Itamar B. Abrass, M.D.
William E. Colson Endowed Chair in Gerontology
Professor of Medicine and Division Head, Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine
Dr. Abrass graduated from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine and completed his internal medicine training at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. He trained in molecular endocrinology at the National Institutes of Health and in an endocrinology fellowship at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). After four years on the UCSD faculty, he was recruited to theUniversity of California, Los Angelesas the first physician of the newly established Division of Geriatric Medicine. Besides establishing his own research program, he was charged to establish the division’s clinical and training programs. In 1978, the first nationally funded geriatric medicine fellowships were established by the Administration on Aging. Dr Abrass wrote and successfully competed for one of only four funded programs. In 1979, the VA established its geriatric medicine fellowship program and, again, Dr. Abrass wrote and successfully competed for only one of 12 funded programs. Throughout his eight years at UCLA, Dr. Abrass was the director of the multi-campus Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program, including the Sepulveda and West Los Angeles VAs and the UCLA Center for the Health Sciences. The fellowship grew from two to six fellows per year and graduated many academically successful geriatricians.
In 1984, Dr. Abrass moved to UW Medicine to become the head of the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine. Again, Dr. Abrass was charged with building a geriatric medicine program. As he had done at Sepulveda, Dr. Abrass initiated a geriatric evaluation unit, an active consultation service, an ambulatory senior care clinic, and an academic long-term care service, and, under his leadership, the division has undergone enormous growth in terms of faculty, staff and fellowships. In addition, long before a similar ACGME requirement, all internal medicine residents at UW Medicine have had a required geriatric medicine clinical rotation. As part of a required chronic disease management course, a third of all the UW medical students participate in a clinical geriatrics clerkship.
Many individuals who hold leadership positions in geriatric medicine throughout the country were trained at UW Medicine. The division continues its role as a Center of Excellence for the training of providers in the care of older adults and in the recruitment and retention of academic faculty in gerontology and geriatric medicine.
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If you’re interested in this field, please consider making a gift to this fund through the UW Foundation.