For immediate release
July 23, 2008

For more information
Joseph Douglas

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio to Participate in American Geriatrics Society/John A. Hartford Foundation Program Aimed at Better Preparing Surgical and Other Specialty Residents to Care for Older Patients

Joseph Basler, MD, representing the Department of Urology at the University of Texas Health Science Center has been selected to participate in the 2008-2010 Geriatrics Education for Specialty Residents (GSR) Program, a component of the AGS/Hartford Foundation funded Geriatrics-for-Specialists Initiative (GSI). The Co-PI is Elizabeth Glazier, Department of Medicine.

The GSR program, which has been supported by the John A. Hartford Foundation since 2001, supports collaborations between surgical and related medical specialty faculty and geriatrics faculty at medical schools and hospitals in ten targeted specialties. Working as a team, the faculty members develop, initiate, and evaluate model initiatives that integrate geriatrics into surgical and related specialty residency training. Each two-year GSR grant of $40,000 supports curricular innovations at each team's home institution. GSR-DG grants range up to $25,000 each.

"As the Institute of Medicine’s recent landmark report warns, we must take immediate steps to train healthcare providers to meet the unique healthcare needs of our rapidly growing population of older adults. Programs such as the GSR and GSR-DG are essential to ensuring that surgical and other specialists are prepared to care for aging patients, who have very different medical needs than younger adults," said GSR Project Director Ronnie Ann Rosenthal, Associate Professor of Surgery at Yale University. "We are extremely pleased to be able to award both 20 new GSR grants and the new GSR-DG grants this year."

The GSR is part of the AGS' larger Geriatrics-for-Specialists' Initiative (GSI), also funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation, which aims to help prepare surgeons and other medical specialists provide healthcare tailored to the unique needs of older adults. The AGS' Section for Surgical and Related Medical Specialties oversees the GSI, which targets ten specialties – anesthesiology, emergency medicine, general surgery, gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, thoracic surgery and urology.

Since the GSR was established in 2001, the initiative has supported 66 collaborations that have enhanced training for surgical and related specialty residents in medical schools and hospitals throughout the country. Many U.S. training programs, however, still lack curricula specific to the care of older patients. The goal of the GSR is to change this. The GSR does this in two ways. It fosters the development of geriatric education curricula for specialty trainees, thereby enabling these trainees to acquire the knowledge and skills to provide quality care for older patients. By focusing on these trainees, it also ensures that their knowledge is disseminated further when these individuals then teach colleagues, faculty and students in return.

The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is the leading clinical society devoted to the care of older adults. The AGS promotes high quality, comprehensive and accessible care for America’s older population, including those who are chronically ill and disabled. The organization provides leadership to health care professionals, policy makers and the public by developing, implementing and advocating programs in patient care, research, professional and public education and public policy.

The John A. Hartford Foundation is a private philanthropy established in 1929 by John A. Hartford. Mr. Hartford and his brother, George L. Hartford, both former chief executives of The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, left the bulk of their estates to the Foundation upon their deaths in the 1950s. Since 1979, the Foundation has focused its support on improving the organization and financing of health care and assisting the health care system to accommodate the nation's aging population.