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About Holly Nelson-Becker

Holly Nelson-Becker, PhD., LCSW, ACSW, DCSW, is Professor at Loyola University Chicago. She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1999 and she obtained an MSW from Arizona State University. She is a Hartford Faculty Scholar in Geriatric Social Work (cohort three) who has investigated the pathways to resilience and well-being in older adults. Her research areas focus on spirituality and aging with an emphasis on end-of-life concerns and diverse cultural expressions.

She helped create national standards for spiritual care in palliative care (Puchalski et al., 2009) and is past Chair of the Interest Group on Religion, Spirituality, and Aging for the Gerontological Society of America. She also served on the National Program Committee for the Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program in Geriatric Social Work. She has published over 45 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, including editing a 2013 special issue of the Journal of Social Work and End of Life and Palliative Care dedicated to spirituality. Her most recent research has explored conceptualization of wisdom in older adults. . She was awarded Fellowship status in the Gerontological Society of America in 2013.


Present Professor, Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work

Curriculum Vitae


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Honors and Awards

  • Fellow Gerontological Society of America, 2013
  • Statland Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship, 2009
  • Outstanding Faculty Member, 2009 (vote by students)
  • University of Kansas Chancellor Budig Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2008


  • Individuals and Families
  • Spirituality and Aging
  • Social Work and Aging
  • Loss, Grief, and Dying Well: Coping with Life Transitions


September 1995 - August 1999 PhD, University of Chicago ‐ School of Social Service Administration

Recent Works (1)

Research Works (1)

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