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News & Events


UR Aging Institute Hosts First Aging INSPIRED! Event

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The University of Rochester Aging Institute (URAI) held its first event to celebrate the intersection of aging and the arts. These gatherings are designed to educate the community on the work being done at the URAI that aims to empower older adults in achieving healthful longevity. The inaugural event took place on October 9 at Hatch Hall at the Eastman School of Music, “A Celebration of Aging and the Arts.”

The afternoon was a collaboration between URAI, the Eastman School of Music, and Eastman Performing Arts Medicine. Guests were entertained with music from the Eastman Community Music School Jazz Performance Workshop, a group of older adult musicians. Carol Podgorski, PhD, MPH, MS, from the department of Psychiatry, and Caroline Nestro, PCNS, PhD, MS, from the School of Nursing, moderated a panel discussion titled “Music as We Age – The Path to Vital Living.” Panelists included Reverend Lawrence Hargrave, Michael Rotondo, MD, chief executive officer of UR Medical Faculty Group, Ray Pettis, a lifelong musician sharing his personal experience, and his wife Susan Woolston Pettis. 

One highlight of the event was a virtual interview with Ron Carter, currently 86 years old, a Grammy award-winning, internationally renowned artist, who is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music. He is well known for being one of the most influential bassists in jazz. Jeff Campbell, professor of Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media, conducted the interview in Hatch Hall, while Mr. Carter appeared on video from his home in New York City to discuss how music has impacted his life. 

The URAI will make future plans to sponsor additional Aging INSPIRED! events focused on visual, literary, and performing arts. “We will explore how aging influences artistic expression and how the arts impact the aging process,” said Annie Medina-Walpole, MD, director of the URAI. “We aim to engage the University and Greater Rochester communities in activities designed to explore sources of vital living and inspiration as people age. Ultimately, we want to optimize the experience and enrich the lives of older people in our communities.”

Planning Committee members include Annie Medina-Walpole, MD, director of the URAI and division chief of Geriatrics & Aging, Yeates Conwell, MD, professor of Psychiatry, Carol Podgorski, PhD, MPH, MS, professor of Psychiatry, Gaelen McCormick, director of Eastman Performing Arts MedicineCaroline Nestro, PhD, MS, RN, assistant professor of Clinical Nursing, Mackenzie Spencer, marketing strategist, and Kara Horvath, administrator of the division of Geriatrics & Aging. 

A few days after the event, professors Conwell and Podgorski, along with Elinor Freer, associate professor of Piano and Chamber Music, and community members Ray and Susan Pettis, were special guests on WXXI’s Connections. The episode “How can the arts impact our lives as we age?” dives into both the Pettis’ personal experience, and the research of the URAI and Eastman School of Music on how learning an instrument can have a positive impact on people living with dementia or memory loss. 

Enjoy this behind the scenes look at the event and learn all about the URAI and Aging INSPIRED!

Caprio Recognized for Geriatric Leadership with Award and New Role

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Thomas Caprio, MD, professor of Medicine in the division of Geriatrics & Aging, has recently achieved two significant milestones in his career. He has dedicated his work to improving the health and well-being of older adults, serving in multiple leadership roles at the University of Rochester Medical Center, as well as several national societies.

The State Society on Aging of New York held its annual conference in mid-October. Caprio presented at the Walter M. Beattie, Jr. Symposium, on the topic “Transformation Toward an Age-Friendly Health System Through Interprofessional Collaboration.” Caprio was later honored with the Walter M. Beattie Award. This recognition is the society’s equivalent of a lifetime achievement award, honoring distinguished members for their contributions and commitment to the goals of the State Society.

“I recall first working with the State Society on Aging almost 20 years ago,” said Caprio, “and I was so impressed by the work of the Walter Beattie Award recipients at that time. I never imagined I would ever be part of this distinguished group. I feel deeply honored to be recognized by the State Society and this inspires me to continue my advocacy on behalf of older adults.”

