AGS Honors Dr. Kathryn Denson with Dennis W. Jahnigen Memorial Award at #AGS23 for Her Many Contributions to Geriatrics Education

  • Congratulations to Dr. Kathryn Denson of @MedicalCollege, @MCWmedger, on being awarded the 2023 Dennis W. Jahnigen Memorial Award for her work advancing geriatrics education. She will receive the award at #AGS23

New York (April 17, 2023) — Today, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) announced that Kathryn Denson, MD, will be honored with the Dennis W. Jahnigen Memorial Award for her many contributions to improving the knowledge, competence, and skills of all health professionals who care for older adults. Dr. Denson is recognized for her lasting innovation and exceptional teaching expertise and is celebrated for her many important contributions to the advancement of Geriatrics education.

Dr. Denson, a Professor of Medicine, is Chief of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and Chief of Geriatrics at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center. A 2003 recipient of a Geriatrics Academic Career Award (GACA) from the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA), she is known for developing innovative approaches to educating the healthcare workforce and for disseminating these approaches and materials widely through publications and presentations. One example of this impact is her work as chief editor and co-creator of, an internationally accessed online resource containing over 100 brief, clinically actionable reviews of geriatrics topics.

In addition to the GACA Award, Dr. Denson has been funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, The John A. Hartford Foundation, and has also served as a Co-Investigator for a Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) award from HRSA. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator for an Advancing Healthier Wisconsin award to educate interprofessional health professions students from medicine, nursing, and pharmacy to serve as geriatrics champions in their respective disciplines and to advocate for improved dementia caregiver support.

The AGS will present the award to Dr. Denson at the AGS 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS23) taking place in Long Beach, CA, May 4-6 (preconference day May 3rd). 

“Dr. Denson is a much beloved member of the AGS community who is known for her quiet, effective leadership and for her passion for spreading geriatrics knowledge and expertise to other specialties and disciplines,“ said AGS President G. Michael Harper, MD, AGSF. “She has a laser-like focus on improving the knowledge and skills of the entire healthcare workforce so everyone is prepared to care for all of us as we age. We are truly fortunate that she chose a career in geriatrics.  Her warmth, passion, and approach to teaching embody the spirit of the late Dennis W. Jahnigen, MD, for whom this award is named.” 

Throughout her career in geriatrics, Dr. Denson has been a pioneer in using innovative teaching strategies such as team-based learning, case-based learning, standardized patients, and gaming. At the Medical College of Wisconsin, she has led Geriatrics Education Teams (GETs) in Trauma Surgery, Cardiology, Emergency Medicine, Psychiatry, and Hematology-Oncology. These teams collaboratively identified specialty-specific educational gaps, then created, delivered and disseminated curricular materials. In 2007, Dr. Denson assumed leadership of the Med-Ger fellowship program – an innovative four-year combined residency and fellowship program that offers internal medicine residents an opportunity to complete geriatrics fellowship requirements during their residency, creating time in their fellowship year to undertake projects or develop additional skills. This training model is now being disseminated nationally, with leadership through the Medical College of Wisconsin, AGS, and its Association of Geriatric Academic Program Directors (ADGAP). Thus far, 8 institutions are participating, creating combined programs approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), and the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM).   

At AGS, Dr. Denson is a member of the AGS/ADGAP Education Committee and the Co-Chair of the AGS Resident Activities Sub-committee.  She also serves as an Associate Editor for Aquifer Geriatrics, the AGS national online curriculum, and contributes significant time and expertise to trainee programming at the AGS Annual Meeting. 

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About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals dedicated to improving the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Our 6,000+ members include geriatricians, geriatrics nurse practitioners, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists who are pioneers in advanced illness care for older individuals, with a focus on championing interprofessional teams, eliciting personal care goals, and treating older people as whole persons. AGS believes in a just society, one where we all are supported by and able to contribute to communities where ageism, ableism, classism, homophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other forms of bias and discrimination no longer impact healthcare access, quality, and outcomes for older adults and their caregivers.  AGS advocates for policies and programs that support the health, independence, and quality of life of all of us as we age. AGS works across patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of all older people. For more information, visit

About the Dennis W. Jahnigen Award
The late Dennis W. Jahnigen, MD, was a compassionate geriatrician and acclaimed educator who dedicated his life to training future leaders. Today, his namesake award recognizes an AGS member committed to working with students and advancing geriatrics education in schools of health and medicine.

About the AGS Annual Scientific Meeting
The AGS Annual Scientific Meeting is the premier educational event in geriatrics, providing the latest information on clinical care, research on aging, and innovative models of care delivery. More than 2,000 nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers, long-term care and managed care providers, healthcare administrators, and others will convene in Long Beach, CA, May 4-6, 2023 (pre-conference program on May 3) to advance geriatrics knowledge and skills through state-of-the-art educational sessions and research presentations. For more information, visit

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