Mary E. Tinetti, M.D., the new Gladys Phillips Crofoot Professor of Medicine, has devoted her career to the health of the elderly and has a special interest in interventions that can help prevent older people from falling.

Tinetti is chief of geriatrics at the School of Medicine and director of the Program on Aging and the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. Her studies show that, for many older people, injuries from falls often result in a loss of both mobility and independence and can be the beginning of a series of health problems that eventually lead to death.

Tinetti has earned national prominence for her work on fall-reduction strategies and her studies showing that physical exercise that improves balance and builds lower-body strength, such as dancing and tai chi, has a major impact on reducing falls.

In recent research with Yale colleagues, Tinetti found that the problem of dizziness in elderly people is more often a result of multiple problems—described as a “geriatric syndrome”—than a symptom of a particular illness.

Tinetti has written or co-authored nearly a hundred articles on health issues affecting the elderly, including alcohol consumption, home vs. hospital care for chronic illness, the care of persons with dementia, and older drivers at risk.