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Ipsit Vahia, MD, medical director of Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services, has been selected as the recipient of the 2016 American Association for Geriatric (AAGP) Psychiatry Barry Lebowitz Early Career Scientist Award.
The award recognizes exceptional academic and research accomplishments in the area of geriatric psychiatry and/or evidence of early career funding from federal or private grant agencies, according to the AAGP. Vahia will receive the award at the AAGP Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on March 17.
He was previously director of research for the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Senior Behavioral Health, where he developed a research program focusing on how technologies may impact psychiatric care of older adults. He was also instrumental in developing the UCSD Memory, Aging and Resilience Clinic, where he served as associate director.
An expert in the implementation of technology for geriatric mental health care, the award is being presented, in part, for Vahia’s work in spearheading a study that utilized the iPad for controlling behavioral symptoms in people with dementia.
“I am looking to expand this research at McLean, and my team and I anticipate devising new research protocols using mobile technology as well as sensors and informatics and studying how they impact geriatric mental health care,” said Vahia. “Our aim is to build a program for both research and clinical implementation of technology in aging care.”
Brent P. Forester MD, MSc, chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, said, “This very prestigious Early Career Scientist Award from the AAGP is not only an honor for Ipsit but for the entire McLean community. He is recognized as a leader in geriatric psychiatry and we look forward to working with him to advance clinical care and research in our field.”
Forester added that Vahia will help lead the division’s efforts to expand the integration of research and clinical services. “Furthering the integration of these areas will help us bring new cutting-edge treatments to our patients, including implementing clinical trials so that they can benefit from additional research resources,” he said.
Said Vahia, “There is brand new evidence on interventions as well as investigational techniques that may help us predict Alzheimer’s disease earlier and then implement strategies for either slowing down the onset or even possibly prevention, so our goal is for our clinics to become a site where we can translate all of these research findings to clinical services.”
“McLean is investing in the area of geriatrics at both an exciting and critically important time, given the growth of the aging population,” said Vahia. “Geriatric psychiatry is coming into a much broader national and international focus, and for me, it’s a tremendous opportunity to be involved in this effort.”