Strong Emergency Doctor Wins Geriatrics Award

Program Encourages Young Leaders to Care for Elderly

June 26, 2003

Manish Shah, M.D., an attending physician in the Emergency Department at Strong Memorial Hospital, won a prestigious Dennis W. Jahnigen Career Development Scholars Award from the American Geriatrics Society for 2003.

With $200,000 in Jahnigen funding, Shah plans to develop a novel Emergency Medical Services program to screen elderly patients for their risk of preventable injuries and diseases. In one aspect of the project, Shah proposes collaborating with EMTs to identify people who might need the pneumococcal vaccine, for example, or who are more likely to fall due to unsafe living conditions.

"Preventing frailty is critical as the population ages," says Shah, an assistant professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "Working with emergency medical technicians is a huge opportunity because in many cases, they are the only care givers who regularly enter seniors' homes. As a result, they can have a tremendous impact."

Staying healthy is often influenced by the quality of care that older adults receive, the American Geriatric Society says. The Jahnigen awards were established to support doctors outside of geriatrics who are interested in research and care for this population.

Shah is one of 10 winners nationwide who submitted innovative proposals ranging from how to improve surgical care to sleep apnea and macular degeneration. Shah's project mentors are Sandra Schneider, M.D., chief of Emergency Medicine at Strong, and Robert McCann, M.D., chief of Medicine at Highland Hospital.

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