Annette Medina-Walpole, MD, division chief of Geriatrics & Aging and director of the UR Aging Institute, said “Dr. Caprio is a visionary leader not just within our division and at URMC, but across our state and nation. This award is a testament to his talent, expertise, and commitment to the care of older adults and the education of interprofessional geriatrics health providers.”

Caprio’s additional accomplishment is his appointment as Director at Large of the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board of Directors for a two-year term. His appointment to the board is a testament to his expertise and dedication to improving end-of-life care for patients and their families.

“I am really proud of the work of this board which has worked consistently to elevate the practice standards for hospice medical directors and improve upon the quality of end-of-life care for patients nationwide,” said Caprio.

Department of Medicine Celebrates Increased National Performance Rankings

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

US News & World Report released the results for the 2023-2024 Best Hospitals rankings, with Strong Memorial Hospital coming in at number one in the Rochester region! While the entire hospital celebrates this great news, the department of Medicine would like to recognize the divisions that host specialties and condition/procedures which received rankings: ALL of which greatly improved compared to last year.

“These improved rankings reflect the hard work and dedication of all of our faculty, APPs, staff, and trainees who contribute to the excellent care we provide,” said Ruth O’Regan, MD, chair of Medicine. “Our team is collaborative and innovative, paving the way for better patient outcomes. Thank you for all that you do.” 

*Note, the ranking is where we stand compared to all eligible hospitals across the U.S.

Specialty: Cancer

  • #196 / Improved ranking by 234 
  • High performing procedures and conditions:
    • Leukemia, lymphoma & myeloma
    • Colon cancer surgery
    • Lung cancer surgery
    • Prostate cancer surgery

Specialty: Cardiology, Heart & Vascular Surgery

  • #140 / Improved ranking by 38
  • High performing procedures and conditions:
    • Heart attack
    • Aortic valve surgery
    • Heart failure

Specialty: Diabetes & Endocrinology

  • #197 / Improved ranking by 45
  • High performing procedures and conditions:
    • Diabetes

Specialty: Gastroenterology & GI Surgery

  • #124 / Improved ranking by 209
    • High performing specialty!
  • High performing procedures and conditions:
    • Colon cancer surgery

Specialty: Geriatrics

  • #259 / Improved ranking by 90

Specialty: Pulmonology & Lung Surgery

  • #70 / Improved ranking by 132
    • High performing specialty!
  • High performing procedures and conditions:
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • Lung cancer surgery
    • Pneumonia

Special Mention: Nephrology, high performing procedure and condition - kidney failure

There are many factors weighed to calculate the final score. Each division has a unique set of circumstances which led to their increased rank. Across the board, “mortality” scores improved: this score is based on 30-day survival rate of patients after being admitted to the hospital. The department of Medicine credits this increase to the in-depth collaboration of most specialties with the division of Hospital Medicine, led by Justin Hopkin, MD. This multidisciplinary approach can positively impact earlier diagnosis, coordinate care for complex patients, and transition patients to where they need to be in the hospital. Hopkin notes that there have been increased efforts in better recording of how sick patients are, which leads to more precise treatment plans. 

Another positive change has been the designation of URMC as an Age-Friendly Health System. As the hospital serves an increasingly large number of older patients across all specialties, the focus of Age-Friendly health care has had a positive impact on patient outcomes and satisfaction.

Mary Bonnet Receives Prestigious Geriatric Academic Career Award

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Mary Bonnet, MD, assistant professor of Medicine in the division of Geriatrics & Aging, has received the Geriatric Academic Career Award (GACA), funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, granted to only 26 people nationally. The GACA is a highly-selective, four-year national K award designed to support the career development of junior faculty as academic geriatricians and interprofessional educators. 

Bonnet’s project, beginning July 1, will align with URMC’s Age-Friendly Health System (AFHS) efforts as she works to champion the AFHS in the assisted living and nursing home environment. She will bring dementia-focused, AFHS curriculum to training venues throughout our regional and rural health care system. Her goal is to utilize technology to integrate those initiatives into Project ECHO®. 

