Congratulations, Award Winners!

Published Thursday, April 4, 2013

During AAGP’s 2013 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, at the March 14 Opening Plenary, the association honored several members for their achievements. Congratulations to this year’s award winners!

Martha Bruce, PhD, AAGP Distinguished Scientist

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Then AAGP President Paul Kirwin and Martha Bruce

This award is presented to an AAGP member for original scientific contributions to the field of geriatric psychiatry and for dedicated mentorship of the careers of successful contributing junior researchers. Dr. Bruce is a professor of sociology in psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and associate vice-chair for research in the Department of Psychiatry. She is co-director for the Weill Cornell Advanced Research Center in Geriatric Mental Health and the Cornell representative to the Governing Council of the National Network of Depression Centers.

Dr. Bruce has made substantial contributions to the understanding of depression in home-bound elderly and how to optimize treatment delivery to alleviate suffering among older depressed patients. She conducts community-based services research that promotes the mental health of older adults. Her research focuses on reducing risk of depression, suicidality, and disability; increasing the ability of older adults to live independently; and improving their access to quality mental health care. Dr. Bruce was the lead author on the JAMA report of the Prevention of Suicide in Primary Care Elderly: Collaborative Trial. She has received NIMH funding to test the effectiveness of depression care management, with home health care nurses, in patients served by agencies located in five states. Other projects involve collaboration with community-based and public organizations to reduce suicidal risk factors and to improve depression detection and care for other hard-to-reach seniors.

Dr. Bruce is committed to mentoring and career development and has personally mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, medical students, residents, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty. As principal investigator of the Advanced Research Institute in Geriatric Psychiatry, she has helped dozens of junior faculty K award recipients make the transition to independent investigator.

Dr. Bruce is a longtime AAGP member, now serving on the board of directors, and a former chair of the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation.

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Then AAGP President Paul Kirwin and Adam Spira

Adam P. Spira, PhD, AAGP Barry Lebowitz Early Career Scientist

This award is presented for the best original research paper submitted by an early career scientist. Dr. Adam Spira received the award for his paper titled “Poor sleep and β-amyloid deposition in community-dwelling older adults.”

Dr. Spira is an assistant professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from West Virginia University, and completed his clinical internship with a geropsychology focus at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, where he subsequently conducted research on sleep and aging as a postdoctoral fellow. He then completed a fellowship in epidemiological aging research in the Division of Geriatrics and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Spira’s research is focused on cognitive, functional, and psychiatric outcomes of poor sleep in later life, and he is supported in part by a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Spira is a licensed psychologist in the State of Maryland.

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Then AAGP President Paul Kirwin and Genevieve Yuen

Genevieve Yuen, MD, PhD, AAGP Member-in-Training Research Award

Dr. Genevieve Yuen received this award for her paper titled “Neuroanatomical correlates of apathy in late-life depression and antidepressant treatment response,” the best original research paper submitted by a member-in-training.

Dr. Yuen is an assistant attending at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Cornell and a first year T32 postdoctoral research associate at the Weill Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry where she also completed clinical fellowship training in geriatric psychiatry. She received her B.S. in biology from Yale University, where she first became interested in neurobehavioral research. Following graduation, she entered the Tri-Institutional (Rockefeller, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Cornell University) MD-PhD training program. She received her Ph.D. in molecular neuroscience from Rockefeller University, studying the role of estrogen in the regulation of hippocampal synaptic plasticity in the aging female brain, and received her M.D. from Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Yuen completed residency at Cornell’s Payne Whitney Psychiatry program, where in her fourth year she served as chief resident. She is currently engaged in clinical research focused on the neuroanatomical substrates of apathy in late-life depression, a symptom that contributes to the relative treatment refractoriness of late life depression.

Dr. Yuen was a 2010 AAGP Geriatric Mental Health Foundation Honors Scholar and credits the excellent mentoring she received through the program for introducing her to the myriad clinical research opportunities in geriatric psychiatry.

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Rajesh Tampi

Rajesh R. Tampi, MD, AAGP Clinician of the Year

Dr. Tampi received the Clinician of the Year Award for his excellent patient- and family-centered care, his in-depth knowledge of current research, and his outstanding work as a teacher and mentor. Dr. Tampi is director of Masonicare Behavioral Health in Wallingford, Connecticut, and attending psychiatrist at the Dorothy Adler Geriatric Assessment Center. He is also an associate clinical professor of psychiatry with the Yale University School of Medicine, and has been an active member of AAGP since 2002.

Dr. Tampi has medical degrees from the Medical College Trivandrum at the University of Kerala in India, and the University of Leeds in England. He completed his psychiatry residency at the University of Vermont, where he was named Chief Resident, and his fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at Yale.

Dr. Tampi has devoted his career to the compassionate care of older adults and the education and mentorship of medical trainees. With his patients, he takes a thorough, holistic, and biopsychosocial approach. As a clinician, he seeks input from and communicates with families, and values the work of a multidisciplinary treatment team. He is always available for his patients, their families, and staff. He is dedicated to teaching and creating a positive and welcoming experience for students, and models excellent patient care. Dr. Tampi is an avid reader of medical literature and is known for his unique ability to distill lengthy research articles down to key teaching points. He shares his passion for the field by lecturing and publishing extensively. One colleague said Dr. Tampi was the epitome of excellence in clinical geriatric psychiatry, describing him as the clinician you want teaching trainees at the bedside and the kind of physician you want caring for your family members.

Greater Lynn (Massachusetts) Senior Services, Inc.’s Elder Mobile Mental Health Projects, GMHF/AAGP Deirdre Johnston Award for Excellence & Innovation in Geriatric Mental Health Outreach Services

Greater Lynn’s Elder Mobile Mental Health Project is a compassionate, pioneering effort aimed at delivering a range of critical mental health services to the most vulnerable elderly. The program is consumer-centered and flexible, and brings needed psycho-social services and supports to the individual and integrates them into the home environment. Concentrating on those seniors who “fly below the radar” relative to more mainstream mental health care providers, the program addresses issues like anxiety, depression, and adjustment to loss that often impact quality of life. The program is proud of its Relational Care approach, which allows clients to accept care if and when they have developed a trusting relationship with the outreach staff. The program also attributes its success to a team that includes social workers, nurse practitioners, case managers, and geriatric psychiatrists.