Marie-Therese Connolly is a writer, lawyer, researcher, policy wonk, MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and founder of the Elder Justice Lab. Her work focuses on finding better ways to reduce harm and enhance wellbeing and purpose as we age. She’s the author of a book of nonfiction (2022) that tells the story of elder justice, chronicling the work of pioneers in law, medicine, services, forensics, finance, advocacy, policy, and meaning-making.
MT is part of a team that created, launched, and studies the RISE model, a new advocacy-based, harm reduction program that works with victims, and, if victims wish, also with alleged abusers, concerned others, and the relationships among them. Since 2019, the RISE model has been used in Maine to augment APS. It is now being expanded to provide, in appropriate circumstances, alternatives to elder abuse prosecution and guardianship, with the goal of diverting cases out of courts and taking more restorative, person-centered approaches in how we respond to elder abuse.
MT conceived of and was the original architect of the Elder Justice Act, the first comprehensive federal elder abuse law. As founder of the Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative, she guided theory and strategy in large federal cases against nursing home chains for fraud, abuse, and neglect. At DOJ, her work led to the first elder abuse research program, still in existence today. She also formed several influential groups that continue to meet. She has written for numerous academic and mainstream publications and was the lead author of the Elder Justice Roadmap that helped shape the 2015 White House Conference on Aging and continues to influence research, education, policy, and practice. MT is a graduate of Stanford University and Northeastern University Law School. She lives in Washington, DC.