Arti Hurria Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in Internal Medicine Who are Focused on the Care of Older Adults

Megan Huisingh-Scheetz, MD, MPH

The Arti Hurria Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in Internal Medicine who are Focused on the Care of Older Adults recognizes the accomplishments of junior and mid-career clinician-investigators in general internal medicine and its specialties. Chosen from hundreds of research presentations submitted to the AGS, the Hurria awardee presents groundbreaking research on the geriatrics aspects of their specialty at #AGS21. This year’s awardee is Megan Huisingh-Scheetz, MD, MPH, a geriatrician and epidemiologist with a unique commitment to leveraging new technology to improve the care of frail older adults.

An Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the Aging Research Program in the Section of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the University of Chicago, Dr. Huisingh-Scheetz found her niche at the intersection of geriatrics, the healthcare specialty dedicated to caring for older adults, and technology through formative work at the Successful Aging and Frailty Evaluation (SAFE) clinic at her university. The clinic she co-directs translates research on frailty (the state of increased vulnerability to stress, resulting from aging-associated declines in function across multiple physiologic systems) into clinical practice. While caring for clinic patients and supporting their caregivers, Dr. Huisingh-Scheetz began to explore the use of wearable sensors to accurately and remotely assess their frailty, and her research using accelerometry data from wearable devices was the first to show that frail adults are less likely to be active in the morning and are less consistent in their activity routines than non-frail adults. Dr. Huisingh-Scheetz has further solidified her reputation as a leader in the application of new technologies to the care of older adults by developing and implementing a unique program using smart voice devices to encourage frail older adults to stay active and socially engaged in their homes. 

Dr. Huisingh-Scheetz’s research presentation at #AGS21, “Normative Reference Data for the SPPB Among U.S. Older Adults Across Two Nationally-Representative Datasets: NSHAP and NHATS,” examines the performance distribution of three components of the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) among age and gender subgroups of older adults in two, NIA-funded, national datasets, producing the largest, most current SPPB reference data in U.S. adults ages 65 and older. Dr. Huisingh-Scheetz worked with colleagues at the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University to develop U.S. reference data for three assessments that are fundamental to research on and the clinical care of older adults, especially those who are frail.  Using two nationally-representative data sets—the 2015-2016 National Social Life Health and Aging Project (NSHAP) and the 2016 National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS)—Dr. Huisingh-Scheetz and her team generated age and gender subgroup distributions of performance in a three-meter walk, five repeated chair stands, and three different static balance stances. They also examined differences across datasets and birth cohorts. Confirming a gradual decline in physical function with age, study results can help researchers and clinicians standardize research and clinical care protocols and estimate a patient’s overall functional risk and relative performance within subgroups.

A member of the AGS since joining as a fellow in 2010, Dr. Huisingh-Scheetz currently co-leads the Junior Faculty Special Interest Group's work on maintaining a list of funding opportunities and communicating them to AGS members.

Past Recipients of the Arti Hurria Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in Internal Medicine Who are Focused on the Care of Older Adults 

2021     Megan Huisingh-Scheetz, MD
2020     Kah Poh Loh, MD
2020     Rasheeda K. Hall, MD
2019     Lauren Ferrante, MD, MHS