Public Release: 

A lecture 75 years in the making celebrates story of care for older adults

American Geriatrics Society

As the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today celebrates its 75 year history improving care for older adults, Past AGS President and veteran geriatrics researcher James T. Pacala, MD, MS, AGSF, will highlight where geriatrics has been and where it has yet to go in a special 75th Anniversary Lecture at the AGS 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting, taking place this week in San Antonio, Texas. Delivered from 11am to 12pm CT at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, Dr. Pacala's presentation will address past advances in the care of older adults that have contributed significantly to our increased longevity as a nation.

Professor and Associated Head, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Pacala has performed research and published extensively on models of care for older adults and on innovative teaching methods for training future healthcare professionals. Dr. Pacala is a Past President and Board Chair of the AGS, and has co-authored several of the Society's most influential texts--most notably early editions of its annual reference handbook, Geriatrics At Your Fingertips. What brings Dr. Pacala to the #AGS17 podium today, however, is his prowess as an AGS and geriatrics historian.

"For an organization so attuned to what can be accomplished with time, the AGS is honored that a leader like Dr. Pacala will add perspective to our anniversary," noted AGS Chief Executive Officer Nancy Lundebjerg, MPA. "Dr. Pacala has seen and led the transformation of geriatrics education and geriatrics research for several decades now--a fitting example of a leading putting our legacy into practice."

"I plan to tell the story of the AGS's past and present. In doing so, I also hope to point toward the future of geriatrics--which will be essential to us all as we age," said Dr. Pacala.

Established in 1942 at the height of the Second World War, the AGS began as a small group of physicians interested in a field that had only recently been defined. Indeed, the first academic textbook on geriatrics was less than three decades old at the AGS's inauguration. But in the decades since, the organization has grown and evolved exponentially--both in size and scope.

The organization's first foray beyond clinical care focused on research, exemplified in the 1950s with the first edition of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society--today one of health care's most influential research periodicals. Geriatrics research burgeoned through the 1980s, with the AGS's journal alone boasting more than 16,000 research articles today.

Concurrently, the AGS met decades of change like the 1960s and 1970s with the launch of specialty training programs, a commitment to seminal public policies like Medicare and Medicaid, and an ever-expanding recognition of the interprofessional nature of geriatrics as a discipline now led not only by physicians but also by nurses, social workers, physician assistants, pharmacists, and many others.

By the new millennium, the AGS diversified its approach to leading clinical care, academic research, public policy, and public and professional education. Today, the AGS boasts nearly 6,000 members in all 50 states and on six of the seven continents. The depth of that community--and its breadth across all facets of healthcare as more and more of the global population lives beyond age 65--will be on full display in Dr. Pacala's lecture.


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 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 .

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 18-20, 2017 (pre-conference program on May 17), at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, to advance geriatrics knowledge and skills through state-of-the-art educational sessions and research presentations. For more information, visit

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