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Sections & Special Interest Groups

Sections

Staff Contacts: Dennise McAlpin (dmcalpin@americangeriatrics.org)

Sections are groups that were created to encourage networking among specific disciplines or trainees that are members of the American Geriatrics Society. All sections meet during the AGS Annual Meeting.

Fellows-in-Training Section
Chair: Jeensoo Chang, MD 

Medical Subspecialties Section
Co-Chairs: Keith Kaye, MD, MPH & Lona Mody, MD, M.Sc

Nurses Section
Chair: M.J. Henderson, GNP

Pharmacists Section
Chair: Todd Semla, PharmD

Physician Assistants Section
Co-Chairs: Kathy Kemle, MS, PA-C & Freddi Segal-Gidan, MS, PA-C

Residents Section
Co-Chairs: Melissa Loh, Meghan Lembeck, Janet Starck, Courtney Ross

Social Workers Section
Chair: Irene Moore, MSSW, LISW, AGSF

Section of Surgical and Related Medical Specialists
Chair: Andrew G. Lee, MD

Teachers Section
Chair: Anne Fabiny, MD 

Special Interest Groups
Staff Contact: Dennise McAlpin (dmcalpin@americangeriatrics.org)

These grass-roots groups meet once a year during the AGS Annual Meeting to network and discuss areas of mutual interest. Depending on member interest, SIGS are active throughout the year, communicating electronically. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are open to all AGS members with an interest in the area of focus. Members of SIGs are encouraged to develop symposia proposals for submission to the Annual Meeting Program Committee, and to present collaborative project ideas to committees. Active participation in a SIG is encouraged for members who are interested in becoming engaged with AGS Committees, subcommittees, and liaison activities.

Acute Hospital Care
Chair:
Robert M. Palmer, MD, MPH
The mission of the Acute Hospital Care Special Interest Group is to improve the outcomes of hospitalization of elderly patients through improvements in clinical care, dissemination of research findings and promotion of health professional education. Innovative approaches to acute hospital care are discussed at AGS meetings.  The SIG meeting is open to all AGS participants.

Cancer and Aging
Co-Chairs:
Arash Naeim, MD, PhD & Arti Hurria, MD
The Cancer and Aging Special Interest Group is an interdisciplinary assemblage of geriatric, gerontologic, and oncologic professionals whose collective mission is to: (1) promote multidisciplinary-centered cancer prevention, assessment, and management of older adults; (2) promote education and training in geriatric oncology concepts; (3) promote research in geriatric oncology; (4) facilitate linkages among those organizations and institutions which serve or focus upon geriatric and/or oncologic causes; and (5) champion and advocate for those elders and their families who are impacted by cancer.

Care Transitions
Chair: Timothy W. Farrell, MD     
The mission of the Care Transitions SIG is to improve outcomes for vulnerable elders moving across different healthcare settings through the better execution of care transitions. The SIG will assemble geriatricians and other geriatrics professionals with a common interest in improving care transitions through education, quality improvement, and research. The group will strive to serve as a resource to develop educational sessions at AGS annual meetings, and serve as AGS's main forum discussion, collaboration, and advocacy on care transitions issues. 

Clinical Research in Dementia
Co-Chairs:
Malaz Boustani, MD, MPH & Noll Campbell
The aim of the Special Interest Group on Clinical Research in Dementia (SIG-CRD) is to bring together AGS members who are dedicated to advancing the health care of older adults suffering from dementia by advancing clinical research in geriatrics, across disciplines and care settings. In addition the SIG-CRD aims to disseminate interdisciplinary, evidence-based clinical knowledge about the management of dementia in older adults. 

Disaster Planning and Preparedness
Chair:
Charles A. Cefalu, MD, MS
The Disaster SIG session provides up-to-date, accurate, and useful information as well as guidance to all geriatric healthcare professionals regarding disaster planning and preparedness for all types of disasters. It is open to health professionals who work with older adults in all geriatric health care sites, including acute, long term care, rehabilitation and home settings. Guests and members are encouraged to present at the annual meeting on disaster topics of interest (usually 2-3 per session) including ongoing or completed research, published articles, or successful disaster planning protocols or strategies.

DO’s in Geriatrics
Chair:
Janice Knebl, DO, MBA
The DO's at the AGS SIG is a group of osteopathic geriatricians that provides a forum for networking and discussion about the opportunities in geriatric medicine within the osteopathic profession and at the osteopathic medical schools.  Join the SIG and attend the AGS Annual Meeting session to meet and engage in lively discussions with your osteopathic geriatrician colleagues.

