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News & Events

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Brian McGarry Awarded NIA Career Development Award

Monday, August 1, 2022

Brian McGarry, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and of public health sciences, was recently awarded a National Institute on Aging career development (K) award. The 5-year award, titled "The Impact of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) on Older Adults' Medicare Coverage Choices, Financial Well-being, and Health," will support research examining the Medicare coverage choices of individuals with ADRD. Medicare, the federally funded health insurance program for older adults age 65 and older, is complex and heavily reliant on consumer choice, potentially placing individuals with impaired cognitive capacity due to ADRD at increased risk of financial barriers to needed health services and worse health outcomes. Dr. McGarry's research will assess the impact of ADRD on older adults' ability to manage their Medicare coverage and the role of caregivers in mitigating potential adverse effects. Results from this study will inform policy interventions that can support individuals with ADRD in managing their Medicare coverage.

Geriatrics & Aging Researcher Awarded PALTC Research Grant

Monday, August 1, 2022

Brian McGarry, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and of public health sciences, was awarded the Foundation for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine research grant to examine the impact of ventilation and indoor air quality on the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes during the pandemic. Ventilation is thought to be a key tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces, yet little is known about the real-word effectiveness of strategies to improve ventilation for preventing COVID-19 outbreaks and protecting vulnerable nursing home residents. With support from this grant, Dr. McGarry will lead a study to determine what steps nursing homes took to improve their indoor air quality during the pandemic and whether these efforts help explain differences in resident COVID-19 cases and deaths between facilities. Results will directly inform ongoing efforts limit indoor COVID spread, particularly in the presence of new COVID variants and waning vaccines effectiveness.

Vaccine Mandates Improve Nursing Home Staff Vaccine Coverage without Increasing Staff Shortages

Friday, July 29, 2022

A new paper published in JAMA Health Forum, led by Brian McGarry, Ph.D.,assistant professor of medicine and of public health sciences, documents the impact of state COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers on nursing home staff vaccination rates and reported staff shortages. The study provides some of the first empirical evidence on the effects of COVID mandates in an industry that has struggled with staffing shortages throughout the pandemic. The authors find that state vaccine mandates increased staff vaccination rates without concurrent increases in reports of staff shortages, and mandate effects were largest in when the state policy did not allow for a test-out option (i.e., allowing staff to submit to more frequent COVID-19 testing in lieu of getting vaccinated). Effects were also larger in Republican-leaning counties, likely owing to the lower baseline rates of vaccination in these counties. These results demonstrate that mandates without a test-out option are an effective policy tool to increase vaccination rates, and that initial fears of large staff departures as a result of mandates were largely unfounded. Results also lend support to the recently upheld federal mandate and should inform ongoing discussions about whether to mandate boosters or additional doses in the presence of new COVID variants and waning vaccine immunity.

Read the full article: Association of State COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates with Staff Vaccination Coverage and Staffing Shrotages in US Nursing Homes

Study Shows Impact of COVID-19 Outbreak on Nursing Home Staffing

Friday, July 22, 2022

A recent study, co-authored by Brian McGarry, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and of public health sciences, published in JAMA Health Forum provides the most detailed description to date on the impact of large COVID-19 outbreaks on staffing within U.S. nursing homes. Using detailed individual level payroll data, the authors find that outbreaks were associated with large declines in the staffing, despite numerous efforts on the part of nursing homes to bolster staffing levels, including hiring new employees, bringing in contract staffing, and the use of overtime. About 4 months after a large outbreak, staffing levels remained 5.5% below pre-outbreak levels; a large decline for an industry that was already short staffed before the pandemic.

Read the full article: Staffing Patterns in US Nursing Homes During COVID-19 Outbreaks

Aging Research at Wilmot Cancer Institute Brings in $5 Million in New, Peer-Reviewed Grants

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Several researchers at Wilmot Cancer Institute have been awarded grants in the fields of aging and cancer.  Director Jonathan Friedberg says the notable intake of new, peer-reviewed grants so far this year is due to growth and innovation among Wilmot researchers at all levels of their careers.

Among the projects funded were three focused on aging research.

