The American Federation for Aging Research has announced two grants totaling more than $9 million from the John A. Hartford Foundation to address the shortage of geriatrics faculty at medical schools and the dearth of physicians entering geriatric medicine.
While the United States has experienced steady growth in its elderly population, the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs projects that the ratio of geriatricians to seniors will fall from one geriatrician for every 2,620 Americans age 75 and older today to one for every 3,798 in 2030. In response to those trends, the foundation awarded $8.4 million to the John A. Hartford Foundation Centers for Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Geriatric Psychiatry program at AFAR to provide fellows and faculty with the knowledge and skills they need to ensure quality health care for older adults, and $624,424 in support of AFAR's Medical Student Training in Aging Research program, which provides scholarships to medical students so that they can participate in a summer of aging-related research, education, and clinical training at National Institute on Aging-funded training centers and other academic institutions in the country.
"The John A. Hartford Foundation has been a leader in addressing our country's critical need for physician scientists, teachers, and clinicians to improve health and health care for older Americans," said AFAR medical officer Richard W. Besdine, who also serves as professor of medicine and of health policy, Greer professor of geriatric medicine, director of the Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, and director of the division of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. "Geriatricians are desperately needed to address the complex medical problems of an aging population, and this need will only increase as tens of millions of baby boomers age."