Ph.D., Professor of Sociology & Chair of Social Gerontology at the Dept. of Sociology of Uppsala University. Beginning in January 2021 (and for 5 yrs.), she holds the position of Editor-in-Chief of Ageing & Society. The Gerontological Society of America awarded Prof. Torres the Fellow status "In recognition of outstanding achievement and exemplary contributions to the field of gerontology" in 2017. She was also elected into the (Swedish) Royal Society of Sciences in 2016.
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Prof. Torres – who holds both a Professorship in Sociology and the Chair in Social Gerontology at Uppsala University - is a sociologist of aging who has conducted numerous studies that problematize old age-related constructs, shed critical light on commonly used methods in health and social care and deconstruct some of the taken for granted assumptions that guide policy and practice for the older segments of our populations. This is why she is often regarded as a critical gerontologist. Sandra's main contributions to research on aging and old age are based on research that has aimed to expand the social gerontological imagination through the use of knowledge gathered in the sociology of aging, the sociology of ethnicity/ race and migration as well as in social work. Prior to joining the professorial team of this department, Sandra held an (adjunct) professorship in rehabilitation and aging (at Oslo University College in Norway between 2008-2012) and a professorship in social work (at Mälardalen University in Sweden between 2009-2010).
Sandra was a part of some of the research programs, centers of excellence and research schools on aging that the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FORTE) funded back in the early 200's. Her research has received funding from the two main Swedish research councils for social sciences (VR and FORTE). She was one of the first recipients of the ERA-AGE NET grant entitled Future Leader of Aging Research in Europe (also known as the FLARE program). Between 2018-2020, she was a member of the Evaluations Panel in Humanities & Social Sciences (known as HS-C: Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work) of the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet). Beginning in January 2021 (and for the following five years), she will hold the position of Editor-in-Chief of Ageing & Society; a Cambridge University Press journal with am impact of 1.768 (2019 Journal Citation Reports).
How has prof. Torres' scholarship contributed to research, policy and practice?
Listing all of Prof. Torres' contributions to these areas is not possible. A couple of them deserve, however, attention. Thus, Sandra was one of the scientific experts who worked on the latest policy plan on quality within elderly care that the the Swedish Government launched in 2017 (which in Swedish is called the SOU Nationella Kvalitetsplan för Äldreomsorgen). Between 2016-2020, she was also a member of both the Steering and the Management Committee for the COST- research network on old age and social exclusion (known as ROSENet; a network that brought together 180+ researchers in 41 countries). Together with Prof. Ariela Lowenstein (Haifa University, Israel), she co-lead the Working Group on Civic Exclusion in this COST-funded network She is also one of the few scholars in Europe that co-chairs an interest group for the Gerontological Society of America (a responsibility she has held ever since 2006 when the founder of this group - Dr. Allen Glicksman of the Philadelphia Aging Corporation asked her to join him in leading this group). Since 2018, Sandra the President of the Int’l. Sociological Association's Research Committee on Aging (RC-11). In 2015, she stepped down as President of the Swedish Gerontological Society (SGS) and as a council member to the Int'l. Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) after having held both of these positions since 2009. In 2019, she was elected as President/ Chair of the Socio-Behavioral Section of IAGG-ER, which is the European Region division of the Int'l. Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG). As such, she is a member of the Executive Committee of IAGG-ER.
Prof. Torres represented Sweden in several research networks financed by the former European Science Foundation and NORFACE-ERA NET and has also been a part of some of the networks for aging research that the Swedish Research Council for Working Life and Social Research (FORTE) has funded through the years. Sandra has authored over 100 publications and has presented her work in 150+ international conferences . She was also one of the founders of, and Associate Editors for, one of the first open-access journals in gerontology: the International Journal of Ageing and Later Life. In addition, she sits on the Editorial Board for established peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Aging Studies, Ethnicity & Health and Socialvetenskaplig Tidskrift as well as for recently launched ones such as Vulnerable Groups & Inclusion (re-launched in Sept. of 2015 as Society, Health and Vulnerability). Between 2010-2014 she served also in the Editorial Board of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences and in the board of Social Policy and Society (between 2009-2014).
Her latest book is entitled Ethnicity & Old Age: Expanding our Imagination (published in 2019 by Policy Press). In 2016 she edited two collections for Routledge: one entitled Ageing in Context of Migrations (edited together with Ute Karl) which was published in the Routledge Advances in Sociology Series and another entitled Older People and Migration: Challenges for Social Work (edited together with Susan Lawrence).
What are some of Prof. Torres' contributions to the Department of Sociology?
Besides the numerous PhD Candidates that she has supervised and mentored up to the completion of their degrees, Prof. Torres founded (in 2012) - together Prof. em. Rafael Lindqvist - the Research Group on Welfare; a group that brings together close to thirty researchers who are disciplinarily trained in either sociology or social work and conduct research on inequality and welfare. She co-lead this group up until 2020 when she took over the Head of Department role. Worth noting is perhaps that she was Deputy Head of Department between 2014-2018, and that in that capacity, she played an instrumental role in securing the university funding necessary to establish the Centre for Social Work (CESAR), the chair in social work as well as the PhD program in that discipline.
Between 2010-2019, she lead also The Social Gerontology Group which was comprised of researchers in social gerontology from Uppsala University, Stockholm University and Gävle University College. For insight into the current research projects that these groups are conducting see the homepage links below. A list of the current projects which Prof. Torres is running at the moment - which range from projects on need assessment practice, cross-cultural interaction in palliative care, media representations of culture-related issues in daily newspaper reporting on elderly care to the kind of theoretically based projects focusing on ethnicity and migration for which she is known - can be found on the website of the Research Group on Welfare (see link below).
What is the Social Gerontology Group?
As stated above, Prof. Torres took on the leadership of The Social Gerontology Group at the Department of Sociology in 2011 and lead the group for several years. This group builds on a tradition from 1976, when the late Prof. em. Lars Tornstam (who held the first Chair in Social Gerontology at this department) initiated the first academic courses in Gerontology at Uppsala university and, together with a group of devoted researchers, launched a series of gerontological research projects a couple of years later.
The research projects that this group led when it was founded were all done within the framework of a large national multidisciplinary gerontological program - Elderly in Society - Past, Present and in the Future. The outcome of this program showed, among other things, the necessity of academic gerontological research in more stable forms. The program published 35 research reports and three books (all in Swedish).
In 1990 the Swedish Government decided to establish three new chairs with gerontological orientation - one of them is the Chair in Social Gerontology at Uppsala University that the late Prof. em. Lars Tornstam held prior to retirement and that Prof. Torres now holds. With this chair as a basis, the Social Gerontology Group was formally established.
The Social Gerontology Group aimed at establishing social gerontology at Uppsala University by means of both research and education, as well as network activities. The program invests in nurturing and schooling new Ph.D.& post-docs in social gerontology as well as teaching in the educational programs that are offered at the Department of Sociology.
The members of the Social Gerontology Group that work at this department are together responsible for the undergraduate course in social gerontology within the social work program, as well as the supervision of undergraduate research papers in social gerontology.
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