Clinician of the Year Award

Since 1993, the Clinician of the Year Award has recognized the great contributions of practitioners to delivering quality healthcare for older people and showcases the importance of the geriatrics clinician in our healthcare system. Through these clinicians' efforts, scientific advances are integrated into the practice of geriatrics, resulting in improved well-being and quality-of-life for older people.

2023 Recipient: Shelley R. McDonald, DO, PhD, MCG

Shelley R. McDonald, DO, PhD, MCG, is the recipient of the 2023 Clinician of the Year. Dr. McDonald, who is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, will be honored at the 2023 AGS Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS23) being held in Long Beach, CA, from May 4-6 (preconference day is May 3).

“Our 2023 Clinician of the year, Dr. Shelley McDonald, is a national champion for improved perioperative care of older adults undergoing surgery,” said AGS President G. Michael Harper, MD, AGSF. “She is the Geriatrics Medical Director of the Perioperative Optimization of Senior Health (POSH) program at Duke. In that role, she exemplifies the team-based approach to care that is the hallmark of geriatrics practice, always putting the older person at the center of care with a focus on their goals and needs. An extraordinary geriatrician, she has collaborated with surgical champions to reach across disciplines and specialties to build POSH in a way that is inspiring others to implement POSH at their own institutions.”

A seasoned clinician with a background in research, Dr. McDonald has been a champion for building the evidence base for POSH, seeking out every opportunity to collaborate with Duke investigators to ensure that POSH will become a recognized and reproducible model of care for older adults. This has produced numerous high-profile publications, internal and external grants, and notable outcomes that include shorter lengths of stay, fewer complications, and fewer hospital readmissions. VA funding allowed POSH to be developed at the Durham VA Medical Center. Similar programs have been implemented at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX (by Duke Geriatric fellowship alumni with a Duke surgeon who transitioned there but did not want to leave his POSH experience behind), in Madison, WI and Boston, MA.

Dr. McDonald is an advocate for all who are marginalized. She and the full POSH team address the non-medical factors that influence health outcomes, such as limited health literacy, food insecurity, lack of transportation, financial distress, household stress, or inadequate social connections.  Additionally, she lends her time and expertise to her community through service at the local food banks and has organized first aid stations for annual memory walks for the Alzheimer's Association. An avid gardener and cook, she connects especially well with the people of North Carolina who come from rural communities to seek specialty care and surgery at Duke. These connections build bridges and trust at a time when many people become overwhelmed yet need to understand their options and how to fully participatory in a system that may be out of their comfort zone. 

Dr. McDonald received her undergraduate degree as well as a Master of Clinical Gerontology from Baylor University, her PhD from the University of North Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and her DO from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed residency training at the Scott & White Hospital/Texas A&M Health Science Center/College of Medicine and was a three-year geriatrics fellow at Duke University Medical Center. 

An AGS member since 1999, Dr. McDonald is active in our Geriatric-Surgical Co-Management Special Interest Group and has mentored many AGS members who wish to emulate POSH at their own institutions. AGS is delighted to honor her with the Clinician of the Year Award in recognition of how she has bought her numerous talents and skills to bear during an exceptional clinical career with a focus on ensuring that we all have access to person-centered, high quality surgical care as we age.


Past Recipients of the Clinician of the Year Award

2022      Helen S. Kao, MD 
2021      Faith Atai, MD
2020      James Lin, DO, MS, MHSA
2019      Kellie Flood, MD
2018      J. Eugene Lammers, MD, MPH, FACP, AGSF
2017      Fatima Sheikh, MD, CMD, MPH
2016      Lisa Tank, MD, FACP
2015      Ronald S. Duemler, MD, MS, CMD
2014      Pamela S. Tronetti, DO, AGSF
2013      Rosemary D. Laird, MD, MHSA
2012      Niharika N Suchak, MBBS, MHS, FACP
2011      Margaret A. Noel, MD
2010      Jerome Epplin, MD, AGSF
2009      Michelle S. Eslami, MD
2008      Valisa Saunders, MN, APRN, BC, GNP
2007      Rebecca D. Elon, MD, MPH
2006      F. Michael Gloth, II, MD, FACP
2005      Henry Schneiderman, MD, FACP
2004      Roy Bradford Whitney, Jr., MD
2003      Taylor Graves, MD
2002      Jerry M. Earll, MD
2001      Daniel Haimowitz, MD, FACP, CMD
2000      Steven C. Castle, MD
1999      Samuel C. Durso, MD
1998      Mary Ann Forciea, MD
1995      Mary A. Johnson-Crockett, MD
1994      Gary E. Applebaum, MD
1993      Francis Salerno, MD

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