Editor’s Note: McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News are profiling the McKnight’s 2021 Women of Distinction honorees daily July 6 through Aug. 9. To see the 2021 McKnight’s 2021 Women of Distinction awards ceremony, register for free here. For additional profiles of McKnight’s Women of Distinction, visit this page.

Robyn Stone, DrPH (Photo: LeadingAge)
Robyn Stone, DrPH

Since she was young, Robyn Stone has had a personal connection to senior care, beginning with her close relationship with her grandparents. Her bond with her grandfather, who stepped in after Stone’s father passed, was especially strong.

Stone later attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she conducted research on older immigrant communities. She then attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, continuing to research public policy in the aging services sector.

In the 1970s, Stone completed multiple internships in aging services, including a presidential management internship in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Her 1987 report on caregiving, entitled “Exploding the Myths: Caregiving in America,” received national recognition for its insights into the problems associated with caring for aging family members.

Stone’s deep involvement in policy work led to her serving as a political appointee in the Clinton administration, where she led the long-term care initiative in the Clinton Taskforce on Health Care Reform. She also was deputy assistant secretary for Disability, Aging, and Long-term Care Policy, and a U.S. assistant secretary on Aging, both at HHS.

In 1999, Stone joined LeadingAge and created the Institute for the Future of Aging Services (later the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston). As someone with uncommon experience in both research and policy, she made an easy transition into her new role, which is rooted in research, while using findings to generate new policy initiatives.

In the early 2000s, Stone headed the Better Jobs, Better Care national initiative, which consisted of five state-based coalitions and eight research projects focused on improvements in education, job quality and compensation of direct care workers. From this campaign, direct care workers were able to see immediate changes in policy surrounding these issues.

Her vast experience has led to her being asked to be on a variety of public and private-sector advisory committees dealing with the topic of dementia care.

Her colleagues so admire Stone, who has more than 40 years in the field of aging research and policy, that they view her as a true pioneer in the aging services industry. Stone continues to strive for lasting policy changes to help the aging population, blazing confirmation that her commitment to her work is her lifelong passion. 

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare, and the Roundtable Sponsor is Paycor.