NEW AGS PRESIDENT COMMITS TO TAKING ON THE CHALLENGE OF STRUCTURAL RACISM AND AGEISM IN HEALTHCARE

  • New @AmerGeriatrics President G. Michael Harper (@GMHarperdoc) promises to lead the AGS in its efforts to combat discrimination and bias in healthcare for all Americans as we age. #Geriatrics http://ow.ly/jGgH50J0yHE

New York (May 5, 2022)— G. Michael Harper, MD, AGSF, will step into the role of President of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) when healthcare is still facing unprecedented challenges due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on our communities. But he’s also at the forefront of positive change, stepping into a leadership role and continuing his long service as a prominent voice advocating for the Society’s vision to contribute to our communities and maintain our health, safety, and independence as we age. He is taking the helm as the AGS ramps up its efforts to achieve a collective future that is free from discrimination and bias.   

As President-Elect and Board member, Dr. Harper has championed AGS’s diversity, equity and inclusion work, supporting the Society’s Intersection of Structural Racism and Ageism in Healthcare Initiative as it developed from concept to an implementation phase that now spans across its portfolio of programs, products and initiatives. “The disproportionate impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on older adults and communities of color is a stark reminder of how important the work of the Society is,” Dr. Harper said. Emphasizing that building member engagement is critical, he added, “I believe that the AGS is making important contributions to ensuring that we achieve our future vision of a society 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.  I am extremely proud of our members, leaders, and staff who are working collaboratively to advance this vision.”   

Dr. Harper is a geriatrician and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). An early recipient of the Geriatrics Academic Career Award from the Health Services and Resources Administration, Dr. Harper has dedicated his career to ensuring that all health professionals are competent to care for older adults regardless of specialty or discipline.  At UCSF, he is a sustaining member of the UCSF Haile T. Debas Academy of Medical Educators and works across settings in the geriatrics continuum of care including ambulatory, home-based primary care, long-term care, and acute and care.  He also serves as medical director of two San Francisco long-term care facilities. 

An AGS member for 26 years, Dr. Harper has been on the AGS Board of Directors for the past eight years, serving as AGS Secretary from 2020-2021 before being elected by the membership to the position of President-Elect. As a Board member, he co-chaired the Junior Faculty Task Force which established new ways for AGS to recognize junior faculty for the work that they do. He is the Co-Editor of the eleventh edition of the Geriatrics Review Syllabus (GRS11) and the GRS Audio Companion, and currently co-chairs the Geriatrics-for-Specialists Council. Prior to joining the Board, he was a member of the Education and Clinical Practice and Models of Care Committees. Dr. Harper has also served as Chair of the AGS/ADGAP Fellowship Directors Group.   

 “I sincerely hope that, as President, I will contribute to advancing the critically important work of AGS and its efforts to improve healthcare for all of us as we age,” Dr. Harper said.  “Ageism and structural racism continue to plague our country, and I am proud that AGS has taken a strong stance not only to oppose them both but to actively work to dismantle them.” 

“One of the greatest privileges of serving on the Board is the opportunity to work with and make friends with people like Mike. He has always had an eye on fostering future leaders and building our organization – something that has benefited us all,” said Dr. Peter Hollmann, MD, AGSF. 

As outgoing AGS president, Dr. Hollmann becomes Chair of the AGS Board of Directors when Dr. Harper assumes his new post in May. Dr. Hollmann shepherded the AGS through a year of uncertainty amid the unpredictable path of the COVID-19 pandemic and the healthcare community’s response to it. Dr. Hollmann brings a wealth of experience in payment, quality, and public policy to the Board.  Prior to joining the Board, he served as Chair of the AGS Public Policy Committee. He has been the AGS representative to the American Medical Association (AMA) Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Editorial Board Panel and is currently serving as the Vice Chair of the AMA Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC).  

The other Board members joining Drs. Hollmann and Harper as officers of the Society are: Donna M. Fick PhD, RN, GCNS-BC, FGSA, FAAN (President-Elect); Mark Supiano, MD, AGSF (Treasurer), Alison A. Moore, MD, MPH, AGSF (Secretary).  Paul Mulhausen, MD, MHS, FACP, AGSF was elected for a second term on the Board; and Caroline Vitale, MD AGSF and Heather Whitson, MD were elected for their first term.  Sunny Linnebur, PharmD, FCCP, FASCP, BCPS, BCGP was elected to a first term on the AGS Nominating Committee. 

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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.