Laura Katz Olson is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University. She joined the department in 1974 and served as the department chair on several occasions. Professor Olson grew up in the Bronx, New York, and received her undergraduate education at the City College of New York (CCNY). After traveling throughout Western Europe and South America for two years, she entered the doctoral program in political science at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she received a Ph.D. in 1974.
Professor Olson has published nine books, the most recent of which is Ethically Challenged: Private Equity Storms U.S. Health Care (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022). The book has received the following awards: Gold Medal from Axiom Best Business Awards (business ethics); Gold Medal, North American Book Awards (Business/Finance and Political Current Events; Gold Medal, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin Awards (Political and Current Events); Winner, National Indie Excellence Awards (Political); Silver Medal, Nautilus Book Awards (Journalism/Investigative Reporting); Finalist, The 19 th Annual
Best Book Awards, American Book Fest, (General Nonfiction); Finalist, Montaigne Medal/Eric Hoffer Awards (Most Thought-Provoking Books).
Olson’s other books include: Elder Care Journey: A View from the Front Lines (SUNY Press, 2016); The Politics of Medicaid (Columbia University Press); The Political Economy of Aging: The State, Private Power and Social Welfare; Aging and Public Policy: The Politics of Growing Old in America; The Graying of the World: Who Will Take Care of the Frail Elderly; Age Through Ethnic Lenses: Caring for the Elderly in a Multicultural Society; The Not So Golden Year: Caregiving, the Frail Elderly and the Long-Term Care Establishment; The Handbook of Long-Term Care Administration and Policy; and Heart Sounds (her first novel). A second novel, Wrinkled Rebels, will be published in Spring 2024 by Vine Leaves Press.
She has published widely in the field of aging, health care and women’s studies, her articles and book chapters addressing such topics as Medicaid, Medicare, long-term care of the elderly, pensions, Social Security and problems experienced by older women. She has been a Scholar at the Social Security Administration, a Gerontological Fellow, and a Fulbright Scholar. She is the recipient of the Charles A. McCoy Lifetime Achievement Award from New Political Science, a section of the American Political Science Association.
Professor Olson teaches “U.S. Health Care Policies,” “The American Presidency,” and “American Political System.” She directs the political science department’s internship program. She has one daughter, Alix, who is a performance poet and assistant professor of political science and women’s study at Oxford College of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She lives with her husband, George, a blue grass musician and luthier.