Todd Semla, PharmD, MS, AGSF
The AGS has honored past AGS President Todd Semla, PharmD, MS, AGSF, with the prestigious Nascher/Manning Award, given biannually at the AGS Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS21, to be held next year May 13-15 in Chicago, Ill., following the cancellation of the AGS 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting due to COVID-19). Dr. Semla, who served as the AGS’s first pharmacist president, now joins a cadre of less than 20 geriatrics healthcare professionals recognized with the Nascher/Manning Award since its inception in 1987.
A clinical associate professor with the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Dr. Semla has 40 years of experience in geriatric pharmacotherapy, the study of using pharmaceuticals to help manage an older person’s health. He also has decades of experience leading and influencing geriatrics expertise and education for the pharmacists, doctors, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, and other health professionals who increasingly comprise care teams for older people.
In his tenure at the AGS, for example, Dr. Semla has co-led all three major updates to the AGS Beers Criteria®, a compendium of medications potentially to avoid or consider with caution because they may present an unfavorable balance of benefits and harms for older adults. With Dr. Semla’s help, the AGS Beers Criteria® has not only become one of geriatrics most frequently cited references but also has expanded to include additional tools, from guidance for older adults, health systems, and health insurance stakeholders on its appropriate use to additional lists of alternative medications for those that may no longer be appropriate.
Of no less note is Dr. Semla’s tenure as the AGS’s first pharmacist president, which helped herald the increasingly interprofessional nature of geriatrics and the AGS. As president from 2007-2008 and AGS board chair from 2008-2009, Dr. Semla worked with society leaders and staff to launch a variety of important initiatives, from the AGS’s inaugural presence on Twitter to its co-convening of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance. He has been a member of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society editor board since 1996, and currently serves as an associate editor.
Dr. Semla earned his doctoral degree in pharmacy from the University of Iowa in 1985, having previously earned a master’s degree in science focused on clinical and hospital pharmacy. Dr. Semla went on to complete a geriatrics fellowship at the University of Iowa from 1985-1986 before transitioning to positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern. From 2003-2018, Dr. Semla also served as the National Pharmacy Benefits Management (PBM) Clinical Pharmacy Program Manager for Mental Health & Geriatrics at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Nascher/Manning Award is named for a geriatrics pioneer who helped build the foundation for what would become the AGS. Ignatz Leo Nascher, MD, was the first clinician to advocate for establishing a specialty focused on the care of older adults. His namesake award is one of several honors conferred by the AGS at its Annual Scientific Meeting.
Past Recipients of the Nascher / Manning Award
2020 Todd Semla, PharmD, MS, AGSF
2018 William Applegate, MD, MPH, MACP, AGSF
Thomas Edes, MD, MS
2016 William Hazzard, MD, AGSF
2014 Paul McGann, MD
2012 Joseph G Ouslander, MD AGSF
2010 Mathy Mezey, EdD, RN, FAAN
2008 Jeffrey B. Halter, MD
2006 Patricia P. Barry, MD, MPH
2004 Kenneth L. Minaker
2002 John Morley, MB, B.Ch
2000 Peter Boling, MD