it can offer.”

The Chair of the Panel, MIT AgeLab’s Dr. Joseph Coughlin noted that the car, the environment and the lifestyles of the next generation of older Americans has profoundly changed – it is imperative our practical knowledge of safe driving maintains the same velocity of change.

The panel will hold its first meeting in Washington D.C. on May 22, 2012, to begin synthesizing research results and start development of the new curriculum. The AARP panel is being run in collaboration with the MIT AgeLab and is supported by a generous grant from Toyota to AARP Foundation. 

The AARP-MIT AgeLab National Older Driver Safety Expert Panel includes:

Joseph F. Coughlin, Ph.D., Chair, is Director of the New England University Transportation Center at MIT. Founder of the MIT AgeLab, Dr. Coughlin also teaches in MIT's Engineering Systems Division and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning. He is a member of the National Research Council's Transportation Research Board Advisory Committee on the Safe Mobility of Older Persons and has served as an advisor to a number of automobile firms. He chaired the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Task Force on Technology & Transportation for Older People and was appointed to the White House Conference on Aging Advisory Committee in 2005. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego, Brown University, and Boston University and recently co-edited with MIT’s Lisa D’Ambrosio Aging America & Transportation: Personal Choices and Public Policy (Springer, 2012).

Jon Antin, Ph.D., CHFP is a Human Factors Research Scientist and Leader of the Light Vehicle Safety Group in the Center for Automotive Safety Research at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) in Blacksburg. He directs VTTI’s Senior Mobility Program and is the Vulnerable Road User Subject Matter Expert within VTTI’s National Surface Transportation Safety Center for Excellence. Dr. Antin is also currently working on several projects related to senior driver safety focusing on fitness to drive modeling, intersection-related behavior, and brain training. 

Karlene Ball, Ph.D., is a University Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is also the Director of the UAB Roybal Center for Translational Research on Aging and Mobility, and Associate Director, Center for Aging. She has served on numerous committees for the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council and currently chairs the Committee for the Safe Mobility of Older Persons.

Sherrilene Classen, Ph.D., MPH, OTR/L is an Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and Director of the University of Florida’s Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation and holds a position as an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. She serves on two national Transportation Research Board committees, is an editorial board member of the Canadian Journal for Occupational Therapy, and a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the Gerontological Society of America. Dr. Classen is also inducted into the Academy of Research and mentors on a variety of subjects.

Elin Schold Davis, OTR/L, CDRS, is the Older Driver Initiative Project Coordinator for the American Occupational Therapy Association. Schold Davis is a member of the American Society on Aging’s Drive Well Speakers Bureau, a member of the Transportation Research Board’s Safe Mobility for Older Persons Committee, and AOTA’s national liaison/instructor for CarFit, a program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them to increase safety.

Ann M. Dellinger, Ph.D., M.P.H., serves as epidemiologist and team leader for the Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention Team of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control where she oversees the road safety work of the Center. Dr. Dellinger is the recipient of the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Awards for Distinguished Service for assistance during the Oklahoma City bombing (1997) and the World Trade Center/Anthrax Investigation Emergency Response Team (2002).

Monique R. Evans, P.E., CPM is Director of the Office of Safety Research and Development at the Federal Highway Administration Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center. Before joining FHWA in 2010, she served for almost 20 years at the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) including nine years as the Administrator of Research and Development. Monique has also served as ODOT's Standards Engineer, as a Transportation Engineer in the ODOT District 5 office.

James P. Foley, Ph.D., is a Senior Principal Human Factors Engineer at the Toyota Technical Center (TTC) in Ann Arbor, Michigan where he is team leader for human factors research in the Collaborative Safety Research Center. He has over 30 years of experience in automotive human factors, traffic safety and ITS technologies. Previously he worked at Noblis where he provided support and human factors expertise to the U.S. Department of Transportation and worked closely with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Intelligent Transportation System program office. Dr. Foley is active in both SAE Safety & Human Factors and ISO WG8 committees.

Michael Edwin Kafrissen, M.D., MSPH, is Chief Executive Officer of STE Health International LLC and Research Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. He is also Director of Research and Innovation for the World Health Organization Collaborating Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. He was previously the Company Head and Chief Scientific Officer of Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC, and a member of the Johnson & Johnson’s North American Pharmaceutical Management board. Dr. Kafrissen was a Medical Epidemiologist in the Centers for Disease Control’s Chronic Disease Division. 

Richard Marottoli, M.D., M.P.H is Medical Director at the Adler Geriatric Assessment Center at the Yale New Haven Hospital. He is a former recipient of a Donaghue Foundation Investigator Award, VA HSR&D level I and II Career Development Awards, and a Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars in Aging Research Award. He is a 2009-2011 Health and Aging Policy Fellow. He was the first graduate of the Yale Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology. He is also past–chairperson of the Committee on the Safe Mobility of Older Persons of the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board.

Anne T. McCartt, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President for Research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Virginia. Previously she was president of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine and serves on expert committees and advisory boards of the Transportation Research Board and other safety organizations. Dr. McCartt received a B.A. from Duke University and a doctorate in public administration and policy from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, State University of New York at Albany.

Jodi Olshevski, M.S., is Gerontologist and Assistant Vice President at The Hartford, heading The Hartford Advance 50 Team, leading a team of corporate gerontologists who conduct primary research and deliver expert services across The Hartford Financial Services Group and to selected businesses. The team has won numerous awards, and is nationally-recognized as the pre-eminent corporate gerontology organization in the United States. 

Dr. Matthew Rizzo, M.D., FAAN, directs the University of Iowa Aging Mind and Brain Initiative and is a professor of Neurology with appointments in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and the Public Policy Center. In Neurology he is Vice-Chair for Translational and Clinical Research, Director of the Division of Neuroergonomics and its laboratories, a senior member of the Division of Behavioral Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience, and a senior attending physician in the Memory Disorders Clinic. He is a graduate of Columbia University and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

John Saunders is the Vice Chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association and Director of Virginia Highway Safety Services. He also serves as Virginia’s representative to the American Association of State highway and Transportation Officials, Safety management Subcommittee and serves on the Executive Board of the Virginia Alcohol Safety Program. A retired Naval Officer, John has earned Master Degrees in Public Administration from Troy State University and Divinity from Virginia Union University, School of Theology. 

Mary Stearns, Ph.D. is the Chief of the Surface Transportation Human Factors Division at the U.S. Department of Transportation's John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. Her contributions focus on the social factors influencing the use, operation, and organization of transportation systems and equipment. Prior to joining the Center Mary taught sociology and urban studies and carried out research in the Boston area. She has a master’s degree and a doctorate in sociology.

Esther (Essie) Wagner is a Program Analyst working with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Safety Countermeasures Division on pedestrian and older driver safety programs. She received her BA in psychology from the College of Wooster in Ohio and went on to get an MA in Applied Psychology from George Mason University. Before joining NHTSA in 1998, she worked as a contractor for FHWA’s Research and Development division. 

For more information about AARP Driver Safety visit 



About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with nearly 35 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, our bilingual multimedia platform for Hispanic members; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


About MIT Age Lab

The MIT AgeLab was created in 1999 to invent new ideas and creatively translate technologies into practical solutions that improve people’s health and enable them to “do things” throughout the lifespan. Equal to the need for ideas and new technologies is the belief that innovations in how products are designed, services are delivered, or policies are implemented are of critical importance to our quality of life tomorrow. Based within MIT’s School of Engineering’s Engineering Systems Division, the AgeLab has assembled a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, business partners, universities, and the aging community to design, develop and deploy innovations that touch nearly all aspects of how we will live, work and play tomorrow. For more information




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