  • Laura Calvi, M.D., and Roman Eliseev, M.D., Ph.D., are partnering to study the mechanisms by which the bone marrow ages. This is significant because abnormal bone-forming stem cells in the marrow can not only lead to osteoporosis but also support the development of leukemia and other blood diseases. They received a five-year National Institute on Aging grant totaling approximately $2.3 million. Calvi has also been notified that she will soon receive a second large grant to study a different aspect of how cancer develops in the aging bone marrow.
  • Kah Poh (Melissa) Loh, MBBCH, B.A.O., M.S., received a $200,000 career development award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Foundation to support a randomized clinical trial for a new tool to improve communication between doctors and older patients with acute leukemia. She has also been notified by the National Institute on Aging that she will soon receive a grant designed for early-career investigators; this project involves analysis of patient blood and bone marrow samples for DNA methylation, a biomarker of biological age. 
  • Allison Magnuson, D.O., is studying how to improve communication between physicians and older patients. Her five-year National Institute on Aging grant that totals approximately $2.5 million, supports a project to help oncologists deliver better care to their patients who have pre-existing dementia. It is also her first R01 award as an independent investigator. This type of award is extremely competitive and requires strong preliminary data and goes to scientists with a proven track record of publications. It is an important milestone in the career of a scientist.

Geria Furtuna Named Associate Medical Director of Monroe Community Hospital

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

As of July 1, Geria Furtuna, M.D., from the division of Geriatrics & Aging, is the new associate medical director of Monroe Community Hospital, a residential health care facility that provides long-term care for individuals with complex health conditions. She joins the hospital’s medical leadership team with current medical director, Ian Deutchki, M.D.

Furtuna joined URMC in 2007 for her Geriatric Medicine Fellowship, after completing a Family Medicine Residency at Duke University. She is currently an associate professor of Clinical Medicine at URMC. She brings years of leadership experience, skill, and expertise in quality care of older adults in long-term care settings. 

Division chief Annie Medina-Walpole, M.D., said “Dr. Furtuna is a competent, compassionate, and thoughtful geriatrician. As a nursing home physician at MCH, a University-affiliated teaching nursing home, Dr. Furtuna personally cares for the most medically complex and frail members of our community. We wish her and Dr. Deutchki continued success in their MCH leadership roles.”

Division of Geriatrics & Aging Announces New Leadership Roles

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Division chief Annie Medina-Walpole, M.D. is thrilled to announce that two faculty members have recently been promoted to leadership positions. Both went into effect on July 1. 

Corey Romesser Named Medical Director of Geriatrics at Highland Hospital

Corey Romesser, M.D., earned his M.D. at New York Medical College, and completed his residency in Internal Medicine here at URMC, followed by a fellowship in Geriatrics at Monroe Community Hospital. “Dr. Romesser brings a wealth of experience as a Geriatric Hospitalist and administrative leader,” said Medina-Walpole, “and is the perfect person to take on this new role of Medical Director. I am confident that he will continue the visionary advancements in geriatric models of care at Highland and serve as a role model and mentor to faculty and trainees alike.”

Rebecca Monk, M.D., chief of Medicine at Highland Hospital, said “Corey goes above and beyond to ensure that hospitalized older adults get the best care possible. He has already demonstrated skillful leadership in his role as head of the geriatric fracture/co-management team at Highland. The physicians on his team (and I) appreciate his meticulous care and attention to all he does, his compassion, and his fairmindedness. I have no doubt that he will continue to grow and excel in this role.” 

Jennifer Muniak Named Medical Director of the Highlands at Brighton, a University Nursing Home

Jennifer Muniak, M.D., earned her M.D. at SUNY Upstate Medical University and completed her residency in Internal Medicine here at URMC. She is succeeding Joseph Nicholas, M.D., M.P.H. as medical director. “Dr. Muniak is well known regionally and nationally,” said Nicholas, “for championing effective and efficient interprofessional care for older adults. There isn’t a better person in our system to lead the medical staff at HAB, and work collaboratively with other nursing home colleagues to optimize care for the most complicated patients in our system.”

Medina-Walpole said, “Dr. Muniak is a rising star in the division and the recipient of the four-year national career development grant, the Geriatrics Academic Career Award. She was one of only 26 awardees nationally in 2019! This award is given to the brightest and the best geriatrics educators in our nation and reflected her accomplishments in the field of academic Geriatrics and her potential to be a high-impact leader in our field. She is championing the Age-Friendly Health Systems efforts at Highland Hospital and developed a novel education curriculum to bring the AFHS concepts to our regional nursing homes through her work in Project ECHO®.  Dr. Muniak will continue the tradition of excellence at Highlands of Brighton, caring for the most medically complex members of our post-acute and long-term care community and spearheading innovative education programs in this venue.”

