Who We Are
As a regional affiliate of the American Geriatrics Society, the organization provides leadership for professionals, policy makers and the public in the area served. The organization aids in the efforts of the American Geriatrics Society in developing, implementing and advocating programs in patient care, research, professional education, public policy and public information for the Pennsylvania and region.
The strategic goals of the PAGS-WD are to:
1. Promote geriatric education for all geriatric healthcare professionals.
2. Provide an active forum and opportunity for networking and engagement with other professionals who share an interest in improving care for the older adults
3. Advocate for programs and public policy, which will improve the
4. Encourage students and residents to pursue a career in geriatrics.Our Leadership
Call for Nominations - NOW OPEN Geriatrics Teacher of the Year Award
The Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division (PAGS-WD) is seeking nominations for the Geriatrics Teacher of the Year Award. The award will be presented to two outstanding teachers for their dedication and commitment to geriatric education.
This annual award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the education and training of learners in geriatrics and to the progress of geriatrics education across the health professions.
Rollin Wright, MD, MA, MPH, Awards Committee Chair, is asking for your assistance in recognizing a physician and a professional from another healthcare discipline (e.g., nursing, advanced practice, physical therapy, pharmacy, occupational therapy, dentistry, audiology, speech-language pathology, social work) for their geriatrics teaching excellence.
The call for nominations is now open. Please forward the nomination form and website link to faculty and staff whom you feel would be interested in nominating an individual. You may also complete the form on behalf of a colleague. Members and non-members are eligible for the award, with ideal candidates meeting some or all the following criteria:
Nominations will be accepted until January 25, 2020. Questions regarding the awards or the nomination process can be directed to Nadine Popovich, administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 321-5030.
FALL PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
The Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division hosted their annual fall program on Tuesday, October 1 at the University Club. Over 70 internists, family practitioners, geriatricians, geriatric psychiatrists, pharmacists, nurses, nursing home administrators, and social workers attended the evening dinner program.
The annual fall program, which began in 2003, has been a popular program attracting distinguished guest speakers, comprised of both national and local faculty. This year was no exception, with an expert panel comprised of local faculty exploring: Drinking and Dementia: a toxic cocktail in senior residential communities.
Leading the panel presentation was Rollin Wright, MD, MS, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Director, Geriatric Track Program UPMC Internal Medicine Residency Training Program. The remaining panel members included: Brendan Hanley, Division Chief of Care Coordination, Area Agency on Aging; LalithKumar K. Solai MD, Chief and Medical Director, Geriatric Psychiatry; Medical Director, Center for Interventional Psychiatry; Director, Patient Safety, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Lianne Glaus Vighetti, DHCE, LSW, Gerontological Social Worker, UPMC Shadyside. Namita Ahuja, MD, MMM, President of the Society, served as moderator.
Presenters explored the controversial case in detail, each providing their expertise to the question of the ramifications of behavior problems related to obligations and rights of the patients, healthcare providers, personal care facility, and power of attorney. Discussion with audience members during the panel Q&A was enlightening with numerous comments and questions on how to deal with these complex situations and what are appropriate guidelines for proper intervention being foremost. The program agenda offered stopping points throughout the presentation to elicit audience opinions as to the decision.
tThank you to the following who supported the program
l. to r. Fred Rubin, MD; President Namita Ahuja, MD, MMM; Presenters: Rollin Wright, MD, MS, MPH; Lianne Glaus Vighetti, DHCE, LSW; LalithKumar K. Solai, MD; Mr. Brendan Hanley
MARCH 5-7, 2020
Pittsburgh Marriott City Center
Registration to begin December 2020
Please check back periodically for updates. Registration and conference details can be found on the Clinical Update website.
Judith Black, MD, MHA, FACP
Recipent of the PA-ACP Laureate Award
Congratulations to Judith Black, MD, MHA, FACP secretary/treasurer of the Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society - Western Division honored as a 2019 Laureate Awardee (Western Region) from the American College of Physicians - Pennsylvania Chapter (PA-ACP).
The Laureate Award honors those Fellows or Masters of the College who have demonstrated by their example and conduct an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education, or research, and in service to their community, their Chapter, and the American College of Physicians.
