Award-Winning Economics Professor and Gerontologist Retires

Dr. Summers and her husband have also spent years dedicated to their hobby of raising trophy-worthy lilies.

Professor Gail Jensen Summers, PhD, retired from Wayne State University in 2022. She was jointly appointed in the Institute of

Gerontology and the Department of Economics. As a health economist and gerontologist, her research evaluated health system reforms, the determinants of healthcare disparities, the effects of Medicare payment generosity on beneficiaries' access to care and satisfaction with care, and the economics of health insurance. She published more than 100 scholarly works over the years, primarily peer-reviewed journal articles.

In 2007 the Michigan Public Health Institute honored Professor Summers for "outstanding service and devotion to public health." In 2011 the Board of Governors of Wayne State University awarded her a Distinguished Faculty Fellowship, recognizing that "her achievements and current activities in scholarship and research are of an exceptional caliber and continue to hold national distinction."

Perhaps even more extraordinary was the impact Dr. Summers had on the many students she taught, mentored and helped to complete their dissertations. These notes of gratitude from a few of her more recent trainees, say it best:

I will really miss you being a part of the IOG. In my engagement with the IOG over these last years, you have always been so kind, encouraging and supportive.  I will miss the opportunity to continue to learn from you as an IOG trainee, although I know that you are leaving the program in good hands. I am wishing you all the best as you transition into retirement.

Warmly, Laura Sutherland

While I know your academic career has been extensive and celebrated over many years, for me, I feel I was gifted by being able to have you always be an encouraging and present mentor. This was not just at the IOG but also in my whole educational career. Being a part of the IOG and having your mentorship has allowed me to experience the much wider field of gerontology, outside my little corner of the anthropology department, and allowed me to grow as a person, and see all the possibilities that are out there for me in gerontology. I hope we can stay in touch as we both move to this new phase. I wish you all the best.

Your Mentee, Kimberly Shay

I wanted to congratulate you on your retirement and say how grateful I am for all the support and kindness you gave to us over the years of our training in IOG. Wishing you good health and great times with your family and friends.

Roya Homayouni

Your mentorship has been invaluable to my development as an academic and a professional. You were a spot of sunshine in a difficult journey of navigating my PhD during Covid 19. I valued the way you advocated for me, how you still saw potential in me even when I was struggling with statistics coursework. I will never forget such kindness and often recall it fondly. Thank you for the heart you have invested in all the trainees and our success. I know that I am not the only one who your mentorship has impacted for the better. I hope that your coming days are smooth sailing and full of warmth and kindness as wonderful as you are.

Rachel Carey

Back to Newsletter