The Sharon A. Brangman, MD, Endowed Professorship in Geriatric Medicine

“It’s difficult for some people to relate theoretically to geriatrics. But the reality is that we will all be there one day. It’s time to create the geriatric care we will someday need ourselves.” 

Upstate Medical University is creating the Sharon A. Brangman, MD, Endowed Professorship in Geriatric Medicine in honor of Dr. Brangman’s leadership, vision, and 20 years of outstanding dedication and service to Upstate and the community. This endowment will advance Upstate’s mission of geriatric education by broadening the understanding of the health issues of older adults across medical specialties to ensure that the region’s aging population receives appropriate health care today and tomorrow.

As the nation’s aging population soars toward its highest point in history, the nation is facing an extreme shortage of geriatricians; specially trained medical doctors in the area of aging and the special needs of elderly patients. According to the American Geriatrics Society, there are currently only 7,600 certified geriatricians nationwide, roughly half the number needed. In New York state, there are 766 geriatricians for its 2.5 million older adults; one for every 3,264 New Yorker aged 65 and older. This outlook is critical in rural communities where 17 of 19 Upstate counties are medically underserved.

As the region’s only academic medical center, Upstate Medical University and its division of geriatrics is poised to meet this challenge and make a difference in elder health care. “Central New York has a large number of geriatric patients, and demographics can’t be ignored. We’re helping patients live longer but ignoring the implications – the complex care and multiple services they require,” says Dr. Brangman.

Geriatric care is a distinct specialty, managing multiple medical problems in the context of the complex relationship between aging and chronic disease. Just as children are not small adults, the medical issues of older adults are distinct from those of younger adults. With the exception of pediatricians, physicians in all medical specialties care for older people. Yet their educational experience very likely hasn’t prepared them for the often challenging and unique needs of elderly patients.

The Sharon A. Brangman, MD, Endowed Professorship in Geriatric Medicine will be used to recruit a geriatrician dedicated to teaching geriatric principles to physicians across specialties (surgical, emergency medicine, psychiatric, etc.) to improve the overall care older adults receive at any point in Upstate’s healthcare system. All medical student education will be enriched by integrating geriatrics into their clinical training. Th is teaching will be integrated into Upstate’s Rural Medical Education program (RMED) as well. 

As a result, Upstate’s physicians and medical students will be knowledgeable and proficient in their ability to provide appropriate care for their older patients.

About Sharon A. Brangman, MD

Originally from Brooklyn, Dr. Brangman graduated from Nottingham High School, Syracuse University, and received her medical degree from Upstate Medical University in 1981. After completing her internship, residency and geriatric fellowship at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, she returned to Syracuse in 1989 joining the Upstate Medical University faculty where she is professor of medicine and division chief of geriatric medicine in the department of medicine. 

A leader in the field of geriatrics, Dr. Brangman developed University Geriatricians at Upstate Medical University, the most comprehensive ambulatory practice and interdisciplinary team in geriatric medicine in the region. She created and is director of Upstate’s Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program; consistently accredited for almost 20 years. She created LinkAges, an innovative curriculum in geriatric medicine that advances student-patient relationships into all four years of medical school education.

Dr. Brangman is widely known as director of the CNY Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center, which serves 13 counties. Most recently, she implemented Upstate’s ACE Team, the Acute Care for the Elderly Program for patients admitted to Upstate University Hospital. A nationally-recognized expert on Alzheimer’s disease and the cultural issues of aging, the softspoken doctor and 2010 President of the American Geriatrics Society, is a powerful voice in Washington, DC, advocating healthcare reform, independence and quality of life for all older people. Here at home, Dr. Brangman is known by her patients, families and colleagues alike for her dedication, passion and her warm, caring manner.

How you can help…

The Upstate Foundation is seeking corporate, foundation and individual donors to contribute a total of $1.5 million to this special endowment campaign honoring Dr. Brangman. When fully funded, the endowment will generate approximately $50,000 per year to support the continuing and future excellence of geriatric education and patient care at Upstate Medical University/Upstate University Hospital.