The awardees shall be senior physicians who are Fellows or Masters of long-standing, with acknowledged excellence and peer approval in the field of internal medicine. In addition, the awardees should have served the Chapter with distinction. Exceptional circumstances may modify these requirements.
Dr. Black will be honored along with other awardees at the PA-ACP Annual Awards Dinner following the Annual Scientific Meeting on November 16th in Harrisburg. Information and registration for the meeting and award dinner can be found on the PA-ACP website.
Descriptions of the awards and lists of previous winners can be found here.
Fred Rubin, MD - Past President, Honored
During the meeting, a special recognition was bestowed upon Fred Rubin, MD, immediate past president of the Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western. Judith Black, MD, Secretary/Treasurer, and Course Directors Shuja Hassan, MD and Neil Resnick, MD presented a plaque to Dr. Rubin for his tireless commitment to the organization by serving as President from 2009 to 2018.
Dr. Rubin was a founding member of the Society and served as president of the PAGS-WD from 2009 until his term ended in December of 2018. He also served as President-Elect when the Society was established, and its members met for the first time on January 29, 1991.
During Dr. Rubin's term, the Society has seen consistent growth in membership. He was instrumental in offering a new educational program called Controversies in Geriatric Medicine, now in its fourth year. In addition, the Society has been recognized by the AGS and awarded the State Affiliate Achievement Award for Innovative Programming, an honor bestowed upon the society on three separate occasions, two of which when Dr. Rubin was president.
JOIN THE Society
As a member, you are an integral part of the Society and aid in our efforts and mission: to EDUCATE, COMMUNICATE, and ENGAGE healthcare professionals (representing all disciplines) in the provision of quality healthcare for all older persons. Strengthen our voice and become a member today.
SOCIETY RECOGNIZES GERIATRICS TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARDEES
Rollin Wright, MD, MS, MPH, awards chair, highlighted the achievements and significant contributions each awardee has made to the education and training of learners in geriatrics and to the progress of geriatrics across the health professions. More than 80 attendees were on hand for the plaque presentation.
Dr. Herb served as director of Geriatrics Education and Core Faculty at Allegheny Health Network from 2012 to 2017. She is currently the chair of AHN’s Academic Improvement Committee and contributor to the Clinical Competency Committee.
As a highly respected teacher, mentor, and innovator, Dr. Herb developed a comprehensive geriatric curriculum that is mandatory for all third-year residents at AHN. The multifaceted curriculum incorporates didactic lectures, simulation, home visits, nursing home rotations, outpatient and inpatient geriatric elective rotations, and more. More than 150 residents have participated in the geriatric curriculum thus far and 13 residents have pursued a Geriatric Fellowship since 2013 at several prestigious institutions across the country.
Dr. Hornyak practiced physical therapy at several regional nursing facilities and UPMC Presbyterian Hospital prior to becoming a full-time faculty member within the Department of Physical Therapy (DPT) at the University of Pittsburgh in 2008, where she is responsible for coordinating and serving as the primary instructor for courses related to patient management and geriatrics in the DPT program
Rollin Wright, MD, MS, MPH Chair, Awards committee with award recipients Christine Herb, MD (Physician Award); Victoria Hornyak, PT, DPT, GCS; and Society President, Namita Ahuja, MD.
To further stimulate the interests of DPT students in geriatrics, Dr. Hornyak serves as the faculty mentor for the students’ Geriatrics Special Interest Group. She was also appointed to the University of Pittsburgh’s Working Group on Inter-professional Education as a representative of the University’s school of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
To read more on each awardees click here.
A call for nominations for the 2020 Geriatrics Teacher of the Year award will begin in September 2019. Award eligibility, criteria and details on the nomination process will be available on the society website in August.
2019 DAVID C. MARTIN RECIPIENTS RECOGNIZED
The Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division is proud to announce the 2019 recipients of the David C. Martin Award: Mr. Tyler Paras and Ms. Vivianne Oyefusi, each second-year medical students attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Each awardee’s abstract was accepted for poster presentation by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) at their 2019 Annual Scientific meeting, scheduled for May 2-4 in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Paras’ abstract was also selected for presentation as a poster during the Presidential Poster Session. Abstracts receiving the highest scores through the peer review process are included in the Presidential Poster Session
Both were recognized at the dinner symposium in conjunction with the 2019 Clinical Update Geriatric Medicine on April 25, 2019, where each was presented with a certificate of excellence and honorarium. The honorarium will aid in defraying expenses to attend the AGS 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting to present their work.
