April 12, 2004

JERRY H. GURWITZ, MD, APPOINTED CHIEF OF THE DIVISION OF GERIATRICS AT UMASS MEDICAL SCHOOL

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Jerry H. Gurwitz, MD, a nationally recognized geriatrician and professor of medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), has been named chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine within the UMMS Department of Medicine.  In this role, Dr. Gurwitz will work to enhance the Medical School’s capacity in aging research, and promote the development of clinical and educational initiatives in geriatric medicine.   

According to Gurwitz, “Every day 6,000 Americans turn age 65.  Ten years from now that number will increase to 10,000 per day.  The ‘senior boom’ is coming and in Massachusetts, we will be among the first to experience its effects.  Our students and residents must be adequately prepared to care for this growing patient population.”

Since 1996, Gurwitz and colleagues have conducted research studies to improve the safety of medication use in older patients in the ambulatory and nursing home settings.   These studies have demonstrated an urgent need to develop new systems of care for the elderly to reduce medication errors that lead to preventable drug-related injuries. 

Gurwitz will continue to serve as executive director of the Meyers Primary Care Institute, a collaborative endeavor established in 1993 by UMMS and the Fallon Foundation to promote primary care practice through the development and implementation of innovative programs in education, research and clinical practice.

Gurwitz received his medical degree from UMMS in 1983 and completed his residency here in 1986. Following a fellowship in geriatric medicine at Harvard Medical School, Gurwitz joined the faculty of the Harvard Division on Aging in 1988, prior to his appointment at UMMS.  He has held the Dr. John Meyers Professorship in Primary Care Medicine, since its establishment at the Medical School in   1997.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School ( www.umassmed.edu ) is one of the fastest growing medical schools in the country, attracting more than $154 million in research funding annually.   A perennial top finisher in the annual US News & World Report ranking of primary care medical schools, UMMS comprises a medical school, graduate school of nursing, graduate school of biomedical sciences and an active research enterprise, and is a leader in health sciences education, research and public service.  UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care system in the Central Massachusetts. 

Contact: Alison Duffy, Office of Public Affairs alison.duffy@umassmed.edu