Thomas M. Gill, MD
Humana Foundation Professor of Medicine (Geriatrics) and Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) and of Investigative Medicine; Director, Yale Program on Aging; Director, Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center; Director, Yale Center for Disability and Disabling Disorders; Director, Yale Training Program in Geriatric Clinical Epidemiology and Aging-Related Research
As increasingly more people live active lives well into their seventies, eighties, and beyond, geriatric physicians are charged with helping their elderly patients live not only longer, but healthier lives. In his research and clinical practice, Thomas Gill, MD, Director of the Yale Program on Aging, addresses this challenge by drawing upon the wealth of knowledge from his clinical practice to inform his research.
Dr. Gill’s research focuses on the mechanisms of the aging process and the impact of the inevitable decline in function - and the increase in disability - in older patients. His ongoing study, the Yale Precipitating Events Project, which began in 1998, has been closely monitoring a large cohort of elderly patients over more than 20 years, and has shed new light on the resiliency of older people to recover from debilitating events that can frequently occur during daily life. The study has changed how both family and professional caregivers view disability in the elderly, and how to manage it. An earlier clinical trial led by Dr. Gill showed that home-based physical therapy, or “prehabilitation,” is an effective strategy for preventing injury and stopping the effects of decline before they start. Dr. Gill is currently leading a large multi-site clinical trial that is evaluating the effectiveness of an evidence-based intervention to reduce the risk of serious fall injuries among vulnerable older persons.
As a clinician, Dr. Gill, who began his career at Yale as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar in 1991, sees the results of his research play out in the lives of the patients he treats, and finds new questions to ask as well. To him, research and clinical training go hand in hand. He encourages his clinically trained mentees to “take advantage of their clinical knowledge and experience when framing their research questions and hypotheses,” in order to distinguish themselves in their chosen fields.