“I'm very excited to take on this new role as medical director,” said Muniak, “it should be a great place to grow as a leader and apply my existing passions for Geriatrics Education and Interprofessional care of complex patients. Highlands at Brighton is a unique nursing home environment and a critical piece of URMC, given that we care for patients with complex medical, psychiatric, and behavioral needs that cannot be met in other settings. I'm proud to have a great team and I'm hopeful that we can grow our academic and educational presence for students and trainees.”

Geriatrics Faculty Honored with Endowed Professorships

Friday, June 24, 2022

Earlier this month, colleagues from URMC gathered to celebrate the installation of endowed professors. After being delayed by the pandemic, the group was grateful to gather in person. Mark Taubman, M.D., CEO of URMC and UR Medicine, provided both opening and closing remarks. The presentation of medallions was led by Taubman and Jeffrey Lyness, M.D., senior associate dean of Academic Affairs. 

Congratulations to these Division of Geriatrics and Aging faculty!

Annie Medina-Walpole, M.D., Ph.D. – Geriatrics & Aging
Paul H. Fine Professor in Medicine

Joseph Nicholas. M.D., M.P.H. – Palliative Care
William and Sheila Konar Family Professor in Geriatrics, Palliative Medicine, and Person-Centered Care

Department of Medicine Endowed Professorship Recipients 2022

Pictured: back row, Robert Horowitz, M.D., Joseph Nicholas, M.D., M.P.H., and Michael Apostolakos, M.D. Front row, M. Patricia Rivera, M.D., Ruth O’Regan, M.D., Annie Medina-Walpole, M.D., and Thu Le, M.D.

Supriya Mohile Discusses Recent Study in cancertoday Article

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Supriya G. Mohile, M.D., M.S.Supriya Mohile, M.D., geriatric oncologist at the Wilmot Cancer Institute, addressed the GAP70+ study she led in cancertoday (June 22). The results revealed that patients over 70 with advanced cancer and aging-related conditions who received geriatric assessment-guided treatment experienced fewer toxic effects from treatment. Despite these results, geriatric assessment remains uncommon in clinical practice. Mohile stresses that geriatric assessment efforts can be scaled up or down, depending on a practice's available resources. "[Clinics] have to do what they can," Mohile said. "If they cannot do the full geriatric assessment, there are shorter screening tools to use."

Read the full article: Tailoring Care for Older Adults

It’s Time to Throw out Stereotypes on Aging

Monday, June 6, 2022

Susan Friedman, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of medicine from the division of Geriatrics & Aging, was interviewed for the article, "It's Time to Throw Out Stereotypes on Aging," published in AARP. “There’s a survival benefit to resilience. People can reframe their situation and make the best of it,” says Friedman. And, she adds, “health is multidimensional.”

Read the article: It's Time to Throw Out Stereotypes on Aging

Members from the Division of Geriatrics & Aging Present Work at AGS Annual Meeting

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) held its annual scientific meeting this May in Orlando, Florida. Faculty, fellows, and APPs from Geriatrics & Aging and Oncology were well received with posters, symposia, and workshops of their projects.

It was a special occasion for division chief Annie Medina-Walpole, as she is the immediate past president of the society, and is completing her term as chair of the board next month.

Fellowship Director’s Preconference Session

Annie Medina-Walpole, M.D. – division chief of Geriatrics & Aging
“AGS Initiative Addressing the Intersection of Structural Racism and Ageism”

Sessions, Networking, and Workshops

Thomas Caprio, M.D.
Paper Session: “ECHO in Action: Impact, Barriers, and Lessons Learned Across Six Age-Friendly Geriatric ECHOs”
Workshop: “Project ECHO: a variety of robust uses for interdisciplinary education”

Melissa Loh, M.B.B.Ch., B.A.O., M.S.
Talk: “Barriers and Facilitators to Real-World Implementation of Precision Medicine”
Talk: “Developing and Assessing a Mobile Health Exercise Intervention for Older Patients with Cancer”
Networking Session: “Cancer and Ageing Special Interest Group”
Poster Session: “Feasibility and usability of a mobile health exercise intervention (GO-EXCAP) in older patients with myeloid malignancies”

Jennifer Muniak, M.D.
Moderator: “Racism in Healthcare: How Can We Respond as Targets, Colleagues, and Leaders”

Amber Birkland, PA-C
Workshop: “Geriatric Education Materials and Methods Swap”
Poster Session: “Breaking Down the Hierarchy: Impacts of a Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN) Experience on Internal Medicine Residents”

