Tinetti Earns GSA’s 2017 Donald P. Kent Award

For Immediate Release
July 17, 2017

Contact: Todd Kluss
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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) — the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — has chosen Mary Elizabeth Tinetti, MD, FGSA, of Yale University as the 2017 recipient of the Donald P. Kent Award.

This distinguished honor is given annually to a GSA member who best exemplifies the highest standards for professional leadership in gerontology through teaching, service, and interpretation of gerontology to the larger society. It was established in 1973 in memory of Donald P. Kent, PhD, for his outstanding leadership in translating research findings into practical use.

The award presentation will take place at GSA’s 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 18 to 22 in Boston, Massachusetts. This conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process.

At Yale University, Tinetti is the Gladys Phillips Crofoot Professor of Medicine (Geriatrics) and chief of the Geriatrics Section. Her groundbreaking research on falls has earned her an international reputation as an academic leader in geriatrics and gerontology.

In a series of pioneering studies published in the most prestigious medical journals, Tinetti identified the risk factors for falls and injurious falls; explored the causes and consequences of fear of falling; documented the high rate and predictors of inability to get up after falling; and demonstrated that falls are independently associated with functional decline, disability, and nursing home placement. The results of her epidemiologic studies led Tinetti to develop a highly innovative approach to fall prevention that addresses the deleterious effects of multiple risk factors. This multifactorial intervention has been shown to reduce the risk of falling among older persons and to result in cost savings.

Her current work focuses on the benefits versus harms of medications — and the alignment of decision-making and care with health priorities — in older adults with multiple conditions

As a testament to her extraordinary creativity and the importance of her research, Tinetti was honored with a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant in 2009. She was further responsible for building one of the foremost geriatric clinical epidemiology research and training programs in the country. Her productive and collaborative nature is also illustrated by her numerous partnerships with top health and safety organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,, the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and others. Tinetti is a GSA fellow, which is the highest level of membership within the Society. She previously received GSA’s 2010 Maxwell A. Pollack Award for Productive Aging, 2005 M. Powell Lawton Award, and 2000 Joseph T. Freeman Award.


The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,500+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

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