AGS Honors Dr. John B. Murphy of R.I. for Pioneering Work to Build a Better Health Workforce for Us All as We Age

  • .@AmerGeriatrics honors Dr. John B. Murphy of @BrownMedicine for pioneering work to build a better health workforce for us all as we age #AGS20 #AGS21 #geriatrics #aging

New York (May 8, 2020)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today announced that John B. Murphy, MD, a clinician, educator, and administrator working to embed geriatrics education in the fabric of medical curricula and clinical operations will be honored with the 2020 Dennis W. Jahnigen Award celebrating work to train health professionals in the care we all need as we age. President of Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital, executive vice president of physician affairs at Lifespan and a professor of medicine and family medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, both in Rhode Island, Dr. Murphy has dedicated nearly four decades to advancing geriatrics and gerontology, helping lead innovation vital to New England and beyond. Following the cancellation of the AGS 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Murphy will receive his award at the AGS 2021 Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS21) in Chicago, Ill. (May 12-15).

“We know the cornerstones of better care for us all as we age: Improved clinical practice, and better education to make that care possible,” notes Sunny Linnebur, PharmD, FCCP, FASCP, BCPS, BCGP, AGS board chair. “Dr. Murphy is a force to be reckoned with on both fronts: Improving care quality for older adults while also using those improvements to model the way for a geriatrics workforce whose expertise is needed now more than ever.”

In his work across physician affairs, medical education, and clinical practice, Dr. Murphy has been an invaluable connector between health professionals, their instructors, and the older people who benefit from their expertise. Dr. Murphy not only helped launch Lifespan’s innovating Palliative Care Consultation Program, which seeks to connect those with advanced or serious chronic illnesses to services that can address discomfort as well as physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, but also facilitated the launch of a novel program for helping geriatrics experts and orthopedic surgeons co-manage care for older people hospitalized with hip fractures.  The latter program reduced mortality, re-hospitalization, and the risk for complications, and also served as a model for the launch of AGS CoCare: Ortho™—a new AGS offering that has expanded the scope of co-management opportunities to health systems across the U.S.  Early experiences in Rhode Island offered a road map to meet a key need in geriatrics: Training the whole of our health system, not just geriatrics specialists, to understand our unique health priorities as we age.

In his current roles at Lifespan and Brown, Dr. Murphy directs everything from leading Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital (a 719-person tertiary care hospital and the principal teaching hospital of Alpert Medical School) to overseeing graduate medical education, quality, and safety across multiple system-wide clinical service lines (including those for cancer, cardiovascular concerns, and diagnostic imaging). He also is responsible for system-wide pharmacy, laboratory, and supply chain purchasing, as well as Lifespan research, all with an operating budget of $2.2 billion and a research portfolio valued at $95 million. From 2004 to 2008, Dr. Murphy served as the director of graduate medical education and designated institutional official for Lifespan, which serves 650 residents and fellows. Dr. Murphy honed much of the expertise he brings to this work over a 40-year career as an educator at Brown, where he began work as a family medicine resident in 1980.  Dr. Murphy went on to serve Brown in a variety of roles, including the director of the division of geriatrics from 1986 to 2003 and director of education from 2000 to 2003. His efforts included initiatives to enhance geriatric education for primary care providers in China (Shanghai and Beijing) and Jordan.

An AGS member since 1984, Dr. Murphy served on the AGS Board of Directors from 2003 to 2010, including stints as AGS president from 2008 to 2009 and board chair from 2009 to 2010. He served as an author or on the editorial board of the AGS’s Geriatrics Review Syllabus from its second to sixth edition. He earned his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in 1980, later pursuing board certification in family medicine and geriatrics.

The late Dennis W. Jahnigen, MD, was a compassionate geriatrician and acclaimed educator who dedicated his life to training future leaders. Today, his namesake award recognizes an AGS member, like Dr. Murphy, committed to working with students and advancing geriatrics education in schools of health and medicine. It is one of several honors conferred by the AGS at its Annual Scientific Meeting—which will next take place in 2021 (Chicago, Ill.; May 13-15, pre-conference day May 12). For more information, visit

About the American Geriatrics Society

Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has—for more than 75 years—worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit

About the Dennis W. Jahnigen Award

The late Dennis W. Jahnigen, MD, was a compassionate geriatrician and acclaimed educator who dedicated his life to training future leaders. Today, his namesake award recognizes an AGS member committed to working with students and advancing geriatrics education in schools of health and medicine.

About the AGS Annual Scientific Meeting

The AGS Annual Scientific Meeting is the premier educational event in geriatrics, providing the latest information on clinical care, research on aging, and innovative models of care delivery. Following the cancellation of the 2020 gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 3,000 nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers, long-term care and managed care providers, healthcare administrators, and others will convene next year from May 13-15 (pre-conference program on May 12), in Chicago, Ill., to advance geriatrics knowledge and skills through state-of-the-art educational sessions and research presentations. For more information, visit

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