The University of Rochester has a strong commitment to and presence in aging research. The mission of the University’s Office for Aging Research and Health Services (OARHS) is to draw on URMC's academic, clinical, educational, and community resources to assure better health outcomes and a better healthcare experience at lower cost for older adults and their caregivers.
Additionally, the Rochester Aging Research (RoAR) Center brings together investigators engaged in basic and translational aging science to support innovative and collaborative research into the mechanisms that promote longevity.
The Division of Geriatrics & Aging research includes health services, clinical care and interdisciplinary training initiatives. The Division has successfully received support from the NIH/NIA, VA, HRSA, the John A Hartford Foundation, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and American Federation for Aging Research. The Division has a strong affiliation with other UR programs, most notably nursing, psychiatry, psychology, public health sciences, developmental disabilities, neurology and oncology.
Geriatric Fracture Center
The Geriatric Fracture Center (GFC) at Highland Hospital, founded November 1, 2004, was co-developed by the UR Division of Geriatrics & Aging and the Department of Orthopedics. Co-managed care and early intervention has resulted in fewer complications, lower mortality, shorter length of stay, lower cost, and fewer readmissions. The GFC serves as a primary research site investigating both basic and clinical sciences, including: fragility fractures, frailty, health services research, and outcomes research.
Dr. Daniel Mendelson is Co-PI with faculty from Brown University on a grant from the John A. Harford Foundation to the American Geriatrics Society and the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs to develop a dissemination model to make co-management widely available.
Cancer is a disease of aging; 60% of cancer incidence and 70% of cancer mortality occurs in older adults. Notably, the majority of cancer survivors are also aged 65 and over. The Specialized Oncology Care and Research for the Elderly (SOCARE) program is part of the James Wilmot Cancer Institute. Physicians and researchers in the program are pioneers and leaders in the care of older adults diagnosed with cancer.
The Wilmot Cancer Institute has one of the few and one of the largest geriatric oncology programs in the country. The team includes four physicians: Supriya Mohile, MD; Allison Magnuson, MD; Erika Ramsdale, MD; and Ron Maggiore. The physicians work with an interdisciplinary team that includes nursing, social work, cognitive specialists, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Every week, a comprehensive team assesses and provides management recommendations to older patients with cancer to help guide treatment decisions and improve outcomes. The UR is one of the few places in the country where trainees (medical students, residents, and fellows) can get formal training in geriatric oncology.
The geriatric oncology program also includes a robust research portfolio. Investigators conduct clinical and translational research for geriatric assessment in older patients with cancer, physical and cognitive interventions for older patients with cancer, supportive care interventions for older patients with cancer, and improving care delivery. Investigators have obtained numerous awards and grants recognizing the value of their research from organizations such as the University of Rochester CTSI, NIH, PCORI, ACS, and the Hartford Foundation. In addition, investigators work closely with researchers across the country through collaborative projects sponsored by the Cancer and Aging Research Group.
HIV / Frailty
HIV-infected older adults (HOA) are becoming a more significant population and Dr. Krupa Shah is leading our Division’s research efforts in this important area. While HIV-infected individuals are living longer, there are indications of some biological measures of aging being accelerated in HIV-infected individuals compared to those not infected. As a result, HOAs often have multiple health problems including frailty. We have leveraged funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) to support research to address the concerns of HOA.
Dr. Shah is currently PI on an NIH/NIA K23 Career Development Award entitled, Feasibility of an Exercise Intervention in HIV+ Older Adults (2013-2017) and serves as a Co-Investigator on an NIH UM1 Research Project. Dr. Shah was also the recipient of two pilot awards through the University of Rochester Developmental Center for AIDS Research and a CTSI KL2 Career Development Award.
The Canandaigua VA Medical Center (VAMC)
The Canandaigua VA Medical Center, part of VA Health Care New York VISN 2/3, provides numerous health care programs and services for older adults through its operations at the medical center and a community based outpatient clinic in Rochester, NY. Division of Geriatrics & Aging faculty at the VA have been key contributors to the region’s geriatric education efforts through ongoing participation in medical student and geriatric fellowship training and telehealth geriatric education initiatives. UR faculty also make significant contributions to VA program development and research. Dr. Orna Intrator, UR Professor of Public Health Sciences, is Director of the Geriatrics and Extended Care Data Analysis Center (GEC DAC). This center collects and analyzes population-based data about Geriatrics and Extended Care (GEC) programs and services nationwide, and how they affect the Veterans served by VA.
Faculty are also engaged in VA research including a Health Services Research and Development study that investigates factors associated with institutional use by veterans in home based primary care (PI: Gillespie, Factors Associated with Institutional Use by Veterans in Home Based Primary Care).
Funded by a John A. Hartford Collaborative / Change Agent grant from 2014-2016, our Division has a new focus on healthy aging. We aim to develop collaborative networks that will ultimately improve health promotion habits of older adults particularly those with multi-morbidity, to optimize their function, quality of life, and independence. A 2015 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society article (Failing to Focus on Healthy Aging: A Frailty of Our Discipline?) by Division faculty, Susan Friedman, Krupa Shah and William Hall, challenged the American Geriatrics Society to lend its voice to optimizing healthy aging for all older adults. Dr. Friedman’s current research and scholarly work focus on defining healthy aging to include understanding how nutrition and particularly whole-foods and plant based nutrition contribute to healthy aging, Self Determination Theory and Behavior Change in older adults, and developing systems and communities that optimize healthy aging.