The Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham serves older adults and patients with advanced or life-threatening illness by providing leadership and core faculty for inno-vative models of clinical care; teaching and instructing students, fellows, and residents; and conducting research that generates new knowledge contributing to the advancement of science and the quality of life. Faculty and staff are dedicated to carrying out these activities in a caring manner that always respects the dignity of those we serve.
The Division includes 30 physicians and 13 PhD basic and social-behavioral scientists who work together to achieve their common goal of becoming one of the best such programs in the United States. The Division consists of four sections (Geriatric Medicine, Palliative and Supportive Care, Social and Behavioral Science, and Basic Sci-ence) and works closely with other programs in aging at UAB, our affiliated VA Medical Center and Childrens of Alabama. Division faculty provide leadership for a number of interdisciplinary centers and programs including the Atherosclerosis Research Unit, Birmingham/Atlanta VA Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC), Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging, Center for Palliative and Supportive Care, Deep South Re-source Center for Minority Aging Research, Dementia Care Research Program, Geriatric Education Center, Ger-ontology Education Program, Southeast Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine, Public Policy and Aging Pro-gram, and the Translational Nutrition and Aging Research Program.
The Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care provides primary care and specialty services that meet the needs of older adults and patients with advanced or life-threatening illness. UAB Highlands houses the Divi-sion’s Geriatric Clinic. The Camellia Medical Group at the William Clifford and Margaret Spain McDonald Clinic offers concierge medical services. The Continence Clinic at the Kirklin Clinic offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment of urinary and bowel incontinence. Outpatient palliative and supportive care services are offered at the Kirklin Clinic and the 1917 Clinic. An Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Unit is based at UAB Highlands and Geriatric consults are offered at University Hospital. Palliative care inpatient units and consult services are available at the University Hospital, the VA, and Children’s Hospital of Alabama. VA-based programs include the Birmingham/ Atlanta Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) Fall Prevention and Continence Clinics, an outpatient Geriatric Evaluation and Management Clinic, geriatric hospital consultations, Home-Based Primary Care, and Palliative Care Program including the Safe Harbor inpatient unit, and outpatient and home-based pallia-tive care. The Division provides medical directorships for community-based continuing care communities, a Geri-atric Health Center, assisted-living, geriatric care management, and several hospice providers.
The Division provides training in geriatric medicine and palliative care for medical students and medical residents. Division faculty members also provide services and medical education on the General Medicine Wards of the Bir-mingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (BVAMC), the University Hospital, and in the VA outpatient clinic. The Division offers fellowship training in Geriatric Medicine that is designed to prepare internists and family medicine physicians for an academic career in Geriatric Medicine and to provide leadership for health care programs that serve the needs of older adults. The clinical fellowship offers clinical experiences at UAB and the Birmingham VA Medical Center including an Acute Care for Elders inpatient unit, inpatient and outpatient geriatric consults, prima-ry care and outpatient geriatric consults, community nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and subspecialty ser-vices including geriatric psychiatry, rehabilitation medicine, and palliative care. Also offered is the UAB Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program which is devoted to training leaders in academic Palliative Medicine. The programs offers a unique clinical experience, with rotations in inpatient palliative care at UAB Hospital, the Birmingham VA Medical Center, and The Children’s Hospital of Alabama, ambulatory palliative care through the UAB Palliative and Supportive Care Clinics and the UAB HIV Palliative Care Clinic, and in-home and nursing home hospice care through community hospices and nursing homes.
Many Division faculty are active in research activities that focus on mobility, urinary and fecal incontinence, Alzhei-mer’s disease and related memory problems, nutrition, geriatric heart failure, end-of-life care, advanced illness management, functional outcomes of geriatric health care, supportive care and survivorship and quality improve-ment. Basic biomedical research initiatives include studies of cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in ath-erosclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease including the role of monocytes and macrophages, endothelial cells, apolipo-proteins, dietary factors, and the anti-atherosclerotic and anti-inflammatory activity of peptide mimics of apolipo-proteins. Many of the apolipoprotein mimetics have been patented and two companies (Bruin Pharma, LA and LipimetiX LLC, Boston) have been working to bring them to bedside. Both companies have performed initial clini-cal trials. The apoA-I mimetic peptide has now been genetically produced in tomatoes, concentrates of which have shown efficacy in inhibiting atherosclerosis and certain types of cancer. The apoE mimetic peptides have shown promise in human clinical trials and are in Phase II of clinical trials.