“It is an incredible honor to be afforded this award,” said Bonnet, “to better myself as an educator and national leader within the field of geriatrics. I am very grateful for the support of my division and department as I look forward to the expansive opportunities these next four years bring.”

Bonnet’s primary mentor on the project is Dallas Nelson, MD, with additional mentorship and support provided by Thomas Caprio, MD, division chief Annette Medina-Walpole, MD, and Carol Podgorski, PhD, MPH, MS, professor of Psychiatry. 

“The GACA award is given to the brightest and the best geriatrics educators in our nation and reflects Dr. Bonnet’s accomplishments in the field of academic Geriatrics and her potential to be a high-impact leader in our field,” said Medina-Walpole. 

Bonnet joins a long legacy of URMC Geriatrics faculty who have held this prestigious career development award, including Jennifer Muniak, MDSuzanne Gillespie, MDThomas Caprio, MDDallas Nelson, MDNancy Shafer Clark, MD, and Annie Medina-Walpole, MD.

Thomas Caprio Receives Mentoring Award

Monday, June 12, 2023

Thomas Caprio, MD was recognized for his excellence in mentoring at the 2023 School of Medicine and Dentistry Academic Professorship Ceremony held on May 17. Dr. Caprio received the Faculty Academic Mentoring Award for his work in mentoring junior faculty.

Dr. Caprio serves as the medical director of the University of Rochester Geriatric Assessment Clinic, Chief Medical Officer for UR Medicine Home Care, Medical Director of the Visiting Nurse Service and Medical Director of Visiting Nurse Hospice and Palliative Care.

Thomas Caprio, MD receives Faculty Academic Mentor Award

URMC Designated a Leader in Delivering Age-Inclusive Telehealth

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

URMC has joined 18 other health care leaders across the country in committing to high-quality, equitable, and person-centered telehealth for older adults, pledging to use this framework in developing and implementing telehealth offerings and evaluating its success in best serving older adults.

The age-inclusive telehealth principles and guidelines were spearheaded by the West Health Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to lowering health care costs and supporting access to quality care for older adults. Its new Center of Excellence For Telehealth and Aging (CE4TA) provides tools and resources to help organizations enhance their telehealth offerings and showcase their achievements in improving telehealth care.

Older adults often face a confusing, unresponsive, and uncoordinated care system and these hurdles were amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, federal and state leaders expanded payment for telehealth services. In 2020 alone, Medicare-covered telehealth visits exploded by 63-fold, according to CE4TA. Leading health systems with telehealth platforms learned that older adults can and will use this type of care, however intentional human-centered design efforts are vital to ensure all customer segments—particularly older adults with complex care needs—can meaningfully use telehealth going forward.

“URMC is honored to be recognized for its commitment in shaping the future of age-inclusive telehealth to meet the needs, values, and preferences of older adult and family caregivers of today and tomorrow,” said URMC geriatrics specialist Dallas Nelson, MD.

Division of Geriatrics & Aging Present at AGS Conference

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Earlier this month, geriatricians from across the country gathered in Long Beach, CA, for the annual scientific meeting of the American Geriatrics Society. The meeting offers education sessions, symposia, workshops, and people present their work on emerging clinical issues, current research, health policy, and delivery of geriatric care. Many members of the URMC division of Geriatrics & Aging presented their work in poster sessions.

One of the highlights of the conference was Brian McGarry, PhD receiving the Health in Aging Foundation New Investigator Award. He is recognized for his research which focuses on the effects of Medicare policies on patient access, long-term care quality, and the impact of COVID-19 on nursing homes.

Annie Medina-Walpole, MD, division chief of Geriatrics, said “Our division had a strong showing at the 2023 AGS annual meeting! I am so proud of the amazing research, education, and clinical care that was highlighted by our fellows and faculty.

