American Federation For Aging Research Announces The 2012 Hartford Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine Awards

Awards address critical need for geriatricians

New York, NY
 – March 23, 2012 /Press Release/  –– 

The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) announced today it will distribute nearly $2.5 million in career development awards to 83 advanced fellows and junior faculty members at 28 Hartford Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training. The Centers of Excellence program is funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation, a committed champion of improving health care for older adults, and administered by AFAR, and since 2010 has granted more than $7.5 million, with the goal of increasing the number of academic leaders in geriatric medicine.

“As America ages, the Hartford Foundation’s support of the next generation of geriatricians is more important than ever,” said Richard Besdine, MD, Chief Medical Officer for AFAR and vice chair of AFAR’s National Program Office Advisory Committee, which administers the program. “These scholars are extremely impressive, both in their accomplishments and in their dedication to the important cause of promoting excellent medical care for older adults through their research, teaching, and leadership. Without this support, progress to better care for elders would be seriously impeded, and we are all grateful.”

The rapid aging of the American population and the drastic shortfall in the number of geriatricians create an urgent need for more medical faculty who can impart geriatrics to all medical students, and for researchers who can develop innovative ways to improve the care of older adults.

For a complete list of this year’s Hartford scholars, please visit www.afar.org/grantees.

The critical need for geriatricians
The nation’s acute shortage of geriatricians is compounded by a lack of faculty members specializing in geriatrics who can train the next generation of doctors. Currently there are fewer than 900 full-time academic geriatricians in the U.S., while some experts project that 2,400 are required to meet the growing demand.

“The Hartford Foundation believes that all physicians need to be prepared to meet the specialized needs of older patients, who are the heaviest users of our health care system,” said Nora OBrien-Suric, senior program officer at The John A. Hartford Foundation. “The Hartford Centers of Excellence award is the only one of its kind supporting young academic geriatricians at this critical time in their careers, and is designed to maximize its impact by giving the leaders of geriatrics training programs a high degree of flexibility in how they use the award.”

Many of the recipients of the Hartford awards would not have been able to pursue an academic career without this support for their ongoing training in geriatrics. The awards aim to open doors to subsequent career development awards, help recipients build a network of professional colleagues and mentors in the field of geriatrics, and provide recipients the freedom to be innovative in their research.

Building Centers for Excellence
The Hartford awards are part of the Hartford Foundation’s Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training (CoE) initiative, which supports medical schools with the necessary components for training academic geriatricians. These include infrastructure for research and medical education, advanced training opportunities, academic mentoring, and enlightened institutional support. Twenty-six Centers focus on geriatric medicine and two are dedicated to geriatric psychiatry. For more information on the CoE program, please visit www.geriatricsrecruitment.org.

About AFAR
Founded in 1981, AFAR has championed the cause and supported the funding of science in healthier aging. Due to the shortage of physicians and researchers dedicated to the bioscience of aging, AFAR partners with foundations, corporations and individuals to fund important research into the fundamental mechanism of aging, age-related health, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. For more information, please visit AFAR’s website at www.afar.org.

About the John A. Hartford Foundation
Founded in 1929, The John A. Hartford Foundation is a committed champion of health care training, research, and service system innovations that will ensure the well-being and vitality of older adults. Its overall goal is to improve the health of older Americans. Today, the Foundation is America’s leading philanthropy with a sustained interest in aging and health. For more information, please visit www.jhartfound.org.

Center of Excellence Scholars at MSSM Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Sara Bradley, MD (CoE 2011-2013) her project is developing a geriatric patient safety curriculum for third year medical students that includes modules on the principles of patient safety, hazards of hospitalization, and safe transitions of care including having students visit an older adult patient they took care of in the hospital after discharge. Linda DeCherrie, MD (CoE 2010-2012) her project focused on designing and implementing a transitions of care curriculum for the medicine interns which involved experiential. Will Hung, MD (CoE 2010-2012), his projects evaluate a novel inpatient model of care for older adults and to implement a care transitions model. Laura Gelfman (CoE 2012-2013), her research focus is on the role of palliative medicine for older adults with heart failure; her CoE project will examine how palliative medicine impacts the health care utilization and costs of hospitalization of older patients with heart failure. Kristina Gestuvo, MD (CoE 2012-2013) her project will use colorectal cancer screening (CRCS) to explore the difficult discussions with patients of prognosis issues and then develop a conversation framework that be both a decision support and a documentation tool. Amy Kelley, MD (CoE 2011-2013), her project uses the Health and Retirement Study and Medicare claims data to investigate patient and regional factors associated with treatment intensity among older adults with serious illness. Fred Ko, MD (CoE 2011-2013), his project focuses on developing a surgical mouse model in order to investigate molecular changes induced by surgery and anesthesia that increase risks for adverse postoperative outcomes, and translating these findings into clinical research in older adults. Betty Lim, MD (CoE 2012-2013) her project her project is to develop interactive communication seminars for nursing home front line staff such as nurses, aides, social workers, and physicians to help navigate challenging conversations regarding care plans and progression of illnesses. Evgenia Litrivis, MD (CoE 2012-2013) her project is focused on developing a case-based educational program for residents and fellows that provide a framework for formulating medical prognoses, and effectively communicating prognoses and eliciting informed goals of therapy so hospital care delivery can be individually tailored for older adults. Jennifer Reckrey, MD (CoE 2012-2013) her project will focus on building a strong interdisciplinary team in a home-based primary care practice and developing curriculum for residents and fellows that teach about the importance of a team approach when providing comprehensive primary care. Dennis Popeo, MD (CoE 2011-2012) his project tested the IMPACT model (Improving Mood – Promoting Access to Collaborative Treatment), a tested model for depression care in the elderly, with the ‘old-old’ patients at Mount Sinai who suffer from depression. Brijen Shah, MD (CoE 2011-2013), His project focused on curriculum development for appropriate colorectal cancer screening in elderly patients and assessment tools on shared decision making and informed consent targeted for gastroenterology fellows.