Elder Abuse and Neglect
Chair: Ronan Factora, MD

The Elder Abuse and Neglect SIG is an interdisciplinary group of professionals whose mission is to improve the lives of older patients affected by elder mistreatment. Members include national leaders in the field of elder mistreatment in research and advocacy, as well as clinicians and  educators who are active in developing  curriculum for healthcare learners. The Elder Abuse SIG advocates for elder abuse  initiatives and serves as a networking  group. Members are active in providing  educational sessions at the annual AGS meetings. New SIG members are always welcome. Please join us at the annual meeting or during the year by contacting the Chair.

E-Learning in Geriatrics
Co-Chairs:
Tom Teasdale & Jorge Ruiz, MD
The e-learning special interest group (el-SIG) of geriatric educators from multiple disciplines dedicated to developing, standardizing, sharing, using or evaluating e-learning resources and other educational technologies in support of geriatrics blended learning instruction and assessment of health care professionals. It is important to begin this effort early and on a national scale in order to minimize duplication of effort. The goals of the group are to understand the current state of e-learning resources and how members use them. Furthermore, it reviews materials to establish benchmark examples of e-learning content.

Ethnogeriatrics
Chairs: Lenise A. Cummings-Vaughn, MD  and Natasha Harrison, MD
The Ethnogeriatrics SIG is open to anyone with an interest in the relationship between aging, ethnicity, clinical practice and research.  Participants will find out what projects are being developed by the Ethnogeriatrics Committee and offer suggestions for future AGS symposia, and are welcome to bring any new ideas to this meeting. The group's endeavors are to find out challenges and practical solutions to providing appropriate care to different cultures and ethnicities in our diverse country. Members are encouraged to share educational materials and participate in our quarterly newsletter focusing on key issues affecting ethnic minorities in the 21st century.

Family Physicians in Geriatrics
Chair: Erik J. Lindbloom, MD, MSPH
This Special Interest Group is devoted to discussing and acting on issues of concern to family physicians caring for older adults. Issues pertinent to family medicine fellows and residents are also of interest. This group works in collaboration with the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Group on Geriatrics.

Geriatrics Consultative Services
Chair: Ella H. Bowman, MD, PhD

The goal of this SIG is to generate the exchange of ideas and experiences allowing practitioners to provide more effective geriatrics consultation services. Members learn from other practitioners how geriatrics consultative services are provided in various clinical settings. Discussion topics include: extent to which our services are in demand; types of patients we see; opportunities for collaboration with other services; billing processes and concerns; incorporating geriatrics teaching within the consultative setting; and types of challenges encountered. We meet annually at AGS, ultimately striving to fuel the creative exchange of ideas through collaboration to enrich our home institution consultative services.

Geriatric-Surgical Co-Management SIG
Chair: Lynn McNicoll, MD
This SIG brings together geriatricians involved in surgical co-management programs at their institution. This evolving and expanding model of care is becoming an important strategy in improving outcomes for frail older adults undergoing surgery and reducing hospital costs. The group will share ideas and strategies for both implementation and expansion of the programs. 

Health Professional Students
Co-chairs:
 Li-Wen Huang and Lolita Nidadavolu
Meet other students and discuss your own ideas about the field and ways to get more involved in AGS! All students are encouraged to join.

Healthcare for Low-Income Seniors
Chair:
Steven R. Counsell, MD
The Healthcare for Low-Income Seniors SIG strives to improve the quality and outcomes of healthcare and maximize independence among low-income seniors by bringing together geriatrics professionals dedicated to the care of the poor, disseminating practical solutions and innovative geriatrics team care models, and advocating for public policy change to better address the needs of this population.

Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP)
Chair:
Heidi Wierman
The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) is an innovative model of hospital care designed to prevent delirium and functional decline and to improve overall quality of hospital care for older persons. The program has been demonstrated to be both effective and cost-effective, with the potential for large cost savings. The program is currently being widely disseminated nationally and internationally. The goal of this SIG is to allow all current and potentially interested HELP sites to come together to hear the latest updates about HELP, to network and discuss successes and challenges anywhere in the planning or implementation process.

Information Technology Issues
Chair:
Irene Hamrick , MD
The IT Issues Special Interest Group serves the AGS Membership by establishing a venue for members with an interest in Information Technology as it applies to Geriatrics.  These members see Electronic Health Records (EHR) as a means for improving medical care by reducing error rates, improving efficiency, augmenting communication, facilitating optimal reimbursement and decreasing expenses.  An important focus of this SIG is to provide information, support and an organized center for coordinating information and resources to optimize the use of EHR in a senior health care environment.  This includes ambulatory and long-term care senior health care settings. 

