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Callahan Honored for Improving Health of Older Adults in Their Doctors’ Offices

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Dr. Callahan, who studies the real-world challenges of caring for older adults, especially those with late-life mental health issues accompanying physical maladies, is being recognized for his contributions to clinical and translation science from early clinical use to applicability for widespread clinical practice.

The Translational Science 2012 awards committee was composed of representatives from the Association for Clinical Research Training, the American Federation for Medical Research, the Society for Clinical and Translational Science and the Association for Patient-Oriented Research.

Dr. Callahan has spent more than two decades developing and studying new models of care designed to improve the health of older adults who are cared for by primary care physicians. The majority of older adults in the United States are seen by internists or other primary care physicians.

Dr. Callahan’s highly respected work has been concentrated on late-life depression and dementia, with an emphasis on the medical complexity of older adults due to the multiple conditions they may need care for, the numerous medications required to treat these conditions and the frequent fragmentation of care. His work focuses on vulnerable elders who are typically low-income, minority and disabled.

Recognizing the unique health care needs of older adults, his research incorporates a broad range of outcome measures including cognitive, emotional and physical functions as well as quality of life and goals of care. He also studies how to disseminate new care models into routine clinical practice in the physician’s office. 

Employing electronic medical records to acquire observational data, he designs and conducts large randomized controlled clinical trials. Several of his studies have investigated behavioral outcomes, costs and caregiver stress of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. His most recent study investigates transitions of care between home, hospital and nursing homes.

A graduate of the University of Missouri, he attended medical school at St. Louis University. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Baylor University and a fellowship in health services research at the Regenstrief Institute and IU School of Medicine. He joined the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University faculties in 1991.

“Dr. Callahan has been a national role model for a clinician-scientist who has conducted large-scale outcome studies that have fundamentally changed our practice of medicine in the care of elderly patients. I am extremely proud to see him being recognized by these societies for his contributions,” said Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean for translational research at the IU School of Medicine and director of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, which includes IU, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame.

The Regenstrief Institute is the home of internationally recognized centers of excellence in medical and public health informatics, aging, and health services and health systems research. Institute investigators are faculty members of the IU School of Medicine, other schools at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis or Purdue University.