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Welcome from the Associate Chief of Research

Kathi Heffner, PhDIt is a pleasure to welcome you to our research area in the Division of Geriatrics & Aging! Our Division’s research mission is to engage in discovery that ultimately improves the health and quality of life of older adults across the care continuum. 

This is an exciting time for geriatrics & aging research at the University of Rochester! With our Division Chief, Dr. Annie-Medina Walpole at the helm of our University of Rochester Aging Institute (URAI), and many of our Division faculty leading URAI efforts, including myself, we are charting a course to advance discovery, clinical care, community engagement, and aging and geriatrics education here at UR, in the Rochester region, and beyond.

The Division is a haven for multidisciplinary and interprofessional collaborations. As a primary faculty member of the School of Nursing with joint appointments here in Geriatrics and in the Department of Psychiatry, I know first-hand the value placed on interprofessionalism. I can also attest to the highly valued multidisciplinary team approach that defines the Division and brings together social/health psychology researchers (which happens to be my background), public health scientists, geriatricians, nurse scientists, geriatric psychiatrists, human development experts, and many other disciplines and care specialties to tackle research aimed at improving the care and quality of life of older adults.

It is an honor to be a part of a highly value-driven Division and to be playing a part in fostering high-impact geriatrics and aging research here at UR. I invite you to explore our Division’s research and the rich collaborations we have across our institution.

Kathi L. Heffner, PhD
Associate Chief of Research, Division of Geriatrics & Aging

Geriatrics & Aging Division Research 

Division of Geriatrics & Aging faculty are engaged in high impact research to advance the health, well-being, and care of older adults. Our research is founded on a long history of research collaboration with other disciplines and specialties, including nursing, psychiatry, public health sciences, palliative care, geriatric fractures, geriatric oncology, and neurology. Our faculty are also highly engaged in VA research, particularly through the Canandaigua VA Geriatrics and Extended Care Data Analysis Center and a history of VA health services research funding.

To support our research mission, we draw on our long-standing strengths and faculty leadership in the division’s Patient Care services—our “natural laboratories”—ranging from geriatrics outpatient clinics, to acute home care, to residential nursing home care. We also leverage a wide array of NIH, VA, HRSA, and other sponsored research funding to advance a portfolio of multidisciplinary research foci in geriatrics health services and healthy aging.  

Team science is key value that shapes our research priorities. We foster strong multidisciplinary and interprofessional collaborations among researchers and clinicians to help identify research priorities that can have high impact on the care and well-being of older adults. Some recent research topics include:

  • Older adults' navigation of the Medicare program and long-term care system
  • The impact of public policies on the cost and quality of care delivered to older adults
  • The role of home health care services in age-friendly health care and older adults’ health outcomes
  • Effectiveness of telehealth for older adults’ health and health care use

University of Rochester Aging Research

The Division of Geriatrics & Aging is leading the University of Rochester’s mission to advance multidisciplinary and translational aging research. With support from the Department of Medicine and URMC, Dr. Annette Medina-Walpole, Chief of the Division of Geriatrics & Aging, is at the helm of the University of Rochester Aging Institute (URAI), which serves as a central hub to support aging-related research, clinical, and community initiatives across the university.

Research Training & Development

The Division of Geriatrics & Aging is committed to fostering the development of outstanding researchers. In addition to conducting research, many division faculty are leading or mentoring quality improvement evaluation initiatives that inform and strengthen research priorities of the division. The division’s training and development programs capitalize on this opportunity for clinical, education, and research mission synergy. 

Geriatric Medicine Fellowship

The Geriatric Medicine Fellowship is a one-year ACGME accredited training program for board-eligible internists and family practitioners. Training activities integrate research education, through an evidence-based practice seminar and grand rounds, and can be tailored to include activities to support future research, including quality improvement or program evaluation of older adult care delivery.

Geriatric Faculty Scholars Program

The Geriatric Faculty Scholars Program is a prestigious challenge grant awarded to current junior URMC faculty with a specific interest in promoting and integrating geriatric principles into other specialties through development, implementation, and/or evaluation of a clinical service or education program aimed at improving the care of older adults. Scholars interested in using these projects as a platform for future health services or clinical research that aims to improve geriatrics practice are encouraged to apply.

Geriatric Medicine Clinical-Research Pathway

Our Division has a commitment to fostering the next generation of clinician scientists in geriatrics. Current and potential Geriatric Medicine Fellows interested in pursuing research training following the completion of the 1-year Geriatric Medicine Fellowship are encouraged to discuss potential opportunities with Dr. Kathi Heffner, Associate Chief of Research in the Division of Geriatrics & Aging (