Congratulations to AAGP's 2014 Award Winners!

Published Thursday, April 3, 2014

AAGP’s 2014 award winners were announced March 14 during the Opening Plenary and Awards Session in Orlando, Florida, during the AAGP 2014 Annual Meeting. Then AAGP President David Steffens, MD, presented each award.

Allan A. Anderson, MD
AAGP’s 2014 Clinician of the Year

clientuploads/Anderson & Steffens web.JPGAAGP’s 2014 Clinician of the Year is Dr. Allan Anderson. In Easton, Maryland, Dr. Anderson is the Vice President of dementia care practice with the Episcopal Ministries to the Aging, and Medical Director at the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Memory Clinic. He is a dedicated and distinguished clinician who shows great compassion for his patients and their families. As a clinician, he advocates for older adults and the field of geriatric psychiatry on the national and local levels.

Within AAGP, Dr. Anderson has served in a variety of ways, as a member of the AAGP board of directors, secretary/treasurer and president. He has chaired the AAGP Communications and Marketing Committee and the Public Policy and Communications Committee, and served as medical editor for AAGP’s newsletter.

In his advocacy work, Dr. Anderson knows the power of collaboration. He is responsible for establishing AAGP’s current relationship with the American Medical Association, and the association’s acceptance into AMA’s specialty society organization, now serving as AAGP’s representative to that group. Within the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Anderson serves on the Committee on RBRVS, Codes and Reimbursement, and has served on the Council on Aging. On the local level, Dr. Anderson has chaired the Geriatric Psychiatry Committee for the Maryland Psychiatric Society, and served as president of the Easter Shore Psychiatric Association. Dr. Anderson’s advocacy with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services paved the way for a geriatric psychiatry identifier.  

Dr. Anderson shares his knowledge and passion for the field by mentoring junior members within the association, presenting sessions nationally and locally, and through his faculty position at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

A colleague recently described Dr. Anderson as having “the consummate voice of reason and pragmatism, coupled with a sense of vision for our patients, our organization, and the larger field of geriatric psychiatry.”

Daniel D. Sewell, MD
AAGP’s 2014 Educator of the Year

sewellThis year’s AAGP Educator of the Year is Dr. Daniel Sewell. Over the past decade, in his roles as Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Director at the University of California, San Diego and the Medical Director of UCSD Senior Behavioral Health Services, Dr. Sewell has played a key role in developing a pipeline of clinicians, researchers and educators. He has mentored and trained an entire generation of geriatric psychiatry fellows, psychiatry residents, and medical students. As chair of the AAGP Education Committee, chair of the AAGP 2013 Annual Meeting Program Committee, Editor of the Geriatric Psychiatry Self-Assessment Program, and faculty member of the AAGP Board Review course, Dr. Sewell has developed training curricula, programs, and materials that have impacted geriatric psychiatry education on a broad level.

His trainees and colleagues see him as an inspiring role model, embodying excellence in teaching, student and faculty training, curriculum development, and mentoring. An innovative educator, Dr. Sewell’s training of fellows includes visits to the geriatric ‘units’ in the San Diego correctional system,  and  site-visits to various aging-care facilities across San Diego county, which enable trainees to get a direct appreciation for levels of senior care. He gives freely of his time to trainees, patients, and colleagues.

Those who have been trained by Dr. Sewell say this training includes professional skills that residency training does not always teach: the economics and business of medicine, the subtleties of clinical documentation, the art of job-negotiation, and the importance of participating in the legislative process as care providers for older adults. Always the educator, Dr. Sewell listens, provides feedback, and sees every opportunity as a teachable moment.

Kristine Yaffe, MD
AAGP’s 2014 Distinguished Scientist

clientuploads/Yaffe and Steffens web.JPGThe AAGP 2014 Distinguished Scientist Award was presented to Kristine Yaffe, MD, for her original scientific contributions to the field of geriatric psychiatry and for dedicated mentorship of the careers of successful contributing junior researchers. Dr. Yaffe is an internationally recognized expert in the epidemiology of dementia and cognitive function. She is the Roy and Marie Scola Endowed Chair in Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, as well as a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Epidemiology. She is also Vice Chair of Clinical and Translational Research in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Co-Director of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center.

Dr. Yaffe is engaged in a variety of research projects, and is currently listed on 18 grants focused on geriatric psychiatry, as the principal investigator, Co-PI, or director on most. She is funded by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Mental Health, the VA, the Alzheimer’s Association, and other agencies. In addition to her own research, she mentors other researchers in the field and is fully dedicated to ensuring the success of young investigators. She has formally mentored 60 researchers including 17 pre-doctoral students, 29 post-doctoral fellows, and 14 junior faculty in addition to informally mentoring numerous others. Her mentees have a strong reputation for novel and successful research, and several are already earning international recognition in geriatric psychiatry.

Dr. Yaffe has authored or co-authored nearly 300 peer-reviewed articles as well as numerous book chapters, editorials, letters, and a text book. With articles in JAMA, the New England Journal of
Medicine, the British Medical Journal, the Lancet, the Archives of General Psychiatry, and our own American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, her work in the field has been influential and broad. She has contributed major breakthroughs to the field in the area of sleep disorders and risk of dementia, the relationship of depression and dementia, the association between PTSD and dementia, and cardiovascular risk factors for dementia. Her work has brought to light the benefits of exercise on cognitive health. Her work is considered seminal, forward-thinking and cutting-edge and serves as a major stimulus for other investigators.

To quote a leading researcher in the field, “Dr. Yaffe’s work has challenged our existing paradigms of neuropsychiatric risk in older adults, and her discoveries have had a major impact on both scientific research and public health.”

Briana Mezuk, PhD
AAGP’s 2014 Barry Lebowitz Early Career Scientist Awardee

clientuploads/Mezuk and Steffens web.JPGBriana Mezuk, PhD, was presented the AAGP 2014 Barry Lebowitz Early Career Scientist Award, for her paper titled “Comorbidity between major depression and type 2 diabetes in mid-life:
Exploring causal effects using a twin design.”

Dr. Mezuk is an assistant professor with the Department of Epidemiology and Community Health at the
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Her work is focused on understanding the interrelationships between mental and physical health, and, as Dr. Mezuk explained it, this type of work stands at the intersection of multiple disciplines that each have their own language, assumptions, and methodologies. She told the AAGP Awards Committee that “communication across disciplines, while acknowledged as an important component of the scientific process, is fundamental to translating research into improvements in population health and clinical care across the lifespan.”

Dr. Mezuk earned her doctorate from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and a bachelor’s of science degree in neuroscience, and a bachelor’s degree in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh.