As more than 2,000 geriatrics experts prepare to converge just outside the nation's capital to advance quality care for older adults, they'll also toast leadership in its own regard: Steven R. Counsell, MD, AGSF, a 27-year member of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) will become its 62nd president at the start of the 2015 AGS Annual Scientific Meeting, held May 15-17 at the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.
"It's a tremendous privilege to represent more than 6,000 of the country's leading health professionals dedicated to caring for older adults," Dr. Counsell said. "On behalf of fellow geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physicians assistants, pharmacists, internists, and many others, I look forward to helping the AGS build a future where more health professionals have special knowledge of geriatrics care, where more trainees are motivated to pursue careers in aging, and where the health care challenges and opportunities facing millions of older adults and their caregivers receive the recognition, respect, and attention they merit."
Dr. Counsell joined the AGS in 1989, became a Fellow in the Society in 1997, and has served the AGS since in a variety of leadership capacities, most notably and most recently as a member of its board of directors. Across his nearly 30-year tenure with the Society, Dr. Counsell's contributions to AGS work in the fields of health professional education and elder care public policy have placed him at the forefront of the AGS's mission to ensure high-quality, patient-centered care for all. For this reason, the Society recognized Dr. Counsell in 2007 with its prestigious Dennis W. Jahnigen Memorial Award, which celebrates a geriatrics leader who has made significant contributions to the progress of geriatrics education in health professions schools.
Dr. Counsell's ascension through the ranks of the AGS also reflects his increasing renown as a leading geriatrician in developing academic geriatrics programs and new models of team-based care for older adults. Currently the Mary Elizabeth Mitchell Professor of Geriatrics and professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, Dr. Counsell is now in his 18th year as founding director of the IU Geriatrics program--a John A. Hartford Foundation Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine. IU Geriatrics is one of the largest academic programs in the country, with 33 faculty, including 22 board certified geriatricians.
Dr. Counsell also helped lead colleagues in developing and testing a new model of geriatrics care for low-income seniors and their physicians. GRACE Team Care™, an innovative, patient-centered approach to health for some of society's most vulnerable older adults, is designed for people who have complex medical and social needs. GRACE involves a nurse practitioner and social worker collaborating with the physician to provide expert geriatrics care and coordination of care.
"In addition to his notoriety in the U.S., Dr. Counsell also took his expertise overseas as an Australian-American Health Policy Fellow who studied innovative models for care coordination on a global scale," notes Wayne C. McCormick, MD, MPH, AGSF, outgoing president of the AGS. "The spirit of Dr. Counsell's commitment to older adults is quite literally boundless, and we're exceptionally fortunate that it's found a unique home right here at the AGS."
As outgoing AGS president, Dr. McCormick becomes chair of the AGS board of directors when Dr. Counsell assumes his new post. In addition to a year-long tenure as AGS president--during which the Society redoubled its efforts to highlight the importance of cultural sensitivity for vulnerable older adults like those representing the LGBT community--Dr. McCormick brings to the AGS board more than two decades of experience researching AIDS and dementia and serving as section chief of the Washington University School of Medicine Long-Term Care Service, a team of providers caring for some 700 patients across a variety of care settings.
Dr. McCormick will be joined as a board officer by Ellen Flaherty, APRN, MSN, PhD, AGSF, instructor in medicine, Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, who has served as AGS treasurer since 2012 and was elected by the AGS membership in March 2015 as the new AGS president-elect; by Debra Saliba, MD, MPH, AGSF, director, UCLA/Jewish Home Borun Center for Gerontological Research, who has served as AGS secretary since 2014; and by Laurie G. Jacobs, MD, AGSF, a professor of clinical medicine and vice chairperson of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York, who will begin her tenure as the new AGS treasurer.
These leadership transitions will take place at the convocation of the 2015 AGS Annual Scientific Meeting, a premier educational event on geriatrics clinical practice, public policy, education, and research. Other meeting highlights include
- -A celebration of more than 15 award recipients representing the depth and breadth of disciplines championing elder care;
-A synthesis of the field's most important scholarship from the last year; and
-Detailed practical overviews of clinical guidance and research on several important issues impacting older adults, from appropriate prescribing patterns based on an update to the AGS Beers Criteria for the appropriate use of medication in older patient populations to management techniques for mental health concerns like delirium.
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals dedicated to improving the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its more than 6,200 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit americangeriatrics.org.
About the AGS Annual Scientific Meeting
The AGS Annual Scientific Meeting is the premier educational event in geriatrics, providing the latest information on clinical care, research on aging, and innovative models of care delivery. More than 2,000 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, social workers, long-term care and managed care providers, healthcare administrators, and others will convene May 15-17, 2015 (pre-conference program on May 14), at the Gaylord National Hotel & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., to advance geriatrics knowledge and skills through state-of-the-art educational sessions and research presentations. For more information, visit americangeriatrics.org/annual_meeting.