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Welcome to the Division of Geriatric Medicine

The Division of Geriatric Medicine was established at the University of Colorado School of Medicine (CU-SOM) and the Denver VA Medical Center in 1984. While it was originally constituted with its major foci on education and clinical care, since 1999, under the leadership of Drs. Robert Schwartz and Wendy Kohrt, it has successfully added a critical emphasis on aging-related research. The Division is one part of the University of Colorado Multidisciplinary Center on Aging that bridges the 6 health sciences schools on the Anschutz Medical campus (AMC): Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Public Health, Nursing and Graduate Education. Both the Division and the Center have been directed by Dr. Robert Schwartz since 1999.

Clinical Care: Geriatric clinical care at the CU-SOM is centered at the Seniors Clinic in the Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion on the AMC. This multidisciplinary clinic delivers “Partnership-Based Medical Care”, connecting patients, their families and caregivers, allied health professions and medical/surgical subspecialists. This team-based approach to care includes physicians, mid-level providers, clinical pharmacists, social workers and nurses, each bringing a unique and indispensable facet of care to the older adult. The Seniors Clinic emphasizes disease prevention, functional ability, reduced medication burden and the most appropriate level of medical intensity across the spectrum from healthy older adults to treatment near the end of life. We stress but are not limited to management of: falls and immobility, urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control), memory loss and dementia, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, heart disease, osteoporosis, weight loss, frailty, and polypharmacy (too many interacting drugs). Another area of clinical emphasis is sub-acute and long-term care. Students, residents and fellows are exposed to this distinct and essential part of our healthcare system through our clinical interactions at the Colorado State Veterans Home, a program that is led by Dr. Jeff Wallace.

At the Eastern Colorado Health care System (ECHCS); Denver VA similar models of multidisciplinary team care are emphasized in both the VA Geriatrics Clinic and the 60-bed post-acute care Community Living Center. Our VA affiliate will be moving to a completely new facility adjacent to the University on the AMC in late 2015.

Educational Training: In collaboration with our faculty at the Denver VAMC, our Division sponsors education at multiple levels including: 1) medical student; 2) allied health students and interns; 3) medical residents; 4) pre- and post-doctoral PhD students; and 5) geriatric medicine fellows. Clinical experiences include outpatient, inpatient, and post-acute care, as well as home care and an innovative group medical visit program. Our Geriatric Medicine Fellowship has attracted 51 trainees since it was established in 1985. Each fellow has completed their training and passed their required certification examinations.

Research and Training: Our pre- and post-doctoral MD and PhD research training programs have grown markedly since 1999. These programs revolve around a very successful NIA-funded Institutional NRSA (T32) in the “Applied Physiology of Aging”, which is co-located at the AMC and the University of Colorado Boulder campus. Research training in our Division has benefited from a Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine (COE) since 1998. The MDs supported by our COE have progressed to stellar research careers, bringing more than $67M in direct research dollars to the University since its initiation.

Our IMAGE (Investigations in Metabolism Aging Gender and Exercise) research group is led by Dr. Wendy Kohrt, and includes cross-cutting clinical/translational research encompassing many medical disciplines including: geriatrics, general internal medicine, endocrinology/metabolism, infectious diseases, oncology, cardiology, physical therapy and general surgery. Studies focus on maintaining physical and cognitive function, exercise, bone health, effects of sex hormones on health, insulin resistance and obesity in older adults, and vascular biology.

Linking with the Division of Health Care Policy and Research, led by Dr. Eric Coleman, our fellows and junior faculty achieve research success in health services and quality-related research. In collaboration with the Division of General Internal Medicine, our trainees are exposed a certified Palliative Care and Hospice Fellowship program and a newly funded Palliative Care T32 training grant.

Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC):The ECHCS VA has been recently awarded the first new GRECC in more than 15 years. As its name implies, this prestigious Center will support aging-related research, educational and clinical opportunities and will stress collaborations between the VA and the University in all of these areas.