Presentations & Posters

Melissa Loh, MBBCh, BAO

Brian McGarry, PhD

Kate McBride, MD – Fellow, Jennifer Muniak, MD, and Joseph Nicholas, MD, MPH

Khoi Paul Dang-Ho, MD, – Fellow, Jennifer Muniak, MD, and Joseph Nicholas, MD, MPH

Szilvia Arany, DMD, PhD – from Dentistry, Annie Medina-Walpole, MD, division chief, and Thomas Caprio, MD

Marissa LoCastro – Medical Student in Geriatric Oncology Research Group

Mostafa Mohamed, MBBCh – Postdoctoral Associate in Geriatric Oncology Research Group

Matthew Nelson, MD – Fellow, Jennifer Muniak, MD

Brian House, MD, MPH – Fellow, and Janice Chen Zhao, MD – Hematology/Oncology Fellow, and Annie Medina-Walpole, MD, division chief

Lisa Vargish, MD, MS

UR Aging Institute Supports United and Healing through Hope Event

Saturday, April 1, 2023

The URAI was well represented at a recent event entitled, “Stop the Violence Easter Dinner and Community Resource Fair,” on Saturday, April 1, 2023 at East High School, in the City of Rochester, NY. The sponsor of the event, United Healing through Hope and its president, Clay Harris, aim to honor and serve people who have been affected by violence plaguing our communities.

The URAI offered educational and resource information specifically intended to help support older adults age in place in the Rochester community. Areas of education provided included an introduction to the benefits of an Age-Friendly health system and the 4 elements of quality care (4M’s). A discussion about mobility and falls prevention strategies, home safety and the importance of immunizations against influenza and COVID-19 infections, were also addressed. Community families were offered pamphlet information about local resources, such as the UR Older Adult Services clinic, located in the City of Rochester that focuses on supporting the mental health and wellness needs of older community members. Those in attendance included Buffalo, NY community members who were directly impacted by the tragic and senseless Buffalo Tops massacre of 2022.

Clay Harris and members of URAIMembers of URAI at 'Stop the Violence Easter Dinner and Community Resource Fair'

Division of Geriatrics Presents at AMDA PALTC Conference: Gillespie Delivers Outgoing President’s Address

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Several faculty and fellows from the division of Geriatrics & Aging attended the annual scientific meeting of the American Medical Director’s Association (AMDA) Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care (PALTC) earlier this month in Tampa. This year’s conference reflected how health care workers in PALTC settings have had disproportionate burdens during the COVID pandemic. Suzanne Gillespie, MD, associate professor here at URMC and the 2022-2023 president of AMDA PALTC, said “as we find our new normal, it is more important than ever before that our leaders gather to advance policy advocacy, to teach and learn best clinical practices, and to maintain the strength of our professional community.”

Presentations Given By:

  • Suzanne Gillespie, MD - Associate Professor, Geriatrics
    Speaker: Enhancing Leadership for Women in PALTC: Reclaiming Happiness in our Lives
  • Dallas Nelson, MD - Associate Professor, Geriatrics
    Speaker: General Session III: Health Policy
    Roundtable Facilitator: Billing and Coding
    Session Chair: Red Eye Rounds: Medical Direction Challenges
  • Tim Holahan, DO - Assistant Professor, Geriatrics
    Speaker: General Session III: Health Policy
    Roundtable Facilitator: Ethical Issues
  • Sarah Howd, MD - Assistant Professor, Geriatrics
    Session Chair: Memory Care Matters! Advocacy Updates in Assisted Living Focusing on Dementia
  • Ghinwa Dumyati, MD - Professor, Infectious Diseases
    Session Chair: Taking Control of Your Infection Prevention and Antibiotic Stewardship Programs: Case Based Workshop
  • Kate McBride, MD and Matt Nelson, MD - Geriatric Medicine Fellows
    Participated in the AMDA Futures Program, a one-year learning experience designed to introduce a career in PALTC medicine

You can find information on each speaker and presentation by searching their name in the online conference program

As Gillespie prepares to pass the torch of AMDA PALTC leadership on, she reflects on her time at the conference, and the future of medicine here at URMC.