The award, established in 1999, provides an honorarium of up to $1,500.00 to medical students, including students studying other healthcare disciplines (Pharmacy and Physical Therapy) from our region to attend the Annual Conference of the American Geriatrics Society. Candidates must meet the award criteria and abstract guidelines and be selected by the Board of Directors.
Since its inception, the Society is proud to have awarded over $84,500 to area medical students interested in the field of geriatric medicine.
David C. Martin Award Recipient, Ms. Vivianne Oyefusi
with Namita Ahuja, MD, President.
Namita Ahuja, MD, assumed the role of president of the Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division (PAGS-WD) on January 1, 2019, serving a two-year term. Dr. Ahuja will oversee the Board of Directors, which is comprised of 17 healthcare professionals representing various disciplines and local institutions throughout the region.
As president, Dr. Ahuja will work with the Board to further the Society’s goals, which include:
• Develop, support and promote the clinical practice of geriatrics and support practitioners who provide such care.
• Increase the number of physicians knowledgeable about geriatrics and committed to the clinical care of the aged.
• Engage with the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) on public policy efforts that will result in improved health care for older people.
• Increase the membership base of the society, to foster and encourage active participation by its members and to serve the needs of the membership.
• Develop and maintain productive and collaborative relationships with other professional organizations, provider groups, political and lay organizations concerned with the health care of older persons.
Dr. Ahuja succeeds Fred Rubin, MD, who was a founding member of the Society and who served as president of the PAGS-WD since 2010. Dr. Rubin also was an elected officer of the Society when its members met for the first time on January 29, 1991.
During Dr. Rubin’s term, the society has seen consistent growth in membership. He was instrumental in offering a new educational program called Controversies in Geriatric Medicine, now in its fourth year. The Society has been recognized by the AGS and awarded the State Affiliate Achievement Award for Innovative Programming, an honor bestowed upon the society on three separate occasions, two of which when Dr. Rubin was serving as president.
Dr. Ahuja and the Board of Directors are dedicated to building upon the success that Dr. Rubin established during his tenure and to fulfill the mission of the society, which has remained the same for nearly 30 years.
Dr. Ahuja earned her medical degree from Seth G.S. Medical College and KEM Hospital in her native country of India in 1994. She came to the United States the following year and completed her internal medicine residency at Methodist University Hospital of Memphis, TN in 1999, serving as chief resident for one-year. During her residency, Dr. Ahuja developed an interest in geriatric medicine. She completed a fellowship in geriatric medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 2005 and has practiced within the University of Pittsburgh’s Division of Geriatrics since that time.
Dr. Ahuja currently serves as senior medical director, Medicare and Geriatric Programs, UPMC Health Plan. She is also a clinical assistant professor, Division of Geriatric Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Board certified in geriatric medicine, Dr. Ahuja maintains certification in Hospice and Palliative Care, in addition to seeing patients in a nursing home clinic.
Namita Ahuja, MD, President
Fred Rubin, MD , Immediate Past President
NEIL RESNICK, MD NAMED AMERICAN GERIATRICS SOCIETY (AGS)
The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) announced that Neil M. Resnick, MD, AGSF will be the next Co-Chair for its Council of State Affiliate Representatives (COSAR). Dr. Resnick is Thomas Detre Professor of Medicine and Chief of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC.
Dr. Resnick brings a wealth of leadership and knowledge to the role. His experience includes 15 years as a Board member and COSAR representative for the Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society Western Division (PAGSWD). PAGSWD is a three-time winner of the State Affiliate Achievement Award, including in 2018.
Dr. Resnick has also been active in AGS, having won its Outstanding Excellence Award for Research in 2004 and having served as an AGS Leadership Scholar, a member of 3 AGS committees, and a mentor in its national mentorship program.
Dr. Resnick is excited by his new role as he believes that State affiliates should serve the national organization in two ways: by providing AGS with information from the trenches regarding practitioners insights and priorities and by serving as AGS’ implementation arm for its education and policy initiatives. He plans to use a team approach to learn from each affiliate’s success and challenges and to identify ways to increase the value of each affiliate. His hope is to help increase the number and membership of affiliates. He will assume his new position after the American Geriatrics Society national meeting in May, 2019.
