Dennis W. Jahnigen Memorial Award

Helen Fernandez, MD, MPH

The Dennis W. Jahnigen Award recognizes an AGS member committed to working with students and advancing geriatrics education in schools of health and medicine The AGS has named Helen Fernandez, MD, MPH, a national geriatrics education leader focused on improving care of older people, the winner of this year’s Jahnigen Award in recognition of her commitment to building the geriatrics health workforce we all need as we age.

Director of the Geriatrics Fellowship program and Professor of Geriatrics in the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dr. Fernandez has worked tirelessly on the local, regional and national levels to enhance the training of healthcare professionals in geriatrics throughout her career. In her capacity as co-director for the HRSA Consortium of New York Geriatrics Education Centers (CNYGEC) from 2007 to 2015, she developed and conducted more than 20 interactive workshops on the overlap of geriatrics and palliative care, cultural and linguistic competency, and health literacy, and helped create an interprofessional faculty training program for nurse practitioners. Since 2011, she has created online geriatrics training modules and mentored about 80 healthcare professionals in the VA Geriatrics Scholars Program, which improves veteran care by integrating geriatrics principles into primary care practices. In recent years, Dr. Fernandez has taught healthcare professionals about rethinking and confronting ageist stereotypes as a “Reframing Aging” trainer.

Dr. Fernandez has perhaps accomplished the most significant achievements of her career thus far at her professional home at Mount Sinai, where she first arrived as a geriatrics fellow in 1999. At the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, she co-created the first-ever integrated geriatrics and palliative fellowship, the model for which has been disseminated across the country, re-energized the complementary relationship between the two fields, and launched the careers of numerous clinician-scholars. Dr. Fernandez also co-directs a mini fellowship program for non-geriatricians and leads the annual Board Review course in geriatric medicine at the school, where she holds a tenured professorship in the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine.

An AGS member since 1999, Dr. Fernandez has served on the AGS Education Committee since 2015, after serving on the Ethnogeriatrics Committee. In 2019, she became course director of the AGS/Association of Directors of Geriatrics Academic Programs (ADGAP) Leadership and Life Skills Longitudinal Course for Fellows. She is currently Chair of the ADGAP Fellowship Working Group last year and a member of the ADGAP Board.

Dr. Fernandez earned her medical degree from the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Mexico in 1993 and her Master of Public Health degree in community and preventative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Past Recipients of the Dennis W. Jahnigen Memorial Award

2021      Helen Fernandez, MD, MPH
2020      John Murphy, MD
2019      Nicole Brandt, PharmD, MBA, BCGP, BCPP, FASCP
2018      Jane Potter, MD, AGSF
2017      Maura Brennan, MD, AGSF, FACP, FAAHPM, HMDC
2016      Annette (Annie) Medina-Walpole, MD, AGSF
2015      Barbara Resnick, PhD, RN, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, AGSF
2014      Elizabeth K. Tanner, PhD, RN
2013      Gail Sullivan, MD, MPH
2012      Leo M Cooney, Jr., MD
2011      Sharon A. Levine, MD
2010      G. Paul Eleazer, MD
2009      Samuel C. Durso, MD, MBA
2008      Rosanne M. Leipzig, MD, PhD
2007      Steven R. Counsell, MD
2006      Kenneth Brummel-Smith, MD
2005      Harvey Jay Cohen, MD
2004      Terry T. Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN
2003      William Hall, MD, Rochester, NY
2002      Gregg A. Warshaw, MD, Cincinnati, OH
2001      Evelyn C. Granieri, MD, Pittsburgh, PA
2000      David B. Reuben, MD, Los Angeles, CA