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AFAR announces the 2012 Hartford Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine awards

New York, NY (March 23, 2012)The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) announced today it will distribute nearly $2.5 million in career development awards to 83 advanced fellows and junior faculty members at 28 Hartford Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training. The Centers of Excellence program is funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation, a committed champion of improving health care for older adults, and administered by AFAR, and since 2010 has granted more than $7.5 million, with the goal of increasing the number of academic leaders in geriatric medicine.

"As America ages, the Hartford Foundation's support of the next generation of geriatricians is more important than ever," said Richard Besdine, MD, Chief Medical Officer for AFAR and vice chair of AFAR's National Program Office Advisory Committee, which administers the program. "These scholars are extremely impressive, both in their accomplishments and in their dedication to the important cause of promoting excellent medical care for older adults through their research, teaching, and leadership. Without this support, progress to better care for elders would be seriously impeded, and we are all grateful."

The rapid aging of the American population and the drastic shortfall in the number of geriatricians create an urgent need for more medical faculty who can impart geriatrics to all medical students, and for researchers who can develop innovative ways to improve the care of older adults.

For a complete list of this year's Hartford scholars, please visit

The critical need for geriatricians

The nation's acute shortage of geriatricians is compounded by a lack of faculty members specializing in geriatrics who can train the next generation of doctors. Currently there are fewer than 900 full-time academic geriatricians in the U.S., while some experts project that 2,400 are required to meet the growing demand.

"The Hartford Foundation believes that all physicians need to be prepared to meet the specialized needs of older patients, who are the heaviest users of our health care system," said Nora OBrien-Suric, senior program officer at The John A. Hartford Foundation. "The Hartford Centers of Excellence award is the only one of its kind supporting young academic geriatricians at this critical time in their careers, and is designed to maximize its impact by giving the leaders of geriatrics training programs a high degree of flexibility in how they use the award."

Many of the recipients of the Hartford awards would not have been able to pursue an academic career without this support for their ongoing training in geriatrics. The awards aim to open doors to subsequent career development awards, help recipients build a network of professional colleagues and mentors in the field of geriatrics, and provide recipients the freedom to be innovative in their research.

Building Centers for Excellence

The Hartford awards are part of the Hartford Foundation's Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training (CoE) initiative, which supports medical schools with the necessary components for training academic geriatricians. These include infrastructure for research and medical education, advanced training opportunities, academic mentoring, and enlightened institutional support. Twenty-six Centers focus on geriatric medicine and two are dedicated to geriatric psychiatry.

Contact: Gwen Cullen
American Federation for Aging Research

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