Print this page

Division of Geriatrics

In concert with Saint Louis University's aging initiative, geriatrics and gerontology became a growing emphasis of the Department of Internal Medicine. In 1988, the Division of Geriatric Medicine was created as the central element of internal medicine activities in aging. Generous laboratory and office space was created at both Saint Louis University and the St. Louis Veteran's Administration Medical Center.

Dr. John E. Morley, known internationally as a gerontological researcher, clinician, and educator, became the Director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and the Dammert Professor of Gerontology. In addition to extensive personal scientific achievements, Dr. Morley has directed the clinical training programs in both endocrinology and geriatrics and supervised research activities ranging from basic biomedical investigation to epidemiology and health services research. He is the editor of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, and recipient of the Ipsen Foundation of Longevity Award in 2001, the American Geriatrics Society's Lascher/Manning Award for Lifetime Achievement in Geriatrics in 2002, and the Gerontological Society of America's Freeman Award in 2004. He has developed a number of educational games and has a special interest in continuous quality improvement (CQI).

The Division offers a variety of clinical services, which depend upon interdisciplinary teams including physicians, nurses, and social workers. An inpatient geriatric consultation service provides advice and service for elderly inpatients. Geriatric medicine faculty staff an internal medicine ward team nine months of the year, focusing on the care of acutely ill elderly. Outpatient services include clinics in geriatric assessment, continuity, diabetes, sexual dysfunction, incontinence, and nutrition, among others. A special clinic exists for developmentally disabled elders. A home visit program exists to provide both care for the chronically ill as well as screening for healthy elders.

Saint Louis University has a new facility (since 1994) to house its own academic subacute nursing home, staffed by members of the geriatric division. All health science students, including health care administration students, receive training in this facility. Continuing education for physicians, nurses, and other health professionals is provided on a regular basis. A mini-fellowship program for physicians and other health professionals who desire an upgrade of their clinical geriatric skills has been designed. Saint Louis University internal medicine residents receive a four-week mandatory training period in geriatric medicine. A new initiative, a geriatric leadership academy, provides training in geriatric syndromes, research, education, clinical care, business, and leadership. Most attendees of this four-week program are assistant professors in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, public health, social work, or allied health.

In summary, the integrated set of programs in the Division of Geriatric Medicine provides a rich environment in which to offer gerontological and geriatric education to geriatricians involved in dissemination of state-of-the-art elder care throughout the region. The wide range of service programs supply numerous sites for training experiences, and the cadre of health professionals offer a wide range of expertise and experience in educational programs to accomplish goals of this grant. Saint Louis University Hospital has been listed as one of the top 10 geriatric programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report since 1998, and we have consistently ranked in the top 20 in the US News and World Report for university-associated Geriatric programs.

The Division has also developed a geriatric clinic for inner-city minority older persons in collaboration with the Community Health in Partnership group. The Division has developed a walk-in clinic administered by medical students for minority elderly in Hamilton Heights. This program has been expanded to include a home visit program for very frail shut-ins.