COSAR, the governing body of the AGS State Affiliates is recognized as an important, deliberative body to promote and support affiliates. It is consists of elected member representatives, one from each of the proposed, provisional and active State Affiliates. It meets regularly to exchange information on State Affiliate activities, and to share new ideas on development, advocacy, education, membership, public policy and other affiliate business.
The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) awarded the Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division (PAGS-WD) with its 2018 AGS State Affiliate Achievement Award for Innovative Educational programming. This prestigious award is given to an AGS state affiliate who has successfully achieved continued growth of educational programs. The Society was recognized for the Clinical Update in Geriatric Medicine Conference (the largest CME event in the region), the Controversies in Geriatric Medicine (June) Program, and the annual Fall Program. The David C. Martin Award (DCM), the Society’s student scholarship program, was also highlighted. A portion of the profits from the educational series sustains the DCM honorariums that are awarded to recipients. Honorariums are used by awardees to offset the costs of attending the AGS national conference where they have the opportunity to display their work.
Neil Resnick, MD, COSAR Representative, and Fred Rubin, MD, President, accepted the award on behalf of the Society at the AGS Awards Ceremony, held in conjunction with the AGS national meeting on May 3-5, 2018 in Orlando, FL. Dr. Resnick was also invited to speak at a separate AGS State Affiliate Chapter meeting. He presented highlights and implementation strategies on the Society’s award-winning programs. The valuable resources and tools shared served as a guideline for other state affiliates to create and implement programming in their respective region. In addition to being recognized at the AGS meeting, the Society received an honorarium of $1,500.
This is the third honor bestowed on the Society. In 2003, the AGS awarded the State Affiliate Achievement Award in the area of continuing education for members to the organization, specifically, the overwhelming success of the Clinical Update in Geriatric Medicine conference. In 2011, the Society was honored for their accomplishments in membership recruitment and retention.
4th Annual Controversies in Geriatric Medicine
The Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division welcomed attendees to the 4th annual Controversies in Geriatric Medicine program held June 19th at the Herberman Conference Center, Pittsburgh, PA. The program was made possible with sponsorship from: MedstartTM , naviHealth, Optum, Portolo Pharmaceuticals, and Sanofi Pasteur.
Navigating Difficult Decisions presented the case of an 80-year old woman with diabetes and generalized atherosclerosis who underwent repair of a 5.7 cm AAA with an endovascular stent. She had a stormy post-operative course and spent the next 4 months in the hospital.
Leading the Panel discussion was Nivedita Gunturi, MD, Fellow, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, who presented the case, and stopped at various key points to elicit audience opinions. Jane Schell, MD, FNKF, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, Division of Rental Electrolyte, University of Pittsburgh discussed the evaluation of decision-making capacity, the risks and benefits of hemodialysis in a frail elderly patient and the challenges of establishing goals of care when the patient had made no advance directive and family that disagree. A lively discussion from panelists and audience members concluded the presentation. Moderator for the evening was PAGS-WD President, Fred Rubin, MD.
This is the fourth Controversies in Medicine program hosted by the Society and is a part of the yearly educational series, which was recently awarded the American Geriatrics Society State Affiliate Award for Innovative Educational Programs in Geriatrics.
From left, Fred Rubin, MD, president, and panelists Nivedita Gunturi, MD and Jane Schell, MD, FNKF
More than 380 geriatrics professionals from all disciplines, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, social workers, long-term care and managed care providers, and health care administrators participated in the 26th Annual Clinical Update in Geriatric Medicine conference held at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center Hotel April 5-7. The course attracted registrants from numerous states, including California, North Carolina, New York and Washington.
Previously awarded the American Geriatrics Society Achievement Award for Excellence in a CME program, this
conference continues to be a well-respected resource to educate healthcare professionals involved in the direct care of older persons by providing evidence-based solutions for common medical problems that afflict older adults daily and for which rapidly evolving research (much done in Pittsburgh) is revealing new approaches that are feasible for the real world.
Under the leadership of course directors Shuja Hassan, MD, Judith S. Black, MD, MHA, and Neil M. Resnick, MD, who worked tirelessly with the planning committee, the course is a premier educational event in the region. The course attracts prominent international and national lecturers and nationally renowned local faculty. William Applegate, MD and Barbara Messinger-Rapport, MD comprised this year’s exceptional guest faculty.
