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Scholars fund: Join your colleagues to introduce trainees to geriatric psychiatry
AAGP
Fundraising has kicked off for the Scholars Fund of the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation. The fund supports the Scholars Program, which brings trainees to the AAGP Annual Meeting to introduce them to geriatric psychiatry through special sessions, fellows, training directors, and leaders in the field. The Fund is off to a good start with more than $10,000 raised for the 2015 program. Please join your colleagues in supporting this valuable program. Members can donate as individuals or pool their donations to support a Named Scholarship. For a donation of $2,500, an individual or group can name a scholarship and provide full benefits to one trainee.

Donations received by Sept. 30 will be used for the 2015 program. Please donate at www.AAGPonline.org/donateGMHF.
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AAGP member Gary Gottlieb named among 50 Most Influential Physicians
Gary Gottlieb, MD, an AAGP past president (1994-1995), was listed among this year's 50 most influential physicians executives by Modern Healthcare, a print and online news magazine. Modern Healthcare's annual ranking of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders honors physicians working in the healthcare industry who are deemed by their peers and an expert panel to be the most influential in terms of demonstrating leadership and impact. Gottlieb, the president and CEO of Partners HealthCare in Boston, has made the list in all 10 years of its existence.
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AAGP's membership survey: Responses due June 26
The AAGP MIT Caucus and Early Career Geropsychiatrists have created a short survey to learn more about the current field of late-life mental health care. The information gathered from the AAGP membership will be used to create informational brochures and short videos to recruit trainees into the field. Please take 5-10 minutes to complete the survey. Your responses will be anonymous. Thank you for helping with this important project.

Please complete the survey by June 26: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/67W678S.



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AAGP call for candidates for MIT Member of Board of Directors: Applications due July 15
The AAGP Member-in-Training (MIT) Nominations Committee is seeking qualified candidates to run for the MIT Board Member position for 2014/2015. All current Members-in-Training of AAGP are eligible to run. (A member-in-training is defined as a physician who is enrolled in an accredited residency in psychiatry or is enrolled in a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry that is affiliated with an accredited residency program). Members interested in being considered for this position are encouraged to submit a completed application to the MIT Nominations Committee. Learn more: www.AAGPonline.org/MITcall.
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Sylvia Burwell confirmed as HHS Secretary
On June 5, by a vote of 78 to 17, the Senate confirmed Sylvia Burwell as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), making her the new steward of the Affordable Health Care Act. More than 20 Republicans joined Democrats in approving Burwell's nomination to replace Kathleen Sebelius, who stepped down from her post in April after five years of service. Previously, Burwell had served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Members on both sides of the aisle praised Burwell's budget expertise as well as her management and communications skills.

Despite a strong finish to open enrollment this year, HealthCare.gov, the website for President Barack Obama's health care law, is still dealing with unresolved issues ranging from possibly inaccurate insurance statements to e-commerce basics. The White House wants to avoid more attention-grabbing problems when the next sign-up season for "ObamaCare" begins on Nov. 15. Democrats are hopeful that Burwell's confirmation might usher in a fresh start for ObamaCare, five months before the November mid-term congressional elections, after the initial rollout damaged public opinion regarding the law and what it means to the future of health care. However, many Republicans still plan to try to roll back portions of the law prior to the November congressional elections. Campaigning against the law helped Republicans in the off year, and the party hopes for premium increases before the mid-term elections, which combined with many voters' dislike for the law, could lift them up in the polls and help win the Senate majority in 2015.

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Preparing and caring for patients with dementia
HealthLeaders Media
An aging population is already expected to strain U.S. healthcare resources, and recent studies suggest that dementia represents both a major health risk and a considerable cost driver. In addition, this long-term decline in cognition takes a significant toll on patients, their families and the providers who care for them.

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Study: Cynicism linked to greater dementia risk
CNN
A new study in the latest edition of Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found that cynical people have a higher likelihood of developing dementia.

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President's column: Members at forefront of innovation and collaboration
By Susan K. Schultz, MD
As we move into summer, it is rewarding to reflect on the accomplishments of our AAGP members and their contributions to the field over the past year! Along these lines, I am delighted to share that our AAGP Past President and AJGP Editor in Chief Dilip V. Jeste has been appointed as Associate Dean for Healthy Aging and Senior Care at the University of California, San Diego, and will direct their newly established Center on Healthy Aging and Senior Care.

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Congress looks at telemedicine, medical licensure issues
In an effort to facilitate greater adoption of telemedicine, Congress has been examining several related issues over the last several months. On May 1, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing entitled Telehealth to Digital Medicine: How 21st Century Technology Can Benefit Patients. The hearing focused on how advances in technology can help improve patient access to care and quality of care, especially for those living in rural areas with poor access to primary care physicians and specialists.

