Medical Reading

Hartford Foundation Congratulates Longtime Grantee Mary Tinetti, MD On Receiving MacArthur Fellowship

October 12, 2017

The John A. Hartford Foundation is pleased to offer its warmest congratulations to longtime grantee, Mary Tinetti, MD, on receiving a 2009 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recognizing her work in the area of falls prevention for older adults. The MacArthur Fellowship is often referred to colloquially as the "genius award" and provides recipients an unrestricted grant of $500,000 over five years.

As Director of the Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training at the Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Tinetti has championed the effort to infuse geriatrics into medical clinical specialties. An innovative researcher, she transformed the prevailing view of falls from an inevitable consequence of aging to a preventable event with a multidimensional set of risk factors that can be identified and controlled. In the words of her MacArthur Foundation citation, Dr. Tinetti, "pioneered the study of a long-recognized but previously little-investigated public health problem in gerontology."

"Dr. Tinetti's work has changed the conversation on the leading cause of injuries among older adults," said Corinne H. Rieder, executive director of the Hartford Foundation. "As committed champions of programs that improve the health and well-being of older adults, we are thrilled to see Dr. Tinetti, and this critical safety and health issue, receive attention and funding."

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death as well as non-fatal injuries among older adults, taking the lives of almost 16,000 older adults in 2005. They are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury and most fractures in older adults, increasing the risk of premature death. Dr. Tinetti's work has shown that, properly screened and addressed, risk factors that cause older adult falls can be reduced by about 30 percent. One of the hallmarks of her success has been developing and testing methods that translate her research findings into practice, moving beyond the laboratory to offer practical applications that improve the health of older adults.

As a grantee of the Hartford Foundation, Dr. Tinetti came to prominence in 1998 when she became the founding director of the Yale Hartford Center of Excellence. The Center's most recent five-year Hartford grant, totaling $750,000, began in January 2008. Dr. Tinetti has also chaired the Advisory Committee for the Foundation's Beeson Scholar Awards and consulted on many of its geriatrics initiatives and investigations.

Dr. Tinetti is the third John A. Hartford Foundation grantee to receive a MacArthur Fellowship in recent years. She joins Diane Meier, MD, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, who received her fellowship in 2008, and Sarah Kagan, PhD, FAAN, RN, professor of gerontological nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and a 2003 MacArthur recipient for her work on symptom management for older cancer patients.

John A. Hartford Foundation