Additionally, the SIG is interested in the use of computerized records to facilitate transitions of care from one setting to another. Beyond the interest in improving communication and health information exchange, this SIG also encompasses interests in telemedicine and computerized assessment/biotechnology advancements.  Monitoring vital signs, laboratory testing, and imaging from remote locations would be relevant examples.

The current politics of health care reform, reimbursement and research as applicable to information technology are also areas of intense interest for this Group.  This group looks at security, privacy, costs, expansion, educational opportunities and future development of IT as societal demands on its role in geriatric medicine increase.

International Activities
Chair: Neela Patel MD, MPH and Ariba Khan

Any member with an interest in the development of International Geriatrics and Palliative care initiatives within the AGS should join the International Activities SIG. More than 1000 million people will be over 60 years old by 2025, the vast majority in the developing world.  This figure is expected to double by 2050, which will lead to increasing demands on health and social-service systems worldwide. This group works on proposals for the Annual Meetings regarding aging around the world, educational issues, and partnerships in geriatrics and palliative care. The emphasis is on improving care of older adults around the world by enhancing networking and establishing partnerships that can translate in improving geriatric education and support geriatricians and interest professionals around the world. Members will discuss experiences in their countries, challenges and lessons learned. 

Interprofessional Education and Practice (IPE / P)
Chair:  Josette Rivera, MD and Todd James MD FACP

The Interprofessional Education and Practice (IPE/P) Special Interest Group welcomes all AGS members to explore how broad health professional interest in teamwork is changing health education and practice. While geriatrics has long recognized the importance of teams, this has not been a widely recognized focus of health education or practice until recently. Interprofessional education refers to when "two or more professionals learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes" (WHO, 2010). Please join us to explore opportunities to advance geriatric care and collaborative practice with new educational initiatives, curricula, and models of care.

Junior Faculty Research Career Development
Chair:  Kathleen T Unroe

The Junior Faculty Research SIG strives to facilitate and foster the research career development of junior faculty members, fellows and students at the AGS. Participants are encouraged to discuss research interests, academic career development, career choices, job opportunities, and/or other topics pertinent to junior faculty development.  Major efforts include: 1) Sponsoring symposium/workshop at the AGS Annual Meeting on important research career development topics; 2) Networking among junior faculty/fellows across the nation and making connections between junior faculty/fellows and senior leaders in geriatrics and aging research; 3) Continuing our well-established research mentor-mentee program; 4) providing a Junior Faculty liaison to the AGS research committee; 5) Updating funding opportunities for junior faculty/fellows at the AGS website.

Long-term Care
Chair: Verna Reynolds Sellers, MD, MPH, CMD, AGSF 

The Special Interest Group on Long-Term Care (SIG on LTC) is a resource and voice to the AGS, the public, healthcare practitioners, policy-makers and various educational centers regarding issues on the availability, delivery, quality and regulation of LTC in the U.S. All members of the SIG on LTC along with other interested AGS members are invited to attend our session at the AGS Annual Meeting.

Make It Safe To Grow Old! Accountable Care Communities For Frail Elders
Chair: Joanne Lynn, MD
This new SIG will share information on the proposals, models of care, community integration collaboration networks, and politics that center on building geographic reforms across all service providers including community agencies, long term services and supports which needs to be monitored and managed on behalf of the whole local population of frail elders, not just those enrolled in a particular program or those using a particular hospital.

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Needs of Older Gay and Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Persons
Chair:
David O. Staats, MD
Geriatrics has not yet fully considered the needs of older gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. This interest group centers on a more formal analysis and observation of these needs.  The SIG is open to all AGS participants who are dedicated to delineating these needs and advocating for older GLBT persons.

Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases
Chair:
Kenneth W. Lyles, MD
The Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases SIG discusses future strategies to promote improved education and care with regards to bone loss in older adults. This SIG focuses on developing symposium topics for the AGS annual meetings.

Palliative Care
Co-Chairs:  Eric Widera, MD, Rachelle Bernacki, MD, MS
The Palliative Care SIG promotes awareness of palliative care issues in the Geriatrics community and identifies and builds on synergies that exist between geriatrics and palliative care.

Physical Therapist and Rehabilitation Specialist
Chair:  Dale Avers, DPT, PhD
All physical therapist and rehabilitation specialists are invited to join this Section which recognizes the important  role that physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists play on the geriatric team and in proper assessment and care of an older patient.

Private Practice Providers in Geriatrics
Chair: Joel Bolen, MD
Private Practice Providers in Geriatrics SIG members discuss challenges and share success strategies with other geriatricians who have chosen to serve seniors through private practice. Their discussion topics include: patient flow and practice management, billing and reimbursement, staffing, alternate revenue streams, marketing, institutional LTC or not, and comprehensive geriatrics assessment. 