Fatima Hafizi, M.D.
Poster Session: “When Less is More: A Case of Diligent Care Obviating the Need for Advanced Testing and Hospitalization"

Naveen Silva, M.D.
Poster Session: “Indwelling Pleural Catheters in Select Patients with Non-Malignant Pleural Effusions”

Mark Shehata, M.D., M.B.A.
Poster Session: “A Great Distractor: CIDP Presenting as a Paraneoplastic Syndrome of Lymphoma in an Older Adult Patient”

Mostafa Mohamed, M.B.B.Ch.
Poster Session: “External validation of a predictive model for unplanned hospitalization in older adults with advanced cancer receiving chemotherapy”

SMH, HH Achieve Highest Level of Age-Friendly Health System Certification

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Data show Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals' efforts to improve care for seniors are working. This certification is a key milestone in a "transformative journey to ensure age-friendly care to older adults across all UR Medicine care settings," said Annette Medina-Walpole, M.D., chief of Geriatrics and Aging, and director of the University of Rochester Aging Institute.

Learn more: Strong and Highland Hospitals Achieve Highest Level of Age-Friendly Health System Certification

URAI and Geriatrics & Aging Division Join Forces with Wilmot Cancer Center and Ontario Hearing Center at Lilac Festival Event

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Health and Wellness exhibit booth attendeesCiandra D’Souza, M.D., M.P.H., Ida Earner, N.P., and John McNamara, AuD., engaged with the Rochester community at the "Health & Wellness Expo" event on May 15, 2022 at this year’s Lilac Festival. The exhibit booth featured a Geri wheel that created a fun way to support health equity by providing direct and in-person conversations regarding fall prevention, balance and hearing deficits, and home safety with a focus on older adults.

The UR Aging Institute and Division of Geriatrics and Aging Host Education Event at Ibero’s Centro de Oro

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Left to right: Raquel Serrano, Marie Bell, Annie Medina-Walpole, Ida EarnerIda Earner, Marie Bell and Annie Medina-Walpole hosted an interactive education event at Ibero’s Centro de Oro on Thursday April 14, 2022. Information on falls & safety in the home with an emphasis on health equity and disparity was provided to promote health and safety in these older adults.

Division of Geriatrics with Ibero staff

Ian Deutchki Recognized as "Emerging Leader in Aging"

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Ian Deutchki M.D., Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Medicine in Geriatrics and Aging, was selected for the 2022-2023 highly competitive Tideswell American Geriatrics Society Emerging Leaders in Aging Program. This year-long leadership fellowship augments and leverages existing leadership skills for clinical, research, policy and educational initiatives in aging. His practicum will focus on establishing the Age-Friendly Health System paradigm at Monroe Community Hospital.

Learn more about the Tideswell AGS Emerging Leaders in Aging Program

The UR Aging Institute and Division of Geriatrics and Aging Support a ‘Know Your Numbers’ Event

Monday, April 4, 2022

The UR Aging Institute and Geriatrics Division took part in a ‘Know Your Numbers Event’ with the Department of Ophthalmology at AME Zion Church on Saturday April 2, 2022.  To promote health and wellness in the Rochester Community, Division health care professionals sponsored a booth to provide information on falls and offered a falls risk assessment to community-dwelling older adults.

Annie Medina-Walpole MD, Ida Earner NP, Gina Dutt NP, Sarah Howd MD and Kristine Clark NP DNP

Annie Medina-Walpole MD, Ida Earner NP, Gina Dutt NP, Sarah Howd MD and Kristine Clark NP DNP

Kristine Clark NP DNP, Raje Sathasivam MBBS, Ida Earner NP and Annie Medina-Walpole MD

Kristine Clark NP DNP, Raje Sathasivam MBBS, Ida Earner NP and Annie Medina-Walpole MD

Director Recognized as a Health Care Hero

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Annette Medina-Walpole, MDThe Rochester Business Journal recently announced Annette Medina-Walpole, M.D., division chief of Geriatrics & Aging and director of the University of Rochester Aging Institute has won the 2022 Health Care Hero Award for Senior Care for exceptional care to older adults while making an impact on health care in our community. The award underscores key efforts led by Medina-Walpole, such as:

  • The Great Medication Reduction Challenge at Monroe Community Hospital (MCH) which significantly reduced the total number of medications prescribed for MCH long-term care residents.
  • A national survey of all fellowship-trained geriatricians from the past decade. Given the recognized national need for clinical and academic geriatricians, this data provided important insights into career decision making and the relationship between length of training and academic career development. The survey also has figured prominently in formulating new policy initiatives by foundations, national societies and other universities.
  • The integrated Aging Theme at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. This incorporated geriatrics throughout the curriculum and has been in use for almost two decades. The program has also served as a national model, and has been used to train thousands of medical students in the care of older adults.
  • The UR Aging Institute which is bringing important advancements to our region such as disseminating the principles of the Age-Friendly Health System, training interdisciplinary nursing home teams through Project ECHO® and sharing national education efforts in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Congratulations!

