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Michael Hasselberg Named Top 50 Leader in Digital Health

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Michael Hasselberg
We are congratulating Michael Hasselberg, MS, PhD for recently being named one of Rock Health's Top 50 Leaders in Digital Health. Dr. Hasselberg is the UR Medicine's first Senior Director of Digital Health as well as co-director of the UR Health Lab, which developed the  open-source Dr. Chat Bot software to make sure it is safe for university employees to report to work everyday. We commend Dr. Hasselberg's leadership in telehealth, digital innovation and technology, particularly during these unprecedented times.


Read More: Michael Hasselberg Named Top 50 Leader in Digital Health

Vera Gorbunova, Ph.D. Kicks off Dean's Lecture Series

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Vera Gorbunova, Ph.D.

Vera Gorbunova, Ph.D. is a Doris Johns Cherry Professor of Biology and Medicine and is co-director of the University of Rochester Aging Research Center. Her research is focused on understanding the mechanisms of longevity and genome stability and on the studies of exceptionally long-lived mammals. Her work has received awards from the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Glenn Foundation, the American Federation for Aging Research, and the National Institutes of Health.

Gorbunova gave the inaugural lecture of the newly established Dean's Lecture Series on Dec. 6, 2021. The series is intended to showcase high-caliber research and high-impact topics in clinical medicine and related biomedical fields. The presentations are targeted to a broad audience of investigators and trainees from multiple areas of clinical medicine, public health, and life science research, as well as for interested members of the university community and the public at large. The George D. and Freida B. Abraham Foundation are sponsoring this series.

Check out the full replay of Gorbunova's lecture: Mechanisms of Longevity: Lessons from Long-Lived Mammals with Vera Gorbunova, Ph.D

Stay tuned for information on future Dean's Lecture Series events.

Division of Geriatrics and Geriatric Psychiatry & Memory Care Host Older Adult Community Engagement Event

Monday, December 6, 2021

Attendees at the Older Adult Community Engagement EventOn November 16th, Annette Medina-Walpole, M.D. and Elizabeth Santos, M.D. in partnership with Senior Expressions hosted a Community Engagement Event for Older Adults at Keeler Park Apartments in Rochester, NY.  Participants engaged in a discussion on the prevention of falls, followed by a focused needs assessment on how URMC can assist and serve Rochester’s aging population.  Other URMC attendees were Christine Annis (Neurology), Laura Stamm, Ph.D. (Medicine), Ida Earner, N.P. (Medicine/Geriatrics) and Laura Robinson (Medicine/Geriatrics).

Call for Applications: Geriatrics Faculty Scholars Program

Monday, November 29, 2021

The University of Rochester Aging Institute (URAI), Division of Geriatrics & Aging, and the Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center (FLGEC) at the University of Rochester are pleased to announce the call for applications for the 2022 Geriatric Faculty Scholars Program. The Geriatric Faculty Scholars Program is open to junior and mid-career academic faculty from the School of Nursing and School of Medicine & Dentistry with an interest in aging who wish to spearhead program development through geriatric education within their School, Program, Division, and/or Department. The Geriatric Faculty Scholars Program will enhance the Scholars’ teaching and leadership skills and facilitate their career development as academic leaders with a clinical, educational, and/or research niche in geriatrics and gerontology that advances the paradigm of the Age-Friendly Health System (AFHS). An AFHS incorporates “4Ms” of care that health systems need to address for older adults: what matters, medication, mentation, and mobility.

More information: Geriatric Scholars Program

UR Researchers Part of Effort to Create Atlas of Cells to Study Age-Related Diseases

Monday, November 8, 2021

University of Rochester scientists are part of a consortium of institutions recently awarded $31 million to build a molecular atlas of human senescent cells.  These cells, which are not very well understood, are believed to contribute to a number of age-related diseases, including chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and cancer. 

Read More: UR Researchers Part of Effort to Create Atlas of Cells to Study Age-Related Diseases

UR Aging Institute, Department of Medicine and Divisions of Geriatrics and Geriatric Psychiatry & Memory Care Support Senior Expressions Senior Ball

Friday, September 24, 2021

Annette Medina-Walpole with Charles WhiteThe UR Aging Institute, Department of Medicine and Divisions of Geriatrics and Geriatric Psychiatry & Memory Care and School of Nursing supported and attended the Senior Expressions Ball on September 24, 2021.  The Ball provided a forum to bring together Rochester’s single seniors to meet and develop friendships to address isolation and loneliness.  URMC attendees were Charles White (Neurology), Ruth O’Regan, M.D., Marie Laryea, B.Sc., M.D.C.M., Laura Stamm, Ph.D. and Jessica Stern, M.D. (Medicine), Annette Medina-Walpole, M.D., Ida Earner, N.P., Laura Robinson, John Seymour, M.D. (Medicine/Geriatrics) and Elizabeth Santos, M.D., Angela Kristan, M.D., M.T.S. (Psychiatry/Geriatrics), and Tamala David, Ph.D., M.P.A., M.S., F.N.P. (Nursing).

