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Hebrew SeniorLife's Dr. Sharon K. Inouye elected to Institute of Medicine

BOSTON, MASS. October 17, 2011 The Institute for Aging Research (the Institute), at Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL) today announced Sharon K. Inouye, M.D., M.P.H., has been elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public. Inouye is the Director of the Aging Brain Center at the Institute for Aging Research which seeks to transform the human experience of aging by conducting research that will ensure a life of health, dignity and productivity into advanced age. Inouye holds the Milton and Shirley F. Levy Family Chair in Alzheimer's Disease at the Institute, is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and a faculty member in the Division of Gerontology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine, and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

"Along with Hebrew SeniorLife's geriatric health care services, senior housing communities and teaching programs, the Institute for Aging Research is helping transform how we view aging, and Dr. Inouye is an important part of that transformation as a key member of our world-class faculty," said Len Fishman, Hebrew SeniorLife's chief executive officer. "Dr. Inouye's work on delirium is improving quality of life for seniors worldwide at a time when they are most vulnerable, and combined with the other members of the Institute of Medicine, her expertise will be instrumental to improve patient safety in the hospital and will further benefit our aging population."

A global expert on delirium, Inouye's innovative research has pioneered and defined the field, advancing the understanding of diagnosis, risk factors, prognosis, and interventions. Delirium is a common, preventable condition that represents a significant threat to older patients. Throughout her career, Inouye has focused on finding ways to apply the results of her clinical investigation to improving care practices in clinical settings that impact the quality and safety of health care for seniors worldwide.

In addition to developing and validating a new instrument for identification of delirium called the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM), which is now the most widely used standard in the field and is translated into 20 languages, Inouye conceptualized the multifactorial model for delirium, which focused on identification of predisposing and precipitating factors for delirium. Finally, she developed an intervention strategy to prevent delirium called the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), which was demonstrated to reduce delirium by 40% as reported in a landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Currently, Inouye is directing the Successful AGing after Elective Surgery (SAGES) study, an $11 million Program Project on Delirium funded by the National Institute on Aging. The purpose of the study is to examine long-term outcomes of delirium on older adults, and represents the first NIH program project (P01) on delirium ever funded.

"I am indebted to, and accept this honor on behalf of, countless physicians, nurses, and patients who taught me and believed in the work, and to the new generation of delirium researchers who are now enthusiastically advancing this emerging field," said Inouye. "I am truly looking forward to working with the IOM to make contributions to improve the quality and safety of healthcare for all."


Contact: Glen Gracia
Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research

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