The overarching goal of the Department of Geriatrics is to train physicians who are skilled in the care of older adults. Because of the integration of geriatrics throughout the medical school curriculum and the residency training programs and our presentations at continuing education programs, the department anticipates that physicians, regardless of the medical specialty, will be able to continually improve the care delivered to older adults. However, in order to achieve this overarching goal, the department values and has been actively engaged in research, especially research that benefits older adults in Southwest Ohio. Research conducted by the department involves three inter-related areas: aging in place, delirium, dementia, and long-term care.
Aging in Place
Led by Dr. Larry Lawhorne, the department's primary area of research has focused on collaborating with community-based agencies and organizations to study interventions and models of care that will allow older adults in Southwest Ohio to remain safely in their homes for as long as possible. Along with faculty members in other WSU Departments in the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, Kinesiology, and Health Sciences, the School of Professional Psychology, the School of Social Work and Human Services, the Departments of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Assistive Technologies Research Center, the Department of Geriatrics is studying the feasibility of using wearable sensors, smart house technology, and serious gaming to help older adults and their caregivers maintain their independence and enhance the quality of life.
Dr. Gordana Gataric and members of the Wright State University Gerontology Interdisciplinary Team have studied the grieving process in people with dementia, especially responses to spousal loss. In addition, work with the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association may lead to an evaluation of local services for people with early-stage dementia and a study of interventions to improve recognition, assessment, and management of early-stage disease by primary care physicians.
Long Term Care
Drs. Larry Lawhorne and Daniel Swagerty have been involved in research in long-term care for more than 20 years. Current work involves improving systems of care and clinical management of major neurocognitive disorders, difficult behaviors, and end-of-life care in the long-term care setting.