In addition, Representatives Devin Nunes (R-California) and Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) introduced H.R. 3077, the Telemedicine for Medicare Act; and Representative Scott Peters (D-California) introduced H.R. 3507, the 21st Century Care for Military and Veterans Act. Both bills would allow telemedicine to be practiced across state lines by changing medical licensure laws. Under these bills, licensure would be based on the state in which the patient is located rather than on the state in which the physician is licensed to practice. Both of these bills could threaten to undermine state medical practice laws and would leave state boards helpless to protect their citizens in an adverse medical event.

As an alternative, the American Medical Association (AMA) and others have been working to generate support in Congress for a draft interstate compact to streamline the licensing process and facilitate the responsible practice of telemedicine across state lines. Participation in an interstate compact would be voluntary both for states and physicians. Under the compact, physicians could become licensed in participating states and would be under the jurisdiction of the state medical board in which the patient is located.

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World Dementia Council holds inaugural meeting
In early May, the members of the World Dementia Council met for the first time in London to stimulate the innovation and development of life-enhancing drugs, treatments, and care for people with dementia. The Council was formed at the invitation of the British Government, after last year’s G8 (now G7 after Russia's expulsion) dementia summit, to be an independent overseer of G7 commitments and to drive new ways to fulfill those mandates. The Council is charged with ensuring private financing by identifying new finance mechanisms and driving new investments through incentives and systems change to reduce risk and increase rewards. The Council will meet quarterly.
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HHS releases National Alzheimer's Plan 2014 Update
On April 29, then-Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius presented the National Plan To Address Alzheimer's Disease 2014 Update at a meeting of the Federal Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services. New action steps include:
  • Accelerate efforts to identify the earliest stages of Alzheimer's disease and to develop and test targets for intervention;
  • Move research and care forward by increasing collaboration in science, data sharing, and priority setting among Alzheimer’s disease experts, health care providers, and caregivers;
  • Expand current work to strengthen dementia-care guidelines and quality measures, including meaningful outcomes for people with dementia and their families;
  • Help health care providers to better address how to balance privacy, autonomy, and safety; and
  • Enhance support for global collaboration on dementia, including hosting a February 2015 follow-up meeting to the December 2013 Global Summit on Dementia.
The Council received updates on the plan's implementation from its three subcommittees: Research, Clinical Care, and Long-Term Services and Supports. Among the updates were the identification of 11 Alzheimer's risk genes that provide new insights about disease pathways and possible drug targets, an almost 14 percent reduction of the inappropriate use of antipsychotics among long-stay nursing home residents with dementia; and funding to states for development of dementia-capable services and supports systems.

The Council will next meet on July 21.

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Kate McDuffie leaves AAGP
After more than 13 years, Kate McDuffie, AAGP's director of communications and marketing, has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Marj Vanderbilt, AAGP's acting CEO, said: "Kate has been a moving force at AAGP during her tenure here, developing multiple communications vehicles to provide the AAGP membership with timely information on geriatric psychiatry as well as marketing AAGP's programs to broad and diverse audiences. Her expertise has been invaluable in promoting the field of geriatric psychiatry to the public at large. She has been an outstanding member of AAGP's staff and will be missed by all of us."
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IN THE NEWS


Secret behind why Alzheimer's patients cannot make new memories discovered
The Telegraph
A drug to prevent the devastating memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease is a step closer after scientists discovered the secret behind why people with dementia cannot form new memories. It was previously thought that Alzheimer's was primarily caused by the build up of sticky amyloid plaques in the brain which stop neurons from firing.
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Preparing and caring for patients with dementia
HealthLeaders Media
An aging population is already expected to strain U.S. healthcare resources, and recent studies suggest that dementia represents both a major health risk and a considerable cost driver. In addition, this long-term decline in cognition takes a significant toll on patients, their families and the providers who care for them. Some healthcare systems and hospitals are now coordinating care for these patients so they can stay at home and also avoid unnecessary hospitalizations.
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Scientists recruit healthy seniors for Alzheimer's drug trial
HealthDay
Scientists have started recruiting seniors from the United States, Canada and Australia to participate in a $140 million study that will test the protective powers of an experimental drug for Alzheimer's disease. Funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Eli Lilly & Co. and others, will give roughly 1,000 volunteers either solanezumab or a placebo, according to the Associated Press. They will then track any changes in memory or amyloid levels over the course of three years.
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Yoga, meditation may help dementia patients and caregivers alike
HealthDay via Philly.com
Life with Alzheimer's disease or other dementias can be difficult for the affected individual and his or her caregiver. But a small British study suggests that a "holistic" program involving yoga, meditation and other interventions can ease the burden for both. "This is an activity that caregivers and patients can do together," said study lead author Yvonne J-Lyn Khoo, a researcher with the Health and Social Care Institute at Teesside University in Middlesbrough, U.K. "Because everyone is doing the program together, caregivers have peace of mind to at least allow themselves to 'let go' and do some exercise."
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