AGS honors society’s first pharmacist president with prestigious Nascher/Manning award
Credit: (C) 2020
The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) will this year honor past AGS President Todd Semla, PharmD, MS, AGSF, with the prestigious Nascher/Manning Award, given biannually at the AGS Annual Scientific Meeting (#AGS21, to be held next year May 13-15 in Chicago, Ill., following the cancellation of the AGS 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting due to COVID-19). Dr. Semla, who served as the AGS’s first pharmacist president, now joins a cadre of less than 20 geriatrics healthcare professionals recognized with the Nascher/Manning Award since its inception in 1987.
“I’ve been fortunate to call Dr. Semla my mentor and to follow in his footsteps leading our country’s largest interprofessional society dedicated to the care we all need as we age,” noted Sunny Linnebur, PharmD, FCCP, FASCP, BCPS, BCGP, AGS board chair. “Across his career and commitment to the AGS, Dr. Semla has modeled and championed the collaborative team spirit that’s a hallmark of geriatrics. That’s as much a testament to Dr. Semla as it is to the interprofessional commitment he helped us achieve.”
A clinical associate professor with the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Dr. Semla has 40 years of experience in geriatric pharmacotherapy, the study of using pharmaceuticals to help manage an older person’s health. He also has decades of experience leading and influencing geriatrics expertise and education for the pharmacists, doctors, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, and other health professionals who increasingly comprise care teams for older people.
In his tenure at the AGS, for example, Dr. Semla has co-led all three major updates to the AGS Beers Criteria®, a compendium of medications potentially to avoid or consider with caution because they may present an unfavorable balance of benefits and harms for older adults. With Dr. Semla’s help, the AGS Beers Criteria® has not only become one of geriatrics most frequently cited references but also has expanded to include additional tools, from guidance for older adults, health systems, and health insurance stakeholders on its appropriate use to additional lists of alternative medications for those that may no longer be appropriate.
Of no less note is Dr. Semla’s tenure as the AGS’s first pharmacist president, which helped herald the increasingly interprofessional nature of geriatrics and the AGS. As president from 2007-2008 and AGS board chair from 2008-2009, Dr. Semla worked with society leaders and staff to launch a variety of important initiatives, from the AGS’s inaugural presence on Twitter to its co-convening of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance. He has been a member of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society editor board since 1996, and currently serves as an associate editor.
Dr. Semla earned his doctoral degree in pharmacy from the University of Iowa in 1985, having previously earned a master’s degree in science focused on clinical and hospital pharmacy. Dr. Semla went on to complete a geriatrics fellowship at the University of Iowa from 1985-1986 before transitioning to positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern. From 2003-2018, Dr. Semla also served as the National Pharmacy Benefits Management (PBM) Clinical Pharmacy Program Manager for Mental Health & Geriatrics at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Nascher/Manning Award celebrates a geriatrics pioneer like Dr. Semla, who helped build the professional foundation for what is now the AGS. Ignatz Leo Nascher, MD, was the first clinician to advocate for establishing a specialty focused on the care of older adults. Through the generosity of the Manning family, Dr. Nascher’s namesake award is one of several honors conferred by the AGS at its Annual Scientific Meeting. The 2020 award recipients include more than 20 healthcare leaders representing the depth and breadth of disciplines championing better care for us all as we age. For more information, visit Meeting.AmericanGeriatrics.org.
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has–for more than 75 years–worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.
About the Health in Aging Foundation
The Health in Aging Foundation is a national non-profit established in 1999 by the American Geriatrics Society to bring the knowledge and expertise of geriatrics healthcare professionals to the public. We are committed to ensuring that people are empowered to advocate for high-quality care by providing them with trustworthy information and reliable resources. Last year, we reached nearly 1 million people with our resources through HealthinAging.org. We also help nurture current and future geriatrics leaders by supporting opportunities to attend educational events and increase exposure to principles of excellence on caring for older adults. For more information or to support the Foundation’s work, visit HealthinAgingFoundation.org.
About the Nascher/Manning Award
Ignatz Leo Nascher, MD, argued that medical care for older adults should be considered a separate specialty, for which he coined the term “geriatrics” in 1909. Through the generosity of the Manning family, the intent of the Nascher/Manning Award is to honor Dr. Nascher’s pioneering work in the field by recognizing an individual with distinguished, life-long achievement in clinical geriatrics.
About the AGS Annual Scientific Meeting
The AGS Annual Scientific Meeting is the premier educational event in geriatrics, providing the latest information on clinical care, research on aging, and innovative models of care delivery. Following the cancellation of the 2020 gathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 3,000 nurses, pharmacists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers, long-term care and managed care providers, healthcare administrators, and others will convene next year from May 13-15 (pre-conference program on May 12), in Chicago, Ill., to advance geriatrics knowledge and skills through state-of-the-art educational sessions and research presentations. For more information, visit Meeting.AmericanGeriatrics.org..
Daniel E. Trucil