The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) — the nation's largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — has chosen Marie A. Bernard, MD, of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the 2014 recipient of the Donald P. Kent Award.
This distinguished honor is given annually to a GSA member who best exemplifies the highest standards for professional leadership in gerontology through teaching, service, and interpretation of gerontology to the larger society. It was established in 1973 in memory of Donald P. Kent, PhD, for his outstanding leadership in translating research findings into practical use.
The award presentation will take place at GSA's 67th Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 5 to 9 in Washington, DC. This conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process. Visit http://www.geron.org/annualmeeting for further details.
Bernard has been the NIA's deputy director since October 2008. In that capacity she serves as the director's principal advisor, overseeing a portfolio of more than $1 billion in research. She also serves as co-chair of two Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2020 objectives: Older Adults; and Dementias, Including Alzheimer's Disease. Within NIH she serves on the Women in Biomedical Careers Working Group, where she chairs the Women of Color Subcommittee; the Extramural Activities Working Group; the Coordinating Committee for Bioethics Research and Training; and the Diversity Working Group.
Bernard was formerly the Donald W. Reynolds Chair in Geriatric Medicine and founding professor and chair of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. She additionally served as the associate chief of staff for geriatrics and extended care at the Oklahoma City Veterans Affairs Medical Center and director of the Oklahoma Geriatric Education Center.
She has been president of the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs; president of GSA's educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education; board member of the American Geriatrics Society; and chair of the Health Sciences Section of GSA. Bernard is also a GSA fellow, which represents the Society's highest class of membership.
Her personal research interests include nutrition and function in aging populations, with particular emphasis upon ethnic minorities. Prior to joining NIA she chaired the Department of Veterans Affairs National Research Advisory Committee, served as a reviewer for the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research (now Agency for Health Research Quality) and a reviewer for several Department of Veterans Affairs committees. Since transitioning to NIA/NIH, she has been particularly interested in the pipeline of future scientists and in the translation of research from the bench to the bedside and beyond.
Bernard received her undergraduate training at Bryn Mawr College, where she graduated cum laude with honors in chemistry. She earned her MD from the University of Pennsylvania. She trained in internal medicine at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, where she also served as chief resident. She has received additional training through the Association of American Medical Colleges Health Services Research Institute, the Geriatric Education Center of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School Executive Development program.
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA's structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.
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