State and national leader in academic, professional and policy arenas in the field of aging
Fernando Torres-Gil was born and raised in Salinas, California, the son of migrant farm workers. After attaining his AA degree from Hartnell Community College in Salinas, he went on to earn a BA in Political Science from San Jose State University in 1970, an MSW in 1972 and a PhD in 1976 in Social Policy, Planning and Research from the Heller Graduate School in Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Currently, Torres-Gil is a Professor of Social Welfare and Public Policy at UCLA, an Adjunct Professor of Gerontology at USC Andrus Gerontology Center, and Director of the UCLA Center for Policy Research on Aging. He has served as both Associate Dean and Acting Dean at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, and most recently chair of the Social Welfare Department. His research spans important topics of health and long-term care, disability, entitlement reform, and the politics of aging. His academic contributions have earned him membership in the prestigious Academies of Public Administration, Gerontology and Social Insurance.
Locally, Torres-Gil served as vice president of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission; as a member of the Harbor and Taxi Commissions; and as Mayor Villaraigosa’s appointee to the Board of Airport Commissioners. He was appointed by Governor Gray Davis to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Veterans’ Homes and by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as a delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.
Torres-Gil has been involved in as many as fourteen major research initiatives, many as project director or principle investigator. In 1978 he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the Federal Council on Aging. President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. Assistant Secretary on Aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) where he served as chief advisor to Secretary Donna Shalala on matters related to aging and played a key role in promoting the importance of issues of aging, long-term care and disability, community services for older adults, and baby boomer preparation for retirement. In 1995 he conducted the Whitehouse Conference on Aging. Most recently he was appointed by President Obama as vice chair of the National Council on Disability. During his public service in Washington, D.C., he also served as staff director for the U.S. House Select Committee on Aging under the mentorship of Congressman Edward R. Roybal.
Torres-Gill has written numerous books and more than 100 publications on issues related to aging; served on 18 editorial review boards; and assumed many consultation appointments. He has been involved in numerous professional associations with a particular interest in minority aging, policies related to aging Latinos, health care, and professional and leadership development.
Torres-Gil has an impressive portfolio of public service and national and international recognition as a leading spokesperson on demographics, aging, and public policy. Through his political influence, he has engaged the nation’s foremost leaders in geriatric policies and left a legacy in the academic realm for future leaders to continue advancing field.