Dr. Ken Rockwood Wins Ryman Prize

NEWS RELEASE: Dr. Kenneth Rockwood is the seventh winner of international health prize

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                                                                               

December 15, 2021: Geriatrician, researcher, academic and anti-ageism campaigner Dr. Kenneth Rockwood has won the 2021 Ryman Prize. The award recognises Dr. Rockwood’s more than 30 years of research, collaboration, and practical clinical work for older adults living with frailty and dementia, and his long-term campaign to battle ageism in healthcare. Dr. Rockwood’s win was announced by the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand.

The Ryman Prize is an annual $250,000 international award for the best work carried out anywhere in the world that has enhanced quality of life for older people. It is the richest prize of its kind in the world. The prize has been awarded seven times and the winner is normally presented with the medal in person – but the COVID-19 pandemic meant Dr. Rockwood could not travel to New Zealand to collect his prize and medal.

Dr. Rockwood said the pandemic meant the health of older people was more important than ever.

“This is a fantastic recognition, and the timing could not be better,” said Dr. Rockwood.  “It will give momentum and recognition to do a whole lot more research and work for a greater good.’’

The Ryman Prize attracts a world-class field of entrants each year. Each winner is chosen by an international jury of experts from across many disciplines. Dr. Rockwood was singled out for this year’s prize for a truly unique contribution to the understanding of ageing.

“Dr. Rockwood is a truly outstanding clinician and academic who has spent many decades combining his practical experience with a research basis to try and truly understand the causes of ageing and decline,” said Ryman Prize Director, David King.  “His Clinical Frailty Scale is used internationally, and he has made a massive contribution to scientific literature with hundreds of peer reviewed articles and contributions in the world’s leading medical research journals. Without a doubt he is made an enormous contribution to the health and care of older people, and he thoroughly deserves our gratitude."

Additionally, one of Dr. Rockwood’s greatest contributions has been to combat ageism. His work has helped debunk common misconceptions that complex problems faced by older people – such as delirium, cognitive issues and frailty – were part of normal decline and that treatment options were limited.  Dr. Rockwood’s other great contribution has been as a teacher and a clinical leader, inspiring talented specialists to join the field. As a result of his inspiration the work of a whole new generation of Ken Rockwood’s is likely to benefit older people around the world in the years to come.

“On behalf of Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, I am both privileged and honoured to congratulate Dr. Ken Rockwood, the DMRF Kathryn Allen Weldon Endowed Chair in Alzheimer's Research, as the distinguished recipient of the Ryman Prize,” says Joanne Bath, Chief Executive Officer of Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation.  “Having supported and championed Dr. Rockwood’s ground-breaking research in frailty and aging across several decades through the support of our donors, we are excited to celebrate the global recognition of a long-standing professional partner. Ms. Weldon would be proud of the impact of her philanthropy.”


Watch a the life-stream of the Ryman Prize presentation:

About Kenneth Rockwood:

Dr. Kenneth Rockwood lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He is Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Neurology and the DMRF Kathryn Allen Weldon Professor of Alzheimer Research at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He is Senior Director of a newly formed Frailty and Elder Care Network at Nova Scotia Health and is an Honorary Professor of Population Science and Experimental Medicine, University College, London.

About the Ryman Prize:

The Ryman Prize is administered by the Ryman Foundation. The annual prize consists of a $250,000 grant which is awarded by an international jury to the best invention, idea, research concept or initiative that has enhanced quality of life for older people. It is the world’s richest prize of its type and was established to create the equivalent of a Nobel Prize for people working in the field of the health of older people.The prize was launched in 2015 and has been awarded seven times.  See a full list of winners on the Ryman Foundation website.


For interviews with Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, please contact Christena Copleand, Director, Communications for DMRF at 902-441-8362 or email christena.copeland@dal.ca 

For information about the Ryman Prize, please contact David King on 03 366 4069 (00643 3664069) or 021 499 602 (006421 499 6902) david.king@rymanhealthcare.com.