New York (May 1, 2019)—Sunny Linnebur, PharmD, BCGP, BCPS, the new president and second pharmacist to lead the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) since its founding, is no stranger to questions about a “magic pill” for aging.
“The ‘prescription’ we all need is broader but also much simpler than any one pill,” Dr. Linnebur explains. “It’s about prescribing a better approach to care for our health system. That approach is powered by collaboration, driven by how health changes with age, and focused on prioritizing what health means to us individually.”
That prescription “takes a village,” Dr. Linnebur is quick to note. It also takes cutting-edge research, innovative public and professional education, and better public policy. The latest updates across all these frontiers will be on display at the AGS 2019 Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS19; May 2-4 in Portland, Ore.), where Dr. Linnebur and more than 2,500 of her colleagues will cast their widest net yet for social and scientific breakthroughs shaping better care for us all. Among this year’s highlights are marquee presentations by:
- Laura Mosqueda, MD, AGSF, Dean of the Keck School of Medicine at USC, on ending physical, emotional, and financial mistreatment of older people;
- Amy Kind, MD, PhD, one of few physicians in the country with doctoral training in population health, on social determinants of well-being for older individuals; and
- Members of the AGS Public Policy Committee and Women in Geriatrics Section, who are developing an AGS position paper to address gender inequity and discrimination impacting health professions.
The pursuit of high-quality, person-centered care marks the impetus for these updates but linking them all is an even broader thread of inter-professional leadership typified by experts like Dr. Linnebur.
A professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of Colorado (CU) Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Dr. Linnebur represents an early trend that has set geriatrics apart: a willingness to breakdown professional silos to foster collaboration. Dr. Linnebur’s work with the CU Hospital Seniors Clinic, which specializes in care for people 75-years-old and older, offers a compelling case in point.
In a state where the shortage of geriatrics health professionals is still pronounced, the CU Hospital Seniors Clinic offers older adults in metropolitan Denver the unique opportunity to receive all primary care services from a diverse team of professionals attuned to how care differs for older individuals. With more than 90 percent of older people using at least one prescription and more than 66 percent using three or more in any given month, pharmacy services have played an increasingly prominent role in the clinic’s successes.
“We support everything, from day-to-day medication management to balancing treatment options to help older patients transition out of the hospital as quickly and safely as possible,” Dr. Linnebur explains. “That’s possible because of what makes our work so unique: collaboration. We’re partnering in real-time with peer professionals and our older patients to approach care as more than the total of someone’s health conditions.”
That willingness to work collaboratively reflects not only Dr. Linnebur’s education but also her work to study promising approaches to care and train future colleagues across all professions. After earning her doctoral degree from the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy in 1999, for example, Dr. Linnebur became a certified geriatric pharmacist. Today, she focuses much of her research on resolving drug-related problems for common concerns like dementia and high blood pressure, and also serves as a faculty member and mentor for students in pharmacy, medicine, and dentistry.
“What Dr. Linnebur brings to the AGS as a leader is what’s long set her apart for students, patients, and colleagues: A commitment to health, safety, and independence that can’t be bound by a particular profession,” said Laurie G. Jacobs, MD, AGSF, outgoing President of the AGS. “Geriatrics is a team sport—and we’re tremendously fortunate to have such a team-player at the helm.”
As outgoing AGS president, Dr. Jacobs becomes Chair of the AGS Board of Directors when Dr. Linnebur assumes her new post. In addition to a year-long tenure as AGS President—during which the Society celebrated renewed federal support for geriatrics training and the release of the latest AGS Beers Criteria® for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults—Dr. Jacobs brings to the AGS Board decades of experience as a clinician, educator, and advocate. The slate of Board Officers who will join Dr. Jacobs on the AGS Executive Committee include Peter Hollmann, MD, AGSF, as Board Treasurer; G. Michael Harper, MD, AGSF, as Board Secretary; and Annie M. Medina-Walpole, MD, AGSF, as AGS President-Elect.
These leadership transitions take place at the convocation of #AGS19, a premier event on geriatrics clinical practice, public policy, education, and research. For more information, visit Meeting.AmericanGeriatrics.org.
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 AmericanGeriatrics.org.
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. More than 2,500 nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers, long-term care and managed care providers, healthcare administrators, and others will convene May 2-4, 2019 (pre-conference program on May 1), at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Ore., to advance geriatrics knowledge and skills through state-of-the-art educational sessions and research presentations. For more information, visit Meeting.AmericanGeriatrics.org.