Suzanne Gillespie Named President of AMDA Society PALTC

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Suzanne Gillespie, M.D., an associate professor of Medicine from the division of Geriatrics & Aging, has been named president of AMDA - The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care (PALTC). She officially began this new role during the society’s annual scientific conference in Baltimore.

Gillespie was inspired to follow a career in geriatrics by the vastly different aging experiences of her grandparents. One grandmother aged in place with long-term care supports in the comfort of her own home. Her other grandmother needed to live in a nursing facility after a fall that injured her, and she experienced functional challenges toward the end of her life. Gillespie became interested in quality of care and life in post-acute and long-term care settings, the foundation of her entire career. After earning her M.D. at the University of Virginia, she came to URMC for her residency in Internal Medicine, and her fellowship in Geriatric Medicine.

AMDA PALTC is the only medical specialty society that represents medical directors, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other practitioners who work in post-acute and long-term care settings. Gillespie joined the society in 2005, the same year she earned the AMDA Foundation Futures award. She has already served the society in many capacities: as chair of House Delegates, chair of the Annual Meeting Program Planning Committee, chair of the Public Policy Steering Committee, a member of the Finance Committee, and chair of the Society’s Workgroup on Telemedicine and Technology.

As president, she will chair the Society’s Board of Directors and work to advance their mission, which promotes the development of competent, compassionate, and committed medical practitioners and leaders in the field. “As president of AMDA,” Gillespie said, “I am afforded the privilege of working with incredibly intelligent and compassionate leaders from across the nation who dedicate their time to caring for the most vulnerable members of our society. They inspire me, and together our work makes a real difference in people's lives. Professionally, I can't think of anything else more exciting. It is really a gift.”

“Dr. Gillespie is a visionary leader,” said Annette Medina-Walpole, M.D., division chief of Geriatrics & Aging, “whose career accomplishments in patient care, teaching, scholarship, and administration are exemplary. She takes the helm as president of AMDA at a critically important time. The COVID-19 pandemic provided unprecedented opportunities for crisis management and leadership at both a local and national level. Dr. Gillespie rose to this challenge and continues to exhibit extraordinary commitment and leadership. In this very influential role, she will advocate for health care providers in the post-acute and long-term care setting, impact national change, and improve the care of the older adults we serve in these settings.”

Read the AMDA press release.

Update, 4/6/2022: Read this Q&A interview with Gillespie about how COVID-19 solidified the increasing role medical directors play in the nation's nursing home.

Members of the Department of Medicine Earn RBJ Health Care Hero Awards

Monday, February 28, 2022

The Rochester Business Journal has recently announced the full list of winners for the 2022 Health Care Hero Awards. Four of the honorees are faculty members of the department of medicine. Congratulations to our colleagues on these well-deserved recognitions!

Winner: Greg Rosinski, RPA-C, from Primary Care
Category: Advanced Practice Provider
This award honors physician assistants whose impeccable performance goes above and beyond in the workplace. Factors to be judged include patient satisfaction and evidence of performance effectiveness, including testimonials from superiors, peers and patients.

Winner: Irene Perillo, M.D., from Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine
Category: COVID-19 Heroes
This award honors individuals making impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Winner: Bilal Ahmed, M.B.B.S., from Internal Medicine at Highland Hospital
Category: Physician
This award honors a physician whose job performance is considered exemplary by patients and peers. Factors to be judged include evidence of positive outcomes, patient satisfaction and testimonials from peers and administrators.

Winner: Annie Medina-Walpole, M.D., division chief of Geriatrics & Aging and director of the University of Rochester Aging Institute
Category: Senior Care

This award honors an individual for exceptional care to the elderly. Factors to be judged include evidence of performance effectiveness as well as testimonials from peers and administrators.

The RBJ will host a celebratory event for all honorees on March 24.