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April 29, 2003

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Linda Fried Named Geriatrics Head at Johns Hopkins

Linda P. Fried, M.D., M.P.H., a geriatrician and epidemiologist who specializes in the prevention of disease, frailty and disability in older adults, has been named director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins.

Fried, who has been at Johns Hopkins for more than 20 years, is professor of medicine, epidemiology and health policy at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health. She also is director of the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, a multidisciplinary center of excellence for research and training on aging. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine and has a Merit Award from the National Institute on Aging for her research on the biological basis for frailty and disability in older adults.

Under her leadership, Johns Hopkins recently received funding for an Older Americans Independence Center ("Pepper Center") five-year grant to pursue the causes and manifestations of frailty in the elderly. Fried, a pioneer in defining and understanding frailty, has proposed through research that frailty is a medical syndrome that may have a multisystem root, including inflammatory, hormonal and musculoskeletal bases. She and her colleagues also have developed simple screening tests to help care providers predict whether their older patients will develop frailty or physical disabilities in the near future.

"It's clear that Linda's goals are to pioneer clinical research that will enhance the broad base of clinical geriatric care and leadership," said Myron L. "Mike" Weisfeldt, M.D., chairman of the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. "Her base of excellence in epidemiology will be expanded to new and important clinical issues in geriatrics. A major goal is to train a cadre of leaders for American medicine from the field of geriatrics and gerontology, beginning with fellowship training. Geriatrics is an area where we have too few physicians and a huge population requiring service and care in the future."

Fried succeeds one of her mentors, John R. Burton, M.D., who has stepped down from the position after creating it 15 years ago. Burton was director of geriatric medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center since 1982.

A prolific researcher, Fried serves as principal investigator for large-scale studies of older adults, including the Cardiovascular Health Study and the Women's Health and Aging Studies. She also is the co-developer of the Experience Corps, a program that places teams of trained older adult volunteers in elementary schools in Baltimore, providing ongoing support, supervision and evaluation of the students.

"The program helps improve academic outcomes for elementary school children while simultaneously promoting the health of older adults," Fried says.

She is on the editorial board for several professional journals dedicated to the health of older adults, including the Journal of Gerontology (Medical Sciences) and the American Journal of Medicine. She also is a member of numerous professional societies concerned with health for an aging society, including the American Geriatrics Society. She was just named one of Maryland's "Top 100 Women" by the Daily Record newspaper.

Fried received her bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wisconsin in 1970 and graduated from Rush Medical College in Chicago in 1979. After completing a residency in internal medicine at Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, she came to Johns Hopkins in 1982 as an internal medicine fellow. She received her master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins in 1984 while completing a postdoctoral fellowship in cardiovascular epidemiology at the school. She then did a faculty fellowship in geriatrics at Johns Hopkins before joining the faculty in 1986.

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