Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
The UCSF Memory and Aging Center is committed to building a broadly diverse community of professionals, patients and research participants.

The UCSF Memory and Aging Center is committed to building a broadly diverse community of professionals, patients and research participants. We aim to foster a supportive culture that welcomes diverse ideas for the provision of culturally competent education, discovery and patient care.

The MAC community stands united as a community against racism and acts of hate and discrimination. We encourage members of our MAC community to speak up and report incidents of hate and discrimination, as well as support your neighbors in need.

Our center embraces community as one of its most important values and is committed to having a safe and inclusive space for all. It is critical that we learn from shared experiences and contribute to a better path forward. We are proud of the steps that the Memory and Aging Center has taken to model an anti-racist/anti-hate community; establishing the Coalition on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (CODE) and the Black Leadership Advisory Council (BLAC) in addition to committee- and staff-led diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. We value the leadership and courage to take on these issues.

The positive actions taken by the MAC’s BLAC to educate us on the experiences of our Black colleagues and challenge us to contribute to change are invaluable efforts in moving us in a collective effort towards positive change. Efforts implemented in our local AAPI communities, which include volunteer escorts for older adults in Oakland’s Chinatown and The Asian Mental Health Collective’s work to make mental health services for the community, are promising steps in the right direction for healing in the AAPI community. However, we recognize that there is more work to do to help raise awareness and understanding of issues related to racial violence and associated traumas against the AAPI and the collective BIPOC community. There is no place for hate in our society, and we will be allies in promoting positive change.


Ageism is stereotyping or discrimination based on a person’s age. In 1969 gerontologist and psychiatrist Dr. Robert Butler defined ageism as a combination of three elements:

  1. Prejudice about older people, old age, and the aging process
  2. Discriminatory practices against older people
  3. Systemic practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes about older people

People over the age of 85 are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census. Like other forms of bias, ageism is not based on biology but is socially constructed and can exacerbate other forms of disadvantage including those related to gender, disability, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, culture and language.

Ageism can erode the social connections between generations, can prevent the appreciation of what younger and older populations both contribute to society, and can impact our health, longevity and well-being. For instance, early in the COVID-19 pandemic, ageism led to the indefinite isolation of older adults in long-term care and nursing homes. Such measures were widely seen as acceptable to protect a vulnerable population but did not consider the emotional and cognitive health of the very people affected by these decisions. Aging is a highly individual experience, and older adults are a diverse group of people with different skills and abilities.

Two interventions can help combat ageism:

  1. Education: Helping people better understand the aging process, ageism and its effects reduces misconceptions and increases empathy.
  2. Intergenerational contact: Having more social interaction with people of different ages helps to reduce age-related discrimination, stereotypes and prejudice.