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Expert on disability in elderly elected to venerable medical society

Medicine@Yale, 2010 - July Aug


Thomas M. Gill, M.D., an authority on the epidemiology and prevention of disability among older persons, has been elected to the Association of American Physicians (AAP).

The Humana Professor of Geriatric Medicine and professor of medicine and epidemiology, Gill seeks to understand the mechanisms underlying physical decline in community-living older people and to develop means of preventing such decline. Since 1997, Gill has been principal investigator on the Precipitating Events Project (PEP), which has revolutionized our understanding of disability in older persons. Through monthly phone interviews and regular home visits, PEP researchers have learned that, contrary to a widely held belief that disability is irreversible, older people often recover quickly from disabling events. In 2006, the National Institute on Aging backed PEP with a $3.2 million MERIT award, allowing Gill to continue the 12-year study for several more years.

More recently, Gill, co-director of both the Yale Program on Aging and the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, has embarked on studies of the potential benefits of testosterone treatment in symptomatic older men and the effectiveness of exercise interventions in preventing disability, and has explored strategies to promote independent bathing in community-living older people.

Gill, also director of the Yale Center for Disability and Disabling Disorders, has received many accolades, including the Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars in Aging Research Award, and the Outstanding Scientific Achievement for Clinical Investigation Award from the American Geriatrics Society, and the Ewald W. Busse Research Award in the Biomedical Sciences.

After completing his M.D. at the University of Chicago in 1987, Gill came to Yale as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar for research training in clinical epidemiology. After a year as a geriatrics fellow, Gill joined the Yale faculty in 1994. Gill oversees the Yale Research Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology, and is director of the Pepper Center’s Research Career Development Core.

Founded in 1885 by seven physicians (including legendary physician Sir William Osler, M.D.) the AAP elects members who make “outstanding contributions to the advancement of science and medicine.”