Manish Shah honored with Academy of Geriatric Emergency Medicine Pioneer Award for major contributions to emergency care for older adults

Lifetime and career achievement awards carry the weight of decades of discoveries and service. They are commonly the most prestigious awards given by professional societies and organizations.

Dr. Manish Shah, Professor, Vice Chair of Research, and the John & Tashia Morgridge Chair of Emergency Medicine Research, as well as Co-Lead of the Care Research Core at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, was honored this month with the distinguished Pioneer Award from the Academy of Geriatric Emergency Medicine in recognition of his significant contributions to establishing and advancing the field of geriatric emergency medicine. The academy is part of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM).

Dr. Shah joins just a handful of accomplished physicians to be recognized as a Pioneer in the field of Geriatric Emergency Medicine. The award was conferred as the Academy of Geriatric Emergency Medicine celebrates ten years of service to improving the quality of emergency care received by older patients.

“How do we give better care to older adults, how do we research that, and how do we train people to do that better?” Dr. Shah asks. “Those are the questions I work to answer. When I finished my training in 2001, there was no focused interest within the emergency medicine community on this important topic, especially in the context of our country’s aging population.”

In response to that fundamental question, Dr. Shah has spent his career developing and testing novel models of community-based care to improve the health of acutely ill older adults. His work has enhanced acute illness care for older adults through telemedicine services in senior care facilities and identified and addressed older adults’ medical and psychosocial needs using community paramedicine. Lately, he has specifically been focusing his efforts to help persons living with dementia, for which he has two important grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“If we can just take care of people in their home, it’s the easiest possibility, it’s a comfortable environment, you don’t have to travel, and I think that for folks with dementia that can be a complete game changer than the environment that we put them in in the hospital.”

High-quality mentorship is critical to expanding the pool of researchers studying geriatric emergency medicine topics. Dr. Shah is a sought-after mentor for developing and supporting junior researchers. Through his dedicated efforts, he has built a pipeline of geriatric emergency medicine researchers here at UW and nationally.

Dr. Shah joined the BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency Medicine in 2015 to help establish a research enterprise in the department. Since, Dr. Shah has helped catapult the department’s research portfolio from a program with no direct federal funding to what it is today: a growing research enterprise with robust internal infrastructure that is competitive nationally for NIH funding support.

Congratulations, Dr. Shah!