Geriatrics & Gerontology

Kevin T. Foley, MD, FACP, Director of Education and Clinical Operations, Geriatrics Program

Established in 2008 with a vision to be a leader in gerontology and geriatrics training and education, this multidisciplinary division provides support for education, scholarship and clinical service across Michigan. This new program collaborates across multiple disciplines, (family medicine, internal medicine, nursing, social work, and nutrition, two colleges, College of Human Medicine and College of Osteopathic Medicine). This program will also enhance the education of fellows seeking certification of added qualifications, and of 200 residents physicians in affiliate programs of Family and Internal Medicine from both the Colleges of Human Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine.

From Our 2014 Annual Report

This year marks our fifth anniversary of operations in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology! In my first annual report in 2009, I wrote, “There will be significant future growth in our division, both clinically and academically, as our population ages and demand for our services expands. I look forward to reporting our progress and achievements to you in the coming years.”

Each year that has passed since then, I have been pleased to report on division goals that have been met and also highlight our important contributions to national initiatives that focus on improving health care systems for the elderly and strengthening the geriatric workforce. Our collective accomplishments in those areas have undeniably advanced our field and strengthened our reputation as an academic unit.

Geriatric workforce growth and enhancement has been a major area of emphasis for our division over the past several months. My projects have focused largely on increasing the supply of geriatricians in underserved regions. This is done through formation of new geriatric medicine fellowship programs aligned as networks and recruiting early and mid-career physicians into alternative training pathways that will lead to their board certification in geriatrics. These initiatives have been endorsed and supported by the American Geriatrics Society and the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs.

Dr. Clare Luz has continued her work to disseminate a training curriculum for direct care workers that will transform their role in providing home care and integrate them into a broader interdisciplinary team-based care system for older adults.

Both of these projects address priorities identified in the 2008 Institute of Medicine Report, “Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce.” Of special note, Dr. Luz was recently honored by being elected to the National Quality Forum Home and Community-Based Service Quality Committee.

Dr. Erin Sarzynski’s continued work on improving medication reconciliation procedures has resulted in further funding and development of a software application that has the potential to greatly improve medication list accuracy. Dr. Sarzynksi has further distinguished herself by presenting her work on improving hospital discharge summaries at the annual National Patient Safety Foundation Annual Congress and receiving the CHM Teacher-Scholar award for 2014.

Mark Ensberg, MD, a long-time College of Human Medicine community faculty member and former Sparrow/MSU geriatrics fellowship program director, hired into our division to increase his involvement in the Geriatrics Education Center as well as several clinical and educational endeavors led by MSU or co-sponsored with the Sparrow Health System. Dr. Ensberg has proven his value as a clinician-educator many times over and we are thrilled to now have him in our fold.

Over the past five years, I have led our division with great pride and look forward to the next five with immense excitement and enthusiasm. In closing, I can unquestionably affirm that our faculty members are thriving in their work and that the division of geriatrics is well on its way to achieving excellence in clinical care, leadership, and scholarly contributions.

~Kevin T. Foley, MD, FACP, Director of Education and Clinical Operations, Geriatrics Program