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March 17, 2005

Medical School awarded geriatric psychiatry grant

The Department of Psychiatry in Pitt’s medical school has been awarded a newly created Center of Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation, one of the nation’s most prominent supporters of geriatric research.

The center in geriatric psychiatry is the second Hartford Foundation Center of Excellence designated at Pitt; in 2001, the University received an initial Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine, recently renewed, making Pitt the only academic medical center in the nation to have two Hartford Foundation centers of excellence.

The Center of Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry was established to address a critical need. Without a sustained influx of new geriatric psychiatrists into the health care system, mentally ill elderly patients will outnumber geriatric psychiatrists by a whopping 6,000:1 ratio in just 25 years, according the Hartford Foundation.

The Center of Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry, directed by Charles F. Reynolds III, Pitt professor of psychiatry, neurology and neuroscience, will increase the University’s role in training both new researchers in the field and more experts to educate primary care physicians.

The center will enable the Department of Psychiatry to augment a training program that already has produced nearly 20 percent of the academic geriatric psychiatrists now working in the United States. Through the Hartford center of excellence, the psychiatry department and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic will train future geriatric psychiatrists to specialize in one of two areas: research or physician education.

The Center of Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry will be funded for an initial period of three years for a total amount of $450,000.

Founded in 1929, the John A. Hartford Foundation is a committed champion of training, research and service system innovations that promote the health and independence of America’s older adults.

Through its grant-making, the foundation seeks to strengthen the nation’s capacity to provide effective, affordable care to the increasingly older population by educating “aging-prepared” health professionals and developing innovations that improve and better integrate health and supportive services.

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