Polypharmacy (a joint SIG with the Society for General Internal Medicine)
Chair: Sean Jeffrey

The AGS Polypharmacy SIG is dedicated to issues related to medication use in older adults. Our goal is to facilitate education and discussion on this topic, both within the group and for a wider audience. The SIG accomplishes this by encouraging open dialogue during AGS annual meetings and through the participation of our members on a listserv, in addition to generating and sponsoring symposia at the AGS Annual Meeting. The SIG also exists to promote networking and contacts for people interested in medication use in older persons.

Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
Chair: Dr. Peter DeGolia

(Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly) is a comprehensive, fully integrated model which provides community-based care for nursing home eligible frail elders.   This session will provide information to people who are interested in working with or establishing a PACE organization.  In addition people who are currently working with PACE organizations are encouraged to attend to share PACE stories and best practices for management of older adults with chronic diseases.  We encourage anyone with questions to come and explore why this model has become so successful. 

Society for General Internal Medicine Geriatrics (SGIM)
Chair: Shahla Baharlou, MD and Lexy Torke, MD, MS
The Society for General Internal Medicine Geriatrics SIG has traditionally been a source of collaborative activity between AGS and SGIM. Collaborative efforts between geriatricians and general internists who frequently provide most of the care for older adults provide benefits in patient care to all participants.
This interest group focuses on ways to collaborate on developing workshops for the AGS & SGIM annual meetings, as well as fostering ongoing collaborative efforts and better communication between the two groups. We welcome researchers, clinicians, and educators at all levels of training and expertise.

The Aging and Oral Health Special Interest Group
Co-chairs: Sue Spackman, DDS, FASGD and
Christie Hogue, DDS
The purpose of this SIG is to provide a forum where issues that impact the Oral Health of our aging patients are presented and those that require the team approach to most efficiently coordinate needed treatments for oral health are discussed. The SIG is meant to be a place where the members can interact to find and expand access to care when it comes to Oral Health and Aging. Members of the AGS are a diverse and highly knowledgeable group of health professionals with a passion for the aging patient. This is an excellent organization into which to bring such a SIG.

Veterans Health Administration
Chair: Kenneth Shay, DDS, MS
This SIG offers an opportunity to discuss in an open forum announcements and key issues relating to geriatrics and extended care clinical programs and to research and education initiatives. All VHA staff attending the AGS Annual Meeting, and all other interested meeting attendees, are invited to participate in this special meeting.  Announcements and key issues relating to geriatrics and extended care clinical programs and to research and education initiatives will be discussed in an open forum.

Wound Prevention and Management
Chair: 
Foy White-Chu, MD
The wound prevention and management SIG is an interdisciplinary group of healthcare professionals who strive to improve outcomes in skin and wound health in vulnerable older adults through supporting education, research, and quality improvement initiatives. Target conditions include chronic wounds, such as pressure ulcers, venous leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, and malignant wounds.  Acute wounds, for example non-healing post-operative wounds and skin tears, are also a focus.  This group also addresses complex skin conditions, such as stomas and fistulas.

How to Establish a Special Interest Group and SIG Reporting Requirements
Any AGS member may initiate development of a new Special Interest Group by submitting a proposal to the Executive Vice President care of Dennise McAlpin (dmcalpin@americangeriatrics.org). The proposal should identify the name and purpose of the special interest group, describe its mission and goals, list proposed activities, include the names of 10 AGS members who support the development of the SIG and include the primary contact person for the group.

Required Annual Report on SIG Activities
Established SIGs will be required to submit a summary report immediately following the annual meeting that includes a list of the SIGs members and the group's objectives for the coming year. A minimum of 15 members is required to maintain a SIG. Established SIGs will have two years to demonstrate that they have 15 active members. If they are unable to do this, the SIG will be dissolved. New SIGs will have a two-year “provisional” start-up period after their inaugural meeting to reach 15 members. Provisional status ends when the group reaches 15 members. If 15 members have not joined the SIG within 2 years, it will be dissolved.

Annual Summary Reports should be submitted to Dennise McAlpin
(dmcalpin@americangeriatrics.org) immediately following the meeting.

SIGs may also be dissolved by the membership upon a vote at their business meeting or may be dissolved by the Board of Directors for cause or if the SIG fails to comply with AGS policies. Additionally, SIGs will be automatically dissolved by the Executive Vice President, if membership falls below 15 members for two consecutive years, or if the SIG does not convene a meeting at two consecutive AGS Annual Meetings. A SIG which does not meet at the Annual Meeting and which does not submit the group's objectives for the coming year will also be dissolved.