Jeffrey H. Silverstein Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in the Surgical and Related Medical Specialties

Courtney Balentine, MD, MPH, & Candace Yvonne Parker-Autry, MD

The AGS and the AGS Health in Aging Foundation named Courtney Balentine, MD, MPH, of the University of Texas Southwestern and Candace Yvonne Parker-Autry, MD, of Wake Forest School of Medicine will receive this year’s Jeffrey H. Silverstein Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in the Surgical and Related Medical Specialties. Presented at the AGS 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS19, held May 2-4 in Portland, Ore.), the award will recognize Dr. Balentine and Dr. Parker-Autry for accelerating research at the intersection of geriatrics and other specialties.

An Assistant Professor of Surgery, Dr. Balentine specializes in minimizing disruptions to older patient’s lives and improving recovery and independence following operations to treat cancer. His #AGS19 presentation, “An Implementation Assessment of the Virtual Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Program,” is the first formal implementation evaluation of the Virtual ACE platform’s application in surgery. Developed to address the shortage of geriatric specialists across the U.S., Virtual ACE involves a combination of training for bedside nurses and building assessments, protocols, tracking systems, and standardized postoperative order sets to improve care for older individuals. Dr. Balentine and his colleagues conducted interviews with more than 30 physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, and other colleagues involved in implementing Virtual ACE in the surgical ward of a specialty hospital. Stakeholders indicated that Virtual ACE empowered nurses and other staff to identify patients at risk for difficult recovery, and also helped connect staff to tools for effectively addressing patient needs and communication between partners on the health care team. According to Dr. Balentine’s research, Virtual ACE represents a promising approach for reducing many of surgery’s serious consequences for older adults.

An Assistant Professor of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, Dr. Parker-Autry also has built a broader home for geriatrics—in this instance at the intersection of two important fields: Urology and Gynecology. In the work she will present at #AGS19, “Phenotyping Functional Impairment in Older Women with Urinary Incontinence,” Dr. Parker-Autry and her colleagues examined the connection between urinary incontinence, physical performance, and the weakness associated with the loss of muscle (also known as sarcopenia) among older women. They uncovered that older women who had difficulty with mobility, poor balance, and weak leg muscles had more severe urinary incontinence compared to women without difficulty getting around. This data confirms that urinary incontinence and physical performance are intimately related. Therefore, consideration of physical performance, mobility, balance, and muscle strength of older women should be considered in the management of their urinary incontinence symptoms. The researchers now are deepening our understanding of this relationship by examining not only the benefit of conservative therapy for urinary incontinence that includes pelvic floor muscle exercises but also how effectively it decreases urinary incontinence symptoms in older women. 

Past Recipients of the Jeffrey H. Silverstein Memorial Award 

2018      Tony Rosen, MD, MPH
2017      Anne M. Suskind, MD, MS