March 1998

Media Contacts: Sarah Goodwin, 404/727-3366 -
Kathi Ovnic, 404/727-9371 -

A collaborative venture between Emory University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is ensuring that as America's aging population grows, so will the number of physicians trained to care for older adults.

The Southeast Center for Excellence in Geriatric Medicine, which began operations Jan. 1, is the only such center in the South. Center co-directors Joseph G. Ouslander, M.D., of Emory and Richard M. Allman, M.D., of UAB, are structuring the unique program to help meet current and future demands for specialists in geriatric medicine; experts claim the nation's 6,000 geriatricians should more than double just to meet current needs and they predict some 30,000 physicians specially trained in geriatric medicine will be needed.

The collaboration will enhance the capabilities of both programs to attract young physicians into careers in academic geriatric medicine, and to provide doctors new to the field with the expertise, mentorship and environment they will need to best manage the sometimes complex health challenges of older patients.

"Many older adults in Atlanta, Birmingham and throughout the South will benefit from this collaborative center as patients to center faculty and doctors in training -- all of whom will be practicing the latest in geriatric medicine," says Dr. Ouslander, who directs the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine in the Emory University School of Medicine's Department of Medicine as well as the Wesley Woods Center on Aging. "Patients and their families will also benefit from participation in center research projects, and in the long run will benefit from the results of center research."

Specifically, the center will provide training and support for senior Geriatric Medicine fellows (doctors who have completed a medical residency) and junior faculty at both medical schools.

Support from the center will provide trainees the time and funding to pursue research projects intended to answer scientific questions about the health of older adults.

They will have the opportunity to work in a variety of clinical settings, including the Wesley Woods Center on Aging, the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center and University of Alabama clinical sites in Birmingham.

Areas of faculty research expertise at the center involve urinary incontinence and related lower urinary tract disorders, mobility disorders and related complications such as balance disorders, pressure ulcers and visual impairment and improving the delivery of health care to older persons.

The center is supported by institutional funds from Wesley Woods, Emory and UAB, and matching funds from the John A. Hartford Foundation ($825,000 over three years).

The John A. Hartford Foundation Inc. of New York City is a private philanthropy established in 1929 by John A. Hartford. Mr. Hartford and his brother, George L. Hartford, both former chief executives of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, left the bulk of their estates to the Foundation upon their deaths in the 1950s. Prior to 1979, the Foundation primarily supported clinically-oriented biomedical research projects. Since 1979, the Foundation has focused its support on improving the quality and financing of health care and enhancing the capacity of the health care system to accommodate the nation's growing older population. The majority of the Foundation's current grantmaking relates to enhancing geriatric research and training, and integrating and improving health-related services to the elderly.


For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences Communication's Office at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to

Copyright ©Emory University, 1998. All Rights Reserved.
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