Annette Medina-Walpole Recognized with Faculty Academic Mentoring Award

Monday, September 20, 2021

Annette Medina-Walpole, M.D., Paul H. Fine Professor in Medicine and Chief of the Division of Geriatrics & Aging, received the Faculty Academic Mentor Award at the School of Medicine & Dentistry 2021 Convocation ceremony in recognition for her mentoring of junior faculty members. "It is such an honor to be able to serve as a mentor. It truly makes me a better leader and a better Division Chief. Seeing our faculty develop and flourish is the ultimate honor."

Brian McGarry Leads National Study of Nursing Home COVID-19 Vaccination Rates

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Brian McGarry, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Geriatrics and Aging, Department of Medicine, was quoted in a New York Times article about the findings of a study which showed that, on average, just 60% of nursing home staff have been fully vaccinated. The study, published in the September 16th issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, provides important context as the nursing home industry prepares for a new federal staff vaccination mandate.

Study in JAMA Intern Medicine: Association of Nursing Home Characteristics with Staff and Resident COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage

Article in NY Times: Aides in U.S. Nursing Homes Were Least Likely to be Vaccinated, a Study Shows

Brian McGarry and Ryan Gilmartin Publish Study of State Responses to COVID-19 in Nursing Homes

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Brian McGarry, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, and Ryan Gilmartin, MHA, Senior Program Administrator for the UR Medicine Geriatrics Group, have collaborated with other researchers across the nation in an article published in the Journal of Long-term Care entitled, "State Policy Responses to COVID-19 in Nursing Homes." The aim of the research was to assess state specific responses to the coronavirus pandemic related to nursing homes in the first half of 2020. The research involved an in-depth examination of 12 states’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes through June 2020, using publicly reported information such as government decrees, health department guidance, and news reports. The results of the research suggest that the states that handle the ongoing pandemic in nursing homes best will be those that find ways to make sure nursing homes have the resources to follow best practices for testing, PPE, separation, and staffing.


Wilmot Team Receives Inaugural Grant from University of Rochester Aging Institute

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

A Wilmot Cancer Institute team studying the relationship between aging and the functional, cognitive, and psychological status of older adults with blood cancers is the inaugural recipient of a pilot grant awarded by Wilmot and the University of Rochester Aging Institute (URAI).

The $50,000 grant went to Melissa Loh, M.B.B.Ch., Michelle Janelsins, Ph.D., and Paula Vertino, Ph.D. They come from a variety of disciplines with expertise in cancer and aging: Loh for patient-reported outcomes, Janelsins for cognitive sciences, and Vertino for epigenetics. All are active translational scientists.

Blood cancers are more prevalent in older adults, and chemotherapy can accelerate declines in mental and physical functioning. The team is looking at DNAm age, a promising biomarker, and its association with physical and mental decline as a way to identify older patients at more risk during cancer treatment. They plan to use their pilot data to submit an R03 to the National Institute of Aging.

The inaugural pilot grant showcases and formalizes the collaborative partnership between Wilmot and the URAI, which is directed by Annette Medina-Walpole, M.D., the Paul H. Fine Professor of Medicine. Wilmot is directed by Jonathan Friedberg, M.D., professor and Samuel E. Durand Chair in Medicine.

Loh is an assistant professor of Medicine/Hematology Oncology; Janelsins is an associate professor of Surgery, Neuroscience and Radiation Oncology; both work with the Cancer Prevention and Control (CPC) research program at Wilmot; Vertino is the Wilmot Distinguished Professor in Cancer Genomics and a professor of Biomedical Genetics and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. She is also co-leader of Wilmot’s Genetics, Epigenetics and Metabolism (GEM) research program.

Division of Geriatrics and Aging Supports the ROC 10th Annual Community Health Fair

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Geriatrics and Aging Booth at ROC 10th Annual Community Health FairThe Geriatrics Division took part in the ROC 10th Annual Community Health Fair, which promotes health and wellness in Rochester’s Black and Brown Community, on Saturday, July 31st. Members of the division sponsored a booth to provide information on healthy aging and offered people in the community the opportunity to ask questions of health care professionals representing the Division of Geriatrics. This was our first year sponsoring a booth at the event and we will surely plan to continue our support for future years to come.

Pictured (left to right): Naveen Silva, MD, Diane Morrison, NP, Michael Loy, DO, Thomas Caprio, MD, Annette Medina-Walpole, MD, Tamala David, PhD, MPA, MS, FNP

Dallas Nelson Named President of the NYS Medical Directors Association

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Dallas Nelson, MDDallas Nelson, M.D., associate professor of Medicine in the Division of Geriatrics & Aging will serve a two-year term as President of the New York Medical Directors Association.

The New York Medical Directors Association, the professional association of Medical Directors, Attending Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and others practicing in the long term care continuum, is dedicated to excellence in patient care and provides education, advocacy, information, and professional development to promote the delivery of quality long term care medicine. NYMDA is a state chapter of the national professional society AMDA—The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care.

