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M. Aaron Guest


Aaron Guest headshotAaron Guest is a socio-environmental gerontologist and an inaugural Assistant Professor of Aging within the Center for Innovation in Healthy and Resilient Aging in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation and a Senior Sustainability Scientist within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory at Arizona State University. Guided by a deep interest in the relationship between individuals and their environment, particularly the nexus of the social and built environments, he primarily works with older rural populations, focusing on the interrelationships of older adults’ social networks, built environment, and health. Within this context, his primary line of research focuses on the social experiences of marginalized aging individuals in rural environments and non-urban centers, with a particular interest in working with LGBTQ+ populations to reduce health disparities and inequities. Secondary lines of research focus on reducing discrimination among older adults and exploring the future of gerontological education and careers. He regularly teaches courses in programs and services for older adults, research methods, health communication, interventions to support aging in the community, and LGBTQ health. He serves APHA as the Speaker of the Governing Councilor and aims to engage Councilors from all member units in the leadership of the Association. Guest has been an active member of APHA since 2012. He is a member of the Aging & Public Health, Environment, and Public Health Education and Health Promotion Sections. Starting with his appointment as Diversity Co-Chair of the Student Assembly, he has served the Association through appointed and elected positions at the caucus, affiliate, section, and organizational levels. This includes a term (2015-2019) as an elected member of the Executive Board, one of the few individuals elected while still a student. One of his ongoing passions has been the engagement of members in the Association. He has served on the membership committees of the Aging & Public Health, Environment, and PHEHP Health Communication Workgroup and as the Chair of the Executive Board Membership Committee and Committee on Membership, among others. He has remained active in his affiliates, first in South Carolina, then Kentucky, and now in Arizona. Dr. Guest has a long history of service within the public health and aging field. He has served in elected and appointed positions within the National Association of Social Workers, the Gerontological Society of America, the Academy of Gerontology in Higher Education, the Appalachian Studies Association, the Accreditation for Gerontology Education Council, the LGBTQ Health Caucus, and the American Society of Aging. Guest received his Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. He completed his Ph.D. in Gerontology at the University of Kentucky. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his three cats.

Candidate Statement

I thank my colleagues for nominating me for a second term as Speaker of the Governing Council. For me, the Governing Council is the beating heart of our association. It is where we conduct some of the most critical work of the Association – the election of our officers, the passing of policy, and discussions regarding the future of public health. Over this last term, I have worked to accomplish the three aims I set forth during my first candidacy: To modernize the council, to increase engagement in our representative legislative body, and to increase transparency in our decision-making process. We have accomplished a lot together, but we have more to do. This is why I am running for a second term. I believe that together we can enhance our work– and create an even more modern, engaged, and transparent Council. In short, I want to complete the work we started.

As I said before, I view the Speaker's role as ensuring the Council can achieve its goals and represent the Council to the Executive Board. The Speaker, I believe, serves the Council. A neutral arbitrator, they work to ensure the Council's vision is implemented for the Association. As Speaker, I have and will continue to work to re-think the Council experience and assist in guiding the Association through our MUEEP and Strategic Plan implementation.

APHA is my professional home. It is where I first found my voice in public health. For Science. For Action. For Health is how I approach my work as a public health professional. I could not have imagined I would be nominated twice for such a position when I started my public health journey.

Thank you all for your trust in me – I look forward to seeing what we accomplish together.

View Aaron Guest's CV (PDF)

Response to Written Questions for Candidates (PDF)