Emory Report

March 2, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 23

Emory, UAB collaborate
on center for geriatric medicine

A collaborative venture between Emory and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is ensuring that as America's aging population grows, so will the number of physicians trained to care for older adults.

The Southeast Center for Excellence in Geriatric Medicine, which began operation Jan. 1, is the only such center in the South. Center co-directors and physicians Joseph Ouslander of Emory and Richard Allman of UAB are structuring the unique program to help meet current and future demands for specialists in geriatric medicine. Experts claim the nation's 6,000 geriatricians should more than double just to meet current needs, and they predict some 24,000 more will be needed as baby boomers move toward old age.

The collaboration will enhance the capabilities of both programs to attract young physicians into careers in academic geriatric medicine and to provide doctors new to the field the expertise, mentorship and environment they will need to best manage the sometimes complex health challenges of older patients.

"Many older adults in Atlanta, Birmingham and throughout the South will benefit from this collaborative center as patients of center faculty and doctors in training-all of whom will be practicing the latest in geriatric medicine," said Ouslander, who heads the division of gerontology and geriatric medicine in the School of Medicine as well as the Wesley Woods Center on Aging. "Patients and their families will also benefit from participation in center research projects and in the long run will benefit from the results of center research."

Specifically, the center will provide training and support for senior geriatric medicine fellows-doctors who have completed their medical residencies-and junior faculty at both medical schools.

Support from the center will provide trainees the time and funding to pursue research projects intended to answer scientific questions about the health of older adults. They will have the opportunity to work in a variety of clinical settings including the Center on Aging, the Atlanta VA Medical Center and UAB clinical sites in Birmingham.

Areas of faculty research expertise at the center involve urinary incontinence and related lower urinary tract disorders, mobility disorders and related complications such as balance disorders, pressure ulcers and visual impairment, and improving the delivery of health care to older adults.

The center is supported by institutional funds from Wesley Woods, Emory and UAB and $825,000 in matching funds from the John A. Hartford Foundation, a private philanthropy established in 1929, with a current focus on issues related to health for older adults.

-Lorri Preston

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