Geriatric Specialist Cited Nationally for Public Service

Apr. 6, 2016
Dr. Annette Medina-Walpole Earns AGS Jahnigen Award
Annette (Annie) Medina-Walpole, M.D.

University of Rochester Medical Center geriatrician Annette (Annie) Medina-Walpole, M.D., will be honored with the 2016 Dennis W. Jahnigen Memorial Public Service Award by the American Geriatric Society (AGS) at its Annual Scientific Meeting in May. Medina-Walpole is a professor of medicine and acting chief in the Division of Geriatrics and Aging.

The award, recognizing Medina-Walpole's commitment to working with students and advancing geriatrics education, is named for the late Dennis W. Jahnigen, M.D., a compassionate geriatrician and acclaimed educator who dedicated his life to training future leaders. Throughout her career, Medina-Walpole has worked tirelessly to recruit and educate more professionals equipped to care for an expanding older-adult population—a critical unmet need for one of the country's fastest growing groups.

"In the clinic, at the bedside, and the classroom, Dr. Medina-Walpole has led the charge on innovative educational programs to get more students and trainees across health care interested and engaged in geriatrics," said AGS President Steven R. Counsell, M.D. "We already need 20,000 geriatricians to care for America's 46 million older adults, yet today less than 7,500 certified geriatricians are practicing nationwide. Our vision for tomorrow is a reality first and foremost because AGS leaders like Dr. Medina-Walpole are stepping up to model the way for aspiring eldercare experts."

Medina-Walpole joined URMC in 1998 and quickly become the leader of a highly ambitious program to integrate geriatrics into the School of Medicine and Dentistry's undergraduate curriculum. Through her efforts, aging became one of six underlying themes for the entire medical student community. More recently, she developed a course to engage medical students in understanding the importance of patient history and physical examination, including in older adults who live in nursing homes. She has served as Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Director and currently co-directs the Dean's Teaching Fellowship, which trains faculty as master educators.

"One of my greatest professional privileges has been the opportunity to work with Annie," said William J. Hall, M.D., Paul H. Fine Professor of Medicine at URMC. "In addition to being an extraordinary clinician, she has spearheaded seminal educational programs in geriatrics locally and nationally. Above all, she is a role model, a natural born leader, and one of the most compassionate human beings I have ever met."

"This award is a tribute to the mentorship and vast education and leadership opportunities that the University of Rochester has provided to me," Medina-Walpole said. "I am passionate about the field of geriatrics and my work reflects my goal to educate, innovate and support the careers of geriatric health professionals—and by doing so, improve the health, well-being and independence of older adults across the care continuum both locally and nationally."

As an AGS member since 1995, Medina-Walpole is perhaps best known as a mentor, educator and esteemed clinician for the many emerging health professionals who have benefitted from her guidance. She is a frequent reviewer for the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and former chair of the AGS Annual Scientific Meeting Program Committee. She is co-editor of the Geriatric Review Syllabus, a premier reference guide for clinicians engaged in continuing education, and was recently elected to the AGS Board of Directors.

The American Geriatrics Society is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics health care professionals dedicated to improving the health, independence, and quality of life of older people.