The Gilbrea Centre is an interdisciplinary research hub that is dedicated to address issues of aging through collaborative and policy relevant research. 

Based on a collaborative undertaking by outstanding researchers and educators , the Centre produces and communicates socially-relevant knowledge which helps to broaden understandings of aging, the challenges that exist, and the suggested directions for change.

Our vision is to address the needs of an aging society through research that is grounded in community partnerships, and knowledge exchange with target groups including students, faculty, community organizations, decision-makers, and older people.

Created as a major step forward in addressing contemporary issues of aging, the Centre's work on aging extends beyond McMaster's campus through partnerships and collaboration with National and international research teams, and partners in the public, private and non-profit sectors.  


In addition to the above stated mission, the Gilbrea Centre coordinates research and knowledge exchange according to the following objectives:

Foster inter- and trans-disciplinary research on aging that supports the education and service mission of the University
Leverage success and attract financial support for research and knowledge exchange from the public and private sectors
Ensure that our research is grounded in the community and responsive to real needs and concerns of individuals, families and societies
Support and promote the University’s strategic plan by building on the study of aging as an area of excellence at McMaster University
To support and promote research on three broad programs: Aging and Independence; Aging and Social Inclusion; and Aging and Mental Health
Support and promote innovative research on three broad programs: Aging and Independence; Aging and Social Inclusion; and Aging and Mental Health


Why is the Centre called the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging?

The study of aging from a social perspective has a long-established history at McMaster. In fact, McMaster was one of the first undergraduate programs of gerontology in Canada.  The McMaster Centre for Gerontological Studies was founded in 1985 and over the years has played a central role in teaching and research in Canada.

In 2011, the Centre received a generous donation, and became an endowed Centre for research into aging at McMaster. The Gilbrea name comes from our donor's ancestral estate located in the Lakes district of Northern England (photos). In 1879 our donor's family moved to Canada and Gilbrea became the name of a two hundred acre farm on Lakeshore Road between Oakville and Bronte (one portion of the farm is now the site of Oakville's Coronation Park). Although the farm has long since disappeared, the name Gilbrea continues on across the generations with the donor's family. The name Gilbrea now takes on a new meaning through its new association with leadership and innovation in the field of aging in Canada.



Gilbrea Governance Chart

Advisory Board

The Centre's Advisory Board counsels the Executive Committee on matters related to the success of the Centre. These matters include: leveraging successes to attract financial support for outstanding inter-disciplinary research; translating research results into policy and care practices; developing successful partnerships in the public and private sectors; engaging in effective and sustained community outreach and partnerships; and increasing the range and prominence of aging studies in the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate curriculum.

  • Mary Burnett

    Board Member

  • Glenys Currie

    Board Member

  • Margaret Denton

    Board Member

  • Glenn Miller

    Board Member

  • Alexandra Papaioannou

    Board Member

  • Judith Phillips

    Board Member

  • Mary Sinclair

    Board Member

  • Laura Tamblyn-Watts

    Board Member

  • Ellen Yachnin

    Board Member

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee contributes to the maintenance of a strategic vision for the Centre in line with supporting high quality interdisciplinary research. The executive committee ensures that the activities of the Centre are aligned with broader University initiatives with regards to research and teaching at McMaster, including the involvement of the community at large. The Executive Committee also provides administrative and budgetary oversight, and assists with suggestions for programming, and the development of Centre policies and programming as needed.

  • Gavin Andrews

     Acting Director

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  • Equity Burke

     Research Coordinator

  • James Dunn

     Department Chair, Health, Aging and Society

  • Meridith Griffin

     Associate Professor

  • Jeremiah Hurley

     Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences


E.B. Ryan Scholarship

The E.B. Ryan Scholarship was established in 1997 using funds raised by a performance of the play "Letter from Wingfield Farm". 

Eligibility:  For Social Sciences and Health Sciences graduate students conducting research in the field of aging

Review Process and Evaluation Criteria: The scholarship will be awarded by the School of Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the Director of the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging.

Please note, there is NO award for 2020-21 .


Ronald Bayne Gerontology Award

The Ronald Bayne Gerontology Award was established in 1999 by Barbara Bayne to honour Dr. Ronald Bayne's valuable contribution to the study of Gerontology at McMaster University.

Eligibility: For Social Sciences and Humanities graduate students conducting research in the field of aging.  

Review Process and Evaluation Criteria: The award will be awarded by the School of Graduate Studies on the recommendation of the Director of the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging.


For 2020-21, there is ONE award valued at $2,500.00.  Complete application DUE:  December 3, 2020.



TO APPLY FOR THE AWARDS **New this year**:

  1. Students can apply by going to AwardSpring, which is accessed through the “AwardSpring” tile on their Mosaic Home page. 
  2. Students will need to complete one common application to be matched with all eligible awards.  Students may be asked to submit additional information/documents for certain awards for which they apply.
  3. For detailed application instructions, please visit: Introducing AwardSpring (review the “Common App” and “To apply for a scholarship” links)
  4. Submit all required documentation by December 3, 2020 as noted on the application for the specific award.
  • E.B. Ryan Scholarship

  • Rachel Dunsmore

Rachel Dunsmore is a first year MA student in the department of Health, Aging, and Society at McMaster University. She has completed two Bachelor of Arts at the University of Winnipeg (Conflict Resolution Studies and Honours Sociology).

Rachel is preparing to study the current knowledge base regarding the medicalization of aging. Is aging, a lifetime process which is largely socially determined or molded, being re-cast as a medical problem in need of treatment(s)? What are the ways/mechanisms in which this is occurring and what are its effects?

Rachel is interested in cross-cultural perspectives of aging, the life course, and intergenerational relations as a way of challenging individualism.

View past recipients

  • Ronald Bayne Gerontology Award

  • Blessing Ojembe

Blessing holds an M Sc Gerontology from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom and a BSc in Social work from the University of Nigeria. Blessing’s work focuses on aging, loneliness, social isolation and social exclusion. Blessing is currently a   member  of  the  Gilbrea   Students   Group,   McMaster   University;   and   the Emerging Researchers and Professionals on Aging – African Network (ERPAAN).

Blessing’s hope is that through her PhD research, culturally specific programs and interventions   that   will   address   loneliness,   social   isolation   and   integration   among racialized   older  Canadians   will   be  developed.   Blessing   believes   that  the   future   of gerontology lies in getting the younger generation to be involved in the study of aging, globally. Hence, she hopes to be an aging mentor/teacher to the younger generation.

View past recipients

  • Gilbrea Travel Award

  • Emma Conway - TrentAging 2019

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  • Margherita Duesbury - Canadian Association on Gerontology 2019

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  • Kelsey Harvey - TrentAging 2019

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  • Stephanie Hatzifilalithis - Canadian Association on Gerontology 2019

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  • Blessing Ojembe - Canadian Association on Gerontology 2019

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  • Alison Ross - TrentAging 2019

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  • Blessing Ugochi Ojembe - TrentAging 2019

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View past recipients