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

The Silverstein Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in the Surgical and Related Medical Specialties recognizes emerging researchers across health care committed to careers in aging. Their geriatrics-focused work in surgical and other medical specialties helps to advance the unique care we all need as we age.

2024 Recipient: Michael Devinney, MD, PhD

Michael Devinney, MD, PhD Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Duke University is the 2024 recipient of the Jeffrey H. Silverstein Memorial Award for Emerging Investigators in the Surgical and Related Medical Specialties. The award recognizes Dr. Devinney for his cross-cutting work in geriatrics, anesthesiology and neuroscience.

"Dr. Devinney is a passionate advocate for improving the care of older patients,” said AGS President Donna Fick PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, AGSF, FGSA, FAAN. “Driven by a desire to understand the underlying mechanisms causing delirium, Dr. Devinney’s work showcases a commitment to enhancing postoperative care and prevention of cognitive impairment. His commitment to improving perioperative care of older adults perfectly embodies the spirit of the Jeffrey H. Silverstein Memorial Award, which recognizes emerging researchers making a significant impact on aging-focused care within their specialty."

Dr. Devinney is an exemplary critical-care physician scientist dedicated to improving the care of older adults by discovering aging-related mechanisms of delirium and subsequent Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. An anesthesiologist and critical care physician, he has published extensively in his first 3 years on faculty, and his NIA R03 GEMSSTAR funded study published in the Annals of Neurology provides key human evidence for a role of postoperative blood-brain barrier dysfunction in delirium. Using cerebrospinal fluid proteomics, he will next investigate proteins that cross a disrupted blood-brain barrier to cause delirium and subsequent Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Dr. Devinney has also investigated the role of sleep in postoperative neurocognitive disorders, and is conducting an RCT of suvorexant to improve postoperative sleep and prevent delirium. Overall, his work has great potential to uncover key mechanisms of delirium and subsequent cognitive impairment that will significantly advance our care of older surgical and critically ill patients.

“During my early clinical experiences, I was struck by the many older hospitalized patients that experienced severe confusion and disorientation which often worsened an already stressful illness for older patients and their families,” Dr. Devinney commented. “As a result, I became interested in the underlying causes of delirium and my research has focused on uncovering mechanisms of delirium and its sequelae, including long-term cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD). My long-term career goal is to discover specific underlying mechanisms (ie, aging-related mechanisms) that contribute to delirium and its sequelae such as long-term cognitive impairment and ADRD.”

An AGS member since 2018, Dr. Devinney has presented his research at several AGS Annual Scientific Meetings, and his poster was selected for the Presidential Poster Session in 2019. At this year’s Virtual Annual Scientific Meeting, Dr. Devinney will present his research during the Clin-STAR Paper session, taking place on Friday, May 10 from 2:45 to 3:45 pm. He will discuss “A Role for Intraoperative Hypotension in Postoperative Blood-Brain Barrier Dysfunction in Older Non-Cardiac Surgery Patients” during his presentation. 

Board certified in anesthesiology, Dr. Devinney received his MD from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.  He completed his internship, residency, and fellowship at Duke University Medical Center and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the Duke University School of Medicine. Like Dr. Silverstein, Dr. Devinney is working to bring attention to the unique health care needs of older adults by taking on national leadership roles within professional organizations representing anesthesiology and surgery. He is a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the International Anesthesia Research Society. He was also the Mid-Atlantic Representative for Early-Stage Anesthesiology Scholars (eSAS) and is an associate member of the Association of University Anesthesiologists.

Past Recipients of the Jeffrey H. Silverstein Memorial Award 

2023     Elizabeth L. Whitlock, MD
2022     Lauren Southerland, MD
2021     Lindsay Hampson, MD, MAS
2020     Kavita Vyas Dharmarajan, MD
2020     Nazema Y. Siddiqui, MD
2019      Courtney Balentine, MD, MPH
2019      Candace Yvonne Parker-Autry, MD
2018      Tony Rosen, MD, MPH
2017      Anne M. Suskind, MD, MS

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