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Faculty Named to Gerontological Society

CU School of Medicine

5/23/2016

AURORA, Colo. – Patricia Heyn, PhD, associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, has been elected a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

GSA is the world’s oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education and practice in the field of aging. Heyn was recognized through the society’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Section for her outstanding and continuing work in the field of gerontology.

In addition to her appointment in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Heyn is a research associate at the Center for Gait and Movement Analysis (CGMA) at Children’s Hospital Colorado, a research associate at the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Advancing Technologies to Enhance Independence for Adults with Cognitive Impairments (RERC-ATACI) and associate faculty in the Movement Disorders Center for the Department of Neurology.

Heyn’s current research interests include developing and evaluating interactive technologies for cognitive, aging, and physical rehabilitation and investigating the effects of behavioral interventions on cognitive function and metabolic syndrome for individuals with complex disabilities. Her meta-analysis on the effects of exercise training for individuals with dementia is recognized as the Number #1 Top 25 SciVerse ScienceDirect: Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Hottest Article. She has been involved in several international academic programs and scientific projects.

Heyn earned a PhD in Exercise Physiology/Gerontology from the University of Central Florida followed by two Post-Doctoral Fellowships.

The first in 2004 on Cognitive/Neurological Rehabilitation supported by the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, where she studied the effects of physical and cognitive-behavioral therapies on individuals with brain injuries, as well as on Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Her investigations include the associations between lifestyle behavior, sex hormone, diabetes and interactive technology on cognitive function.

During the second Fellowship in 2006 on Geriatric Medicine Research supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIH), she studied the associations between mild cognitive impairment (MCI), ethnicity, age, education, physical activity levels and metabolic syndrome as well as designing clinical trials for hypogonadal older men and trials for older individuals with metabolic syndrome and MCI. 

Her election to Fellow, and her gerontology accomplishments, will be celebrated at the GSA Annual Scientific Meeting, Nov. 16-20 in New Orleans.