Nearly 40 state-of-the-art sessions taught by highly regarded clinician-educators and researchers were offered during the three-day event. Each lecture, symposium and breakout session offered participants evidence-based “pearls for practice” designed to be immediately incorporated into the realities of daily practice.
The conference is jointly sponsored by the Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division; UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Aging Institute; and University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences.
The 2018 Geriatrics Teacher of the Year Award presentation was held prior to the dinner symposium at the 26th Annual Clinical in Geriatric Medicine conference. Jordan F. Karp, MD and Heather Sakely, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCGP were honored with a special recognition for their dedication and commitment to geriatrics education.
Rollin Wright, MD, MS, MPH, awards chair, and Fred Rubin, MD, president, shared the podium to highlight the achievements and significant contributions each awardee has made to the education and training of learners in geriatrics and to the progress of geriatrics across the health professions. More than 65 attendees were on hand for the plaque presentation.
Jordan F. Karp, MD received the 2018 Geriatrics Teacher of the Year Award, recognizing a physician.
Dr. Karp has maintained a clinical practice of psychiatry since 2003, in which he focuses on the care of older adults and patients living with both psychiatric and chronic medical conditions, in particular, chronic pain.
He has served as medical director for psychiatry at UPMC Pain Medicine at Centre Commons from 2006 to 2017, is the director of Student Mental Health Services at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, serves as medical director for the UPMC LifeSolutions Employee Assistance Program, and is a staff physician at the VA Pittsburgh Medical Center.
He is a prominent teacher, mentor, and researcher in geriatric psychiatry and has worked to help strengthen the relationships between the educational missions of the geriatric psychiatry and geriatric medicine training programs at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He has provided scholarly mentorship to 20 trainees and serves as a faculty mentor on the University of Pittsburgh NIH-funded training grant, "Clinical and Translational Research Training in Geriatric Mental Health."
Heather A. Sakely, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP received the 2018 Healthcare Professional Geriatrics Teacher of the Year Award.
Dr. Sakely is a leader in teaching geriatrics to both physicians and pharmacists. She directs UPMC St. Margaret's PGY2 Geriatric Pharmacy Residency program and has developed a curriculum for a geriatric pharmacy residency that includes an integrated system
of collaborating pharmacists and doctors in inpatient, outpatient, and long-term care settings.
Dr. Sakely is faculty in the Family Medicine Residency Program and Geriatric Fellowship at UPMC St. Margaret and adjunct instructor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. Dr. Sakely complements her role as an educator with strong research experience.
She has been principal investigator and leader of the PIVOTs research (Pharmacist-led Reduction of Drug Therapy Problems in an Interprofessional Geriatric Practice) since 2012, which has helped assess the impact of collaboration between pharmacists and doctors in nursing home, assisted living and independent living environment for seniors.
A call for nominations for the 2019 Geriatrics Teacher of the Year award will begin in September 2018. Award eligibility, criteria and details will be available on the society website in August (www.pagswd.org).
The Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division is proud to announce the 2018 recipient of the David C. Martin Award: Mr. Benjamin Cahill, a medical student attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Mr. Cahill was recognized at the 2018 Clinical Update in Geriatric Medicine dinner symposium, where he was presented with a certificate of excellence and honorarium. The honorarium will aid in defraying expenses to attend the 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Geriatrics Society conference, where he will present his abstract, Contact Frequency and Older Adult Participation in Cardiac Rehabilitation.
The award was named after David C. Martin, MD, who established the first geriatrics fellowship in Pittsburgh, PA. The ultimate goal of this prestigious award is to encourage and prepare future physicians in the field of geriatric medicine.
Since its inception, the Society is proud to have awarded over $81,000 to area medical students interested in the field of geriatric medicine.
This is an example of member benefits. Describing advantages for your members can help you to attract new members.
Connection: You are connected to a larger group banded together to produce positive results for geriatric health in our region.
Conferences & Programs: We provide quality education and networking opportunities for geriatric health professionals, and members can attend at a reduced registration fee. Check out our events page for more information.
Free Informational Services: The Society keep you in touch with your peers and current issues through the web site, newsletter and email updates of emerging issues relevant to geriatric health.