A Career Devoted to Elder Care
This spring, Dr. Kobi Nathan, assistant professor in the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, will be inducted into the newest class of American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Fellows.
AGS is an international organization that brings together health care practitioners who specialize in the care of older adults. Its membership includes physicians, geriatricians, pharmacists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and others with training in elder care. Fellows represent a distinguished cohort of geriatrics experts recognized for a deep commitment to advancing high quality, person-centered care for all older adults.
Each year, AGS names a small contingent of members fellows. The rigorous process includes an assessment of continuing education, public service, geriatrics scholarship, and health care leadership, as well as other characteristics. Among the 369 Fellows, Nathan is one of only six pharmacists to have earned fellowship status.
A board certified geriatric pharmacist, Nathan joined AGS in 2014 after attending the organization’s annual conference on the recommendation of a geriatrician colleague. A hallmark of the organization is its focus on interprofessional collaboration, an aspect that was of particular interest to Nathan. In addition to his faculty responsibilities at Fisher, he is a member of the team of health care providers at Monroe Community Hospital, a long-term care facility operated by the county. He is also a member of the hospital’s Geriatric Assessment Team, diagnosing patients with all forms of dementia and offering treatment and supportive recommendations to the patients’ primary health care providers.
“I am not practicing in a pharmacy silo, and AGS provided exposure to the myriad challenges facing older adults and a better understanding of the resources my colleagues in other areas can offer my patients,” Nathan explained. “It has helped me become a more well-informed, competent, and collaborative colleague on the interprofessional stage.”
Nathan developed a passion for working with older adults early in his career, and at Monroe Community Hospital, he realized further the positive effect he could have on the health and well-being of his older patients. “I can make appropriate interventions when it comes to their medication,” he said. For example, patients may come to him with 15 medications, but after an evaluation of their profile, he may be able to reduce that number to just a few.
“When I see a patient come to the pharmacy, I don’t look at them as Mr. Joe Smith. I see my grandfather or my dad. That changes your perspective as you look at their treatment needs and what you can do to make sure their therapy is safe,” he said. “It is a very humbling experience to work with older adults, and it’s important to me that my patients are living life with dignity; and if they are near the end, that they pass with dignity.”
Nathan also serves as a core faculty member in the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program and its Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center. In 2017, he was honored with the Interprofessional Excellence Award, given by the University of Rochester’s Division of Geriatric and Aging.
In a letter nominating Nathan as an AGS Fellow, colleague Dr. Thomas Caprio, an associate professor at the Medical Center, praised his contributions to interprofessional geriatric education. “He has a unique perspective as a geriatric clinical pharmacