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Impact factor for the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry reaches new heights
The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry's impact factor has reached an historic high of 4.131 for 2012, according to Thomson Reuters' Journal Citation Reports®, jumping from 3.64 for 2011. The AJGP is now ranked 25 of 135 journals in psychiatry and 7 of 46 journals in geriatrics/gerontology. Congratulations to Editor-in-Chief Dilip V. Jeste, MD, and the entire editorial team!

A journal's impact factor is a measure of the frequency with which an average article in that journal has been cited in a particular year. Jeste explained, "It helps in evaluating a journal's relative importance, especially in comparing it to others in the same field." The impact factor for any given year is derived by dividing the number of citations to articles in that journal during the previous year by the number of articles published during the previous two years.

"This record-high impact factor reflects the talent and dedication that Dilip Jeste and the editorial board devote to the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, and the work they've done to create a first-class publication," AAGP President David C. Steffens, MD, MHS, said.

Jeste commented, "The AJGP has been a true team work. It is an honor for me to work with esteemed colleagues at all levels–editorial board, deputy editors, triage editors, reviewers, authors, AAGP leadership and staff, and the publisher staff."

Access the AJGP online at

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AAGP attends AMA House of Delegates meeting
The American Medical Association's House of Delegates, AMA's principal policy-making body, met June 16-19 in Chicago, and adopted several new policies and issued formal statements. AAGP, a member of the AMA Specialty and Service Society, was represented by Allan A. Anderson, MD, an AAGP past president. The SSS is the largest caucus in the AMA House of Delegates and is made up of 130 national medical societies, military service groups and professional interest medical associations. The SSS meets twice annually in conjunction with the Interim and Annual Meetings of the AMA HOD. During its June meeting, the HOD, a group of more than 500 voting delegates:
  • Formally requested a repeal and replacement of the flawed sustainable growth rate Medicare formula.
  • Voted to mandate a two-year implementation period for ICD-10/11, during which time insurers would not be allowed to deny payment based on the specificity of an ICD-10/11 diagnosis.
  • Adopted new policy that establishes principles for reforming the delivery of care for patients eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (dual eligibles), including customizing benefits for patients and ensuring that care coordination demonstration programs do not interfere with the patient-physician relationship.
  • Supported having the AMA partner with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to develop incentives for hospitals and health systems that would promote more efficient sharing of electronic health records with independent physicians.
  • Issued a warning against "inappropriate inquiries" from pharmacies to verify the medical rationale behind prescriptions and diagnoses, calling them an unwarranted interference with the practice of medicine.
  • Voted to recognize obesity as a disease state with multiple aspects requiring a range of interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention.
During the AMA House of Delegates meeting, AAGP participated with other medical specialty organizations in a Medical Specialty Showcase where medical students visited booths and gathered information on various medical specialties. AAGP members Allan Anderson, MD, and Sandra Swantek, MD, staffed the AAGP booth.

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Scholars Program: Applications due Oct. 1
AAGP is now accepting applications for its popular Scholars Program, designed to provide access to the field of geriatric psychiatry to medical students and psychiatry residents. The program provides beneficiaries with full access to all AAGP member programs and activities through association membership and activities during the AAGP Annual Meeting, including structured mentorship programs and tools for medical students and residents to make informed choices about their medical careers. Medical students in an LCME- or COCA-accredited medical school and general psychiatry residents in PGY 1-4 in an ACGME- or AOA-accredited training program in the U.S. or a Canadian accredited residency program may apply for general scholarships. Psychiatry residents in PGY-1, 2, or 3 may apply for the honors scholarships. Learn more and apply online:
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    Members in the news: Washington Post and Huffington Post cover aging issues
    Washington Post and Huffington Post via AAGP
    A Washington Post article published June 25 examines efforts to prevent depression in at-risk older adults and reports on a study at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In the article, "Pittsburgh Researchers Look for Ways to Prevent Depression In Seniors," AAGP members Jordan Karp, MD; Charles Reynolds III, MD; and Barry Lebowitz, PhD, are quoted. Read more.

    In a blog for the Huffington Post on June 25, former assistant secretary for aging Robyn Stone opens with a profile of AAGP member Adam Simning detailing his commitment to the education required to meet his goals to help address the mental health needs of older adults. She covers the Institute of Medicine report on the mental health and substance use workforce for older adults and the Positive Aging Act. Read more.

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    Federal partnership shows progress on mental health services for veterans
    On May 21, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and Department of Health and Human Services announced the release of an interim report revealing the progress made on various initiatives, such as strengthening suicide prevention efforts and increasing the number of VA mental health providers, in order to expand quality mental health service access for veterans, service members and their families.

    The interagency partnership to address veterans' mental health needs follows an executive order issued by President Barack Obama on Aug. 31, 2012, directing the VA, DOD and HHS in coordination with other federal agencies to take a number of steps to ensure that veterans service members and their families receive the mental health services and support they need.

    The "Interagency Task Force on Military and Veterans Mental Health" interim report outlines federal department actions to date, which include:
    • Suicide Prevention:
      The VA and DOD jointly developed and are implementing a national suicide prevention campaign to connect veterans and service members to mental health services. This year-long effort, which began on Sept. 1, 2012, continues to save lives and link veterans with ongoing mental health services on a daily basis, according to officials of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. As of March 2013, the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-272-8255) had received over 814,000 calls, over 94,000 chats, as well as 7,200 texts, and helped more than 28,000 veterans in imminent danger.
    • Enhanced partnerships between the VA and community providers:
      The VA has worked with HHS to help identify potential local community resources to improve veterans' access to mental health services. To date, the VA has established initial pilot projects through formal arrangements with 15 community-based mental health and substance abuse providers across seven states.
    • Expand VA mental health staffing:
      As of May 7 the VA had hired a total of 1,360 mental health clinical providers towards the goal of 1,600 new mental health professionals outlined in the executive order. In addition, the VA has hired 2,036 mental health clinical providers to fill existing vacancies. The VA has also hired nearly 250 new peer specialists in support of the specific goal of 800 peer specialists outlined in the executive order.
    • Improved research and development:
      The development of a National Research Action Plan to better understand and develop treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and co-occurring conditions. In addition, a plan to identify strategies to support collaborative research efforts to address suicide prevention is underway.
    According to SAMHSA, the departments are actively working on additional deliverables called for in the executive order. Another report will be released on Feb. 28, 2014.

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    HHS releases the 2013 update to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease
    In June, the Department of Health and Human Services released the official 2013 update to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. This marks the first significant update to the plan, which was released in May 2012 and establishes five goals to prevent future cases of Alzheimer's disease and to better meet the needs of the millions of American families currently facing this disease: prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025, optimize care quality and efficiency, expand supports for people with Alzheimer's disease and their families, enhance public awareness and engagement, and track progress and drive improvement.

    The National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease: 2013 Update outlines a series of milestones to measure whether the nation is on track to achieve the plan's mission to effectively prevent or treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025. The update also draws attention to a recent study by RAND that found that the costs associated with Alzheimer's exceed those related to heart disease and cancer, and are projected to cost the U.S. $1 trillion annually by 2050.

    In a statement, USAgainstAlzheimer's is urging increased research funding to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease and is seeking a commitment to double U.S. investment in Alzheimer's in the coming fiscal year, ramping up to $2 billion a year in five years — a proposal recently put forward by Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine. USAgainstAlzheimer's is a community of individuals who have been touched by Alzheimer's disease and are committed to achieving the bold and attainable goal of ending Alzheimer's.

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    Pittsburgh researchers look for ways to prevent depression in seniors
    The Washington Post
    A Washington Post article published June 25 examines efforts to prevent depression in at-risk older adults and reports on a study at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

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    Scholar's Program: The time to give is now
    By David C. Steffens, MD, MHS, AAGP President
    Did you know that our AAGP family is in possession of a remarkable heirloom? And what is truly amazing is that when we bestow this heirloom on worthy recipients, several magical things happen.

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    Commonly prescribed drugs may influence the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease
    Multiple drug classes commonly prescribed for common medical conditions are capable of influencing the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease, according to researchers at The Mount Sinai Medical Center. The findings are published online in the journal PLoS One.

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    NIH to fund collaborations with industry to identify new uses for existing compounds
    The National Institutes of Health has awarded $12.7 million to match nine academic research groups with a selection of pharmaceutical industry compounds to explore new treatments for patients in eight disease areas, including Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. The collaborative pilot initiative, called Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules, is led by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences. The average length of time from target discovery to approval of a new drug is more than 13 years, and the failure rate exceeds 95 percent. This failure rate means, however, that many existing partially developed compounds could be advanced to clinical trials more quickly than starting from scratch. NCATS launched this initiative in 2012 to help re-engineer the research pipeline using an innovative strategy to identify new uses for compounds that have undergone significant research and development by industry, including safety testing in humans. The center crowdsourced the industry compounds to academic researchers nationwide to gain ideas for new therapeutic uses with the ultimate goal of developing new treatments for patients.
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    Research funding opportunities
    The National Institutes of Health has posted funding opportunities titled "Research to Characterize and Reduce Stigma to Improve Health." These Funding Opportunity Announcements encourage research grant applications to characterize the role of stigma in health, life course development, and aging, both in the U.S. and globally, and to test interventions to prevent or reduce the impact of stigma at the individual, community, health care system, and policy levels.

    The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has announced a funding opportunity titled "Rapid Secondary Analysis to Optimize Care for Patients with Multiple Chronic Conditions (R01)" to solicit large research (R01) grant applications from organizations with large data sets to conduct research to optimize processes and treatments that provide rapid and relevant information to the clinical community to best care for patients with multiple chronic conditions. Letters of intent are due July 19. Read more.

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    UCSB research points to a potential therapeutic approach to Alzheimer's disease
    Science Codex
    Building on research published eight years ago in the journal Chemistry and Biology, Kenneth S. Kosik, Harriman professor in neuroscience and co-director of the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his team have now applied their findings to two distinct, well-known mouse models, demonstrating a new potential target in the fight against Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
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    Study: Family caregivers on the rise
    USA Today
    More family caregivers are at the front lines of health care than ever before, and they're turning to the Internet to help ease their burden, a new study says. The study shows the portion of adults who are family caregivers jumped from 30 percent in 2010 to 39 percent in 2012. Almost two-thirds of these caregivers support a parent or in-law, the study by the Pew Research Center and the California HealthCare Foundation says.
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    Depression may increase the risk of dementia later on
    VideoBriefDepression can have physical consequences. Research now suggests that when people get depressed in middle age and beyond, they're more likely to develop dementia in old age. But the link between depression and dementia remains something of a mystery. Researchers are working to understand why that occurs and what might be done to prevent dementia.
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    UC Davis researchers: A second amyloid may play a role in Alzheimer's disease
    A protein secreted with insulin travels through the bloodstream and accumulates in the brains of individuals with type 2 diabetes and dementia, in the same manner as the amyloid beta Aβ plaques that are associated with Alzheimer's disease, a study by researchers with the University of California, Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center has found.
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