News Release 

Experts in surgery, urogynecology honored at #AGS19

American Geriatrics Society

Advancing care for older people across health specialties, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and the AGS Health in Aging Foundation today announced that Courtney Balentine, MD, MPH, of the University of Texas Southwestern and Candace Yvonne Parker-Autry, MD, of Wake Forest School of Medicine will receive this year's Jeffrey H. Silverstein Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in the Surgical and Related Medical Specialties. Presented at the AGS 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS19, held May 2-4 in Portland, Ore.), the award will recognize Dr. Balentine and Dr. Parker-Autry for accelerating research at the intersection of geriatrics and other specialties.

"Our country is changing as we age, and our health care needs to follow suit," notes Laurie G. Jacobs, MD, AGSF, AGS President. "In their efforts to build connections and expertise beyond geriatrics, Dr. Balentine and Dr. Parker-Autry prove that our colleagues from across medicine can not only become proficient in the care we all need as we age but also can build a rich body of research to push that care to new heights."

An Assistant Professor of Surgery, Dr. Balentine specializes in minimizing disruptions to older patient's lives and improving recovery and independence following operations to treat cancer. His #AGS19 presentation, "An Implementation Assessment of the Virtual Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Program," is the first formal implementation evaluation of the Virtual ACE platform's application in surgery. Developed to address the shortage of geriatric specialists across the U.S., Virtual ACE involves a combination of training for bedside nurses and building assessments, protocols, tracking systems, and standardized postoperative order sets to improve care for older individuals. Dr. Balentine and his colleagues conducted interviews with more than 30 physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, and other colleagues involved in implementing Virtual ACE in the surgical ward of a specialty hospital. Stakeholders indicated that Virtual ACE empowered nurses and other staff to identify patients at risk for difficult recovery, and also helped connect staff to tools for effectively addressing patient needs and communication between partners on the health care team. According to Dr. Balentine's research, Virtual ACE represents a promising approach for reducing many of surgery's serious consequences for older adults.

An Assistant Professor of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Parker-Autry also has built a broader home for geriatrics--in this instance at the intersection of two important fields: Urology and Gynecology. In the work she will present at #AGS19, "Phenotyping Functional Impairment in Older Women with Urinary Incontinence," Dr. Parker-Autry and her colleagues examined the connection between urinary incontinence, physical performance, and the weakness associated with the loss of muscle (also known as sarcopenia) among older women. They uncovered that older women who had difficulty with mobility, poor balance, and weak leg muscles had more severe urinary incontinence compared to women without difficulty getting around. This data confirms that urinary incontinence and physical performance are intimately related. Therefore, consideration of physical performance, mobility, balance, and muscle strength of older women should be considered in the management of their urinary incontinence symptoms. The researchers now are deepening our understanding of this relationship by examining not only the benefit of conservative therapy for urinary incontinence that includes pelvic floor muscle exercises but also how effectively it decreases urinary incontinence symptoms in older women.

The Silverstein Memorial Award is one of several honors conferred by the AGS at its Annual Scientific Meeting. The 2019 award recipients include more than 20 healthcare leaders representing the depth and breadth of disciplines championing care for older adults. For more information, visit


About the American Geriatrics Society

Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has--for more than 75 years--worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 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

About the Health in Aging Foundation

The Health in Aging Foundation is a national non-profit established in 1999 by the American Geriatrics Society to bring the knowledge and expertise of geriatrics healthcare professionals to the public. We are committed to ensuring that people are empowered to advocate for high-quality care by providing them with trustworthy information and reliable resources. Last year, we reached nearly 1 million people with our resources through We also help nurture current and future geriatrics leaders by supporting opportunities to attend educational events and increase exposure to principles of excellence on caring for older adults. For more information or to support the Foundation's work, visit

About the Jeffrey H. Silverstein Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in the Surgical and Related Medical Specialties

The Silverstein Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in the Surgical and Related Medical Specialties recognizes emerging researchers across health care committed to careers in aging. Their geriatrics-focused work in surgical and other medical specialties helps to advance the unique care we all need as we age.

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 2,500 nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers, long-term care and managed care providers, healthcare administrators, and others will convene May 2-4, 2019 (pre-conference program on May 1), at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore., to advance geriatrics knowledge and skills through state-of-the-art educational sessions and research presentations. For more information, visit

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