“In my Outgoing President's address, I highlighted the importance of our professional community and the many accomplishments that the Society had during the past year - including important collaborative work with the White House Task Force on COVID 19 to improve vaccination and clinical therapeutics, increased recognition of the medical director reflected in state and federal legislation proposing training and transparency requirements, and dissemination of a wide range of important clinical tools in important topics (like deprescribing, Parkinson's disease, delirium and more).  

I am proud to be one of several faculty members from the Department of Medicine's Division of Geriatrics & Aging that are leading the charge to improve PALTC during this critical time. We are making a difference in the lives of millions of people who are cared for in PALTC settings and in the lives of their caregivers.”

Brian McGarry: Staff COVID Tests Protected Nursing Home Residents, Saved Lives

Thursday, March 23, 2023

The NEJM study by Brian McGarry, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences, show that nursing homes that conducted more regular staff surveillance testing experienced significantly lower rates of COVID infections and deaths among residents. This was most pronounced prior to the availability of COVID vaccines, when high-testing facilities had about 30 percent lower resident cases and 25 percent fewer resident deaths.

Read the full story

Heather Lander, MD awarded a URMFG Healthcare Innovation Award

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

“The PROMIS of an Equitable, Innovative, Geriatric Perioperative Surgical Home”

Heather Lander, MD, assistant professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, along with mentors, Marjorie Gloff, MD and Annette Medina-Walpole, MD, will lead this interdisciplinary project that focuses on creating and implementing a geriatric perioperative surgical home.  The surgical home will incorporate provider and patient completed geriatric assessments in the Center for Perioperative Medicine to deliver targeted education, optimization, and risk discussions in older surgical patients.  With the guidance and expertise of Dr. Judy Baumhauer, Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information Systems (PROMIS) measures will be used to evaluate multiple health-focused domains.  Using PROMIS concomitantly with provider completed geriatric screens, this project will create individualized care and support plans for patients in anticipation of surgery to better prepare our aging surgical patients for their perioperative course while simultaneously providing high quality, value-based care.  This work is part of a larger effort by the UR Aging Institute to transform URMC into an Age-Friendly Health System.

Dallas Nelson Appointed to Governor's Reimagining Long-Term Care Task Force

Friday, February 17, 2023

Dallas Nelson, MDDallas Nelson, MD, associate professor of medicine in geriatrics & aging, was appointed to Governor Hochul's Reimagining Long-Term Care Task Force. She also serves as president of the New York Medical Directors Association.

Thomas Caprio Appointed to Advisory Committee for NY State Master Plan for Aging

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

In November, Governor Kathy Hochul issued an executive order that established a Master Plan for Aging Council, co-chaired by the Department of Health and the Office for the Aging. They were charged with creating an advisory committee, and have recently appointed Thomas Caprio, MD, as a member.

Caprio is a professor of Medicine in Geriatrics & Aging. He has two decades of collaboration with different aging workgroups, including the State Office for the Aging, where he has experience with caregiver focused projects, respite care, health professional education, and advocacy for older adults. He is a past president of the New York State Society on Aging, and is currently the director of the Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center. His work with different service providers, academic centers, and policymakers state-wide has built up his illustrious reputation, earning him this appointment. He did not submit his name for consideration, Governor Hochul herself specifically appointed Caprio to the position.

Before the executive order was announced, Caprio was a member of the New York State Master Plan for Aging Coalition, where he represented the University of Rochester. This group organized an open letter to Governor Hochul, signed by over 100 organizations of the coalition, calling for the creation of the Master Plan for New York State. Their efforts paid off in November, as the Democrat & Chronicle announced the initial plans.

The Master Plan will focus on improvements in how services are coordinated, delivered, and financed, to better meet the needs of older adults, their families, and caregivers. The goal is to have the plan in place by 2024.

“Dr. Caprio has a long and esteemed history of involvement with the New York State Office for the Aging,” said Annie Medina-Walpole, MD, division chief of Geriatrics & Aging. “He will leverage his expertise as a Geriatrician to ensure that our State’s Master Plan for Aging promotes the quality of life, health, and vitality of all aging New Yorkers.”