Profile: Malcolm Cutchin

Dr. Malcolm Cutchin – Professor, Division of Occupational Science (School of Medicine), Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography, and Senior Research Scientist, Institute on Aging, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. He also holds an appointment at the University of Southern Denmark in the Institute of Public Health. Malcolm’s current research areas include residential environments and interventions for older adults, environmental stress and health, and pragmatist philosophy.

Malcolm Cutchin did his MA and PhD at the University of Kentucky. Malcolm’s first faculty appointment was in the Geography Department at Middlebury College where he taught medical geography, economic geography, introductory human geography, and geographic thought. While at Middlebury, Malcolm began to develop a research stream in geographical gerontology that was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging. That research explored the way assisted living and adult day care mediate the aging-in-place process.

A move to the University of Texas Medical Branch took Malcolm out of a geography department, it allowed greater collaboration with health researchers. One outcome of that collaboration was the development of a $9 million Center for Population Health and Health Disparities at UTMB within which Malcolm was a principal investigator. That research focused on stress and health for Hispanics living in a community dominated by a large petrochemical complex. This venture into social epidemiology, with a strong geographic component, has proved a good learning experience, not only with regard to the topical matter, but also as far as large project administration and interdisciplinary research are concerned. He and colleagues at UTMB are still at work on data from that study.

In 2005, Malcolm moved to UNC and cemented a collegial relationship with scholars in Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science that had been developing since his time at Middlebury. Besides his appointment in Occupational Science, he is now collaborating with occupational scientists on research projects, attending their conferences, and publishing in their journals. He recently led a study funded by the NIA which investigated the feasibility and effect of preventive home visits (by an occupational therapist) for older adults at-risk for decline and involuntary relocation.

He is currently Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Applied Gerontology, an appointment that will end in May 2011.

Updated: January 2011