Looking Beyond Deficiencies in Nursing Homes

Monday, June 7, 2021

Carol Podgorski, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry, has published an article, entitled, “We Need to Re-Examine Qualtity-of-Life Metrics in Nursing Homes,” featured in KevinMD, an online platform where healthcare practioners, students and patients can share their stories. The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated the need to re-examine the policies and practices that shape the nursing home experience for residents and families.

Following publication of the article, Dr. Podgorski also recorded a podcast that provides the backstory to the article. Watch on YouTube.

Jennifer Muniak Receives Highly Competitive Fellowship Scholarship

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Jennifer Muniak, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine, has been awarded an Age-Friendly Health Systems Scholarship for the American Hospital Association’s Next Generation Leaders Fellowship. She will work with senior leaders to make the University of Rochester an Age Friendly Health System, an initiative which will ensure that every older adult treated by the U of R receives the highest quality, evidence-based care.

Submit Proposals for Collaborative Pilot Studies Addressing Aging and Cancer

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Wilmot Cancer Institute has partnered with the University of Rochester Aging Institute (URAI) to sponsor one-year pilot awards of $50,000 to support basic, translational or clinical research projects that address aging and cancer. The goal of these awards is to encourage the development of new multidisciplinary collaborative research projects with the aim of reaching competitiveness for grant funding from NCI, NIA, or other extramural sources. Projects must align with one of Wilmot's three research programs or the Community Outreach and Engagement program. Download the request for proposals for more details.

To learn more, contact Thom Fogg, Assistant Director for Research Administration, at

SMH, HH Receive Age-Friendly Health System Certification

Monday, February 15, 2021

The University of Rochester Aging Institute has announced that both Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals have been certified as Age-Friendly Health System (AFHS) participants, part of a nationwide movement to improve health care for older adults.

"This is one of the first steps on our transformative journey to ensure age-friendly care to older adults across all UR Medicine care settings," said Annette Medina-Walpole, M.D., the Paul H. Fine Professor of Medicine, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Aging, and director of the University of Rochester Aging Institute. "The goal of providing high-quality, age-friendly care is successfully met across our system every day as part of our patient-centered, holistic approach to medicine, but it is accomplished in many different ways."

The Geriatric Fracture Centers at Strong Memorial and Highland are examples of age-friendly locations in our health system. "Sharing best practices among our own providers and other AFHS institutions will result in the best, most consistent care possible," said Jenny Shen, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine, who leads the AFHS initiative for the Geriatric Fracture Center at Strong.

The Age-Friendly Health System is an initiative of The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the United States. New York State has set a goal to have 50 percent of its health systems designated by AFHS within the next five years.

AFHS follows the "4Ms" paradigm, ensuring that medical encounters addresses mobility; mentation; medications; and what matters to each older person, aligning care with each older adult's specific health outcome goals and care preferences, including end-of-life care. As one of the largest health systems in Upstate New York, URMC will play a major role in advancing the AFHS initiative and serve as a model for health systems nationwide.

URMC is taking a multi-pronged approach to its AFHS transformation, Medina-Walpole said, convening an expert team of interdisciplinary health professionals across hospitals and care settings to put the 4Ms into practice by developing care pathways and tracking of older adults who receive 4Ms care. Current sites include Strong and Highland, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, the URMC Center for Perioperative Medicine and the UR Medicine Geriatrics Group outpatient practice.

"By collecting data and defining for our health system the best ways to provide care for the older adult population, we can champion the 4Ms as a package that will create consistency across all clinical locations," said Robert J. Panzer, M.D., URMC chief quality officer. "It's an excellent opportunity to improve what is already being done on our journey towards achieving high reliability."

As part of this work, the University of Rochester was awarded funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration through the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program—a five-year, $3.75 million award and the Geriatric Academic Career Award to provide support to disseminate the Age-Friendly Health System initiative through interprofessional education.

Serving as AFHS champions within their subspecialties and clinical practice sites are current Geriatric Academic Career Award awardee Jennifer Muniak, M.D., Division of Geriatrics and Aging; and Geriatric Faculty Scholars, Szilvia Arany, DMD, Ph.D., Department of Dentistry; Ciandra D'souza, M.D., MPH, Division of Geriatrics & Aging; Heather Lander, M.D., Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine; and Jenny Shen, M.D., Division of Hospital Medicine.

Jennifer Muniak Honored with Susan B. Anthony Center Leadership Award

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Jennifer Muniak, M.D., assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Geriatrics and Aging, was a recipient of this year’s Susan B. Anthony Emerging Leader Award. The Emerging Leader Award was established in 2018 by the Susan B. Anthony Center to recognize a female leader who is in the early stages of her career. Candidates have made significant contributions to and have strong engagement in the community, demonstrate strong leadership ability, and exhibit high potential for collaboration. Overall, the emerging leader is dedicated to making a positive impact in the University of Rochester and or Rochester-area community.