Hamilton Health Sciences
Research & Education


  St. Peter's/McMaster Chair in Aging 

Year of Report: 2012-2013



Dr. Sharon Marr      

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine

Faculty of Health Sciences






Established in 2001 via a generous gift from the St. Peter's Hospital Foundation, the goal of the St. Peter's/McMaster Chair in Aging is to take a leadership role in the area of aging and geriatric medicine, whether through clinical work, education or research.


The Chair has been very grateful for the generous support, mentorship, leadership, and vision of the following organizations and individuals: St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation/Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS); Ms. Rebecca Repa, President of St. Peter’s Hospital HHS and Vice President of Planning, Redevelopment and Diagnostic Services, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton; Dr. John Kelton Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences McMaster University; Dr. Paul O’Byrne Moran Campbell Chair in Respiratory Medicine and Chair Department of Medicine, McMaster University; Division of Geriatric Medicine & Geriatric Psychiatry, McMaster University; and Regional Geriatric Program Central.


The Chair has continued to have a strong and passionate interest in promoting and supporting innovative and sustainable educational, research, and clinical programs that have enhanced the provision of health care and promoted the independence and quality of life for our growing aging population.  Her focus and desire has been the development of evidence based inter-professional and geriatric-based capacity building programs to improve seniors’ care within our health care system. The Chair’s goal continues to be the reduction in the ongoing gap between evidence based practices and current care for our frail senior population within the community and acute cares settings.


With less than 110 full time (FT) geriatric trained physicians (i.e. geriatric medicine and care of the elderly) in Ontario and less than 300 FT geriatric trained physicians across Canada (Hogan et al, 2012), it is critical that interdisciplinary health care teams caring for frail older seniors have the essential skills, knowledge, and training in geriatrics. In addition, members of our community, a valuable human resource, will need to be educated and trained in seniors’ care.  With the growing demand for geriatric services within our LHIN and neighbouring communities across Canada, the Chair and other key stakeholders are aware of the growing need to provide comprehensive and effective educational programs throughout our academic health care centres and health care system.  By reducing this gap between the best evidence available and quality care deserving of our frail and very old senior population, the current practice guidelines and performance measures will be better suited for our very old and frail seniors.  The key to sustainability is capacity building and collaboration amongst health care providers and educators to develop and evaluate novel approaches to education and patient care through collaboration, integration, and inter-professional partnerships.

Accomplishments, Activities and Impact – Current Year

In collaboration with Dr. Papaioannou, lead geriatrician and recently appointed Scientific Director at St. Peter’s Hospital/HHS and Ms. Rebecca Repa, President of St. Peter’s Hospital/HHS, the Chair has contributed and helped to support the development of the “Geriatric Education and Research Academic Sciences (GERAS) Centre” strategy.   This strategy will bring together geriatric clinical experts, researchers and educators to advance geriatric research and inter-professional education, which will ultimately improve the quality of life of our frail seniors with complex, multiple chronic diseases.  The launch of GERAS is scheduled for the fall of 2013.

Support from the Chair for the highly successful inter-professional educational program, Update in Geriatrics: 3rd Annual Education Day and Life Long Achievement Award” has continued.  This year’s theme was “Tipping Points:  Landmark Advances and Cautionary Tales.”  We were honoured and privileged to have Dr. Sharon Inouye, geriatrician Harvard Medical School and founder of the internationally known Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP – delirium prevention strategy) as our keynote speaker. The 2012 “Life Long Achievement Award” established by the Chair in 2011 was presented to Dr. David Sackett, Professor Emeritus, Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, for his pioneer work on Evidence-Based Medicine and his leadership, mentorship, integrity, inspirational accomplishments and commitment to building caring communities (see photo below).

With the Regional Geriatric Program central, the Chair has established funding opportunities such as geriatric bursaries for health care providers and medical residents with an interest in geriatrics to attend geriatric focused educational courses.  Also, in recognition of Dr. Christopher Patterson’s clinical and research accomplishments in the area of aging, primary care diagnosis and management of dementia patients an inaugural “Dr. Christopher Patterson Internal Medicine Resident Research Grant in Seniors’ Care” has been established this year.  This grant will support and foster interest and enhance the care of frail seniors and promote the development of clinical and research expertise and leadership within the field of geriatrics in postgraduate trainees in the core Internal Medicine Program at McMaster University. 

The consortium of expert geriatric health care educators and providers including the RGPc, and Division of Geriatric Medicine has launched the Geriatric Certificate Program (GCP) with the support of the Chair.  The GCP consortium has successfully developed an integrated and inter-professional educational certificate program that provides health care staff and learners with the core geriatric competencies to care for our frail seniors and to equip clinicians with new evidence based approaches. With over 80 clinicians registered for GCP, it is anticipated that up to 15 clinician/students will graduate this upcoming year.  The GCP consortium is committed to excellence and the highest quality of educational programming and will continue to disseminate and evaluate its program.

Dr. George Ioannidis, a member of Dr. Alexandra Papaioannou’s research team, continues to receive ongoing support from the Chair, and he was awarded an industry funded grant to implement guidelines for osteoporosis in Ontario Long Term Care Homes. His successful partnerships with other researchers and clinicians in the field of geriatrics, rehabilitation, rheumatology and other specialties have focused on improving care for frail seniors and knowledge translation interventions for optimal care.  

The Chair with Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton have successfully completed the Mobilization of Vulnerable Elders in Ontario (MOVE ON) Adopting Research to Improve Care (ARTIC) research project funded by the Council of Academic Hospitals (CAHO). Other research projects to improve care, self-management, social interactions and health behaviours for our seniors within the community and acute care hospitals are also being supported by the Chair.

Objectives for Next Year

The goal of St. Peter’s/McMaster Chair of Aging will be to expand and disseminate key capacity building programs to a broader spectrum of health care providers, seniors, and community at large.  With key stakeholders the Chair will continue to promote and develop evidence based, accessible, equitable and novel educational programs that improve functional independence, social isolation, and quality of life of our seniors.

Dr. Sharon Marr, Chair in Aging, Chair, Regional Geriatric Program Central

Mr. David Jewell, Director, Regional Geriatric Program Central

Ms. Anisha Chohan, Education Coordinator, Regional Geriatric Program Central




Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

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