Allman wins prestigious aging award

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Richard M. Allman, M.D., director of the Birmingham/Atlanta VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) and director of the UAB Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging, has won the Donald P. Kent award from the Gerontological Society of America (GSA).

The society, the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging, bestows the award annually to an individual who best exemplifies the highest standards for professional leadership in gerontology through teaching, service and interpretation of gerontology to the larger society.

Allman, who is the Parrish Endowed Professor of Medicine and director of the UAB Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care, will receive the Kent award at the annual GSA scientific meeting in New Orleans this November and present the Kent lecture in Washington D.C., next year.

The award was created in 1973 in memory of Donald P. Kent for his outstanding leadership in translating research finding into practical use.

“Richard Allman exemplifies the highest standard of leadership in Geriatrics and Gerontology,” said Seth Landefeld, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine. “He single-handedly led the development of Geriatrics at UAB, recruiting and developing exemplary faculty and building deep collaborative relationships with colleagues in nursing and other health sciences, as well as in the social and behavioral sciences.

“Dr. Allman developed a fundamental concept in Geriatrics, that of "life space” as the physical and social space that each of us inhabits over our life course, a space that expands from infancy through adulthood until it shrinks as the result of illness, frailty or social isolation. As a leader, Dr. Allman's commitment and generosity inspire all of us, his good humor refreshes us, and his vision for the common good brings us together. The Kent Award recognizes Dr. Allman as a national treasure, a crown jewel for UAB,” said Landefeld.

Since Allman took the reins of the UAB Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care in 1990, it has achieved an outstanding national reputation and has grown from nine to 51 faculty members, with 31 physicians and 20 doctoral-level basic and social-behavioral scientists. UAB geriatrics is ranked 12th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

As director of the Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging, one of 25 university‐wide, inter‐disciplinary research centers at UAB, Allman has increased the number of affiliated faculty from 18 to more than 220, with involvement of faculty members from all UAB schools including the College of Arts and Sciences. These faculty members hold grants and contracts totaling $86.6 million, with $9.3 million from the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

Allman has served as the principal investigator for the NIA-funded UAB Study of Aging since 1998, a study focusing on risk factors for mobility loss among 1,000 community-dwelling older adults. In 2007, he received NIA funding to develop a career development program for junior faculty members at UAB, Tuskegee University, Morehouse School of Medicine and the University of Alabama who are committed to careers focusing on health disparities among older African-Americans and whites.

Allman earned his medical degree from West Virginia University (WVU), where he also completed a residency in internal medicine. After completing a fellowship in general internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University, he joined the faculty at UAB in 1986. Dr. Allman has been listed in Best Doctors in America since 1991 and has played important leadership roles in the American Geriatrics Society, the Association of Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs and the National VA GRECC Directors Association.

He was inducted as a permanent member of the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame and received the Robert G. Sherrill Quality Champion Award from the Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation (AQAF) in 2009 in recognition of his efforts to improve the health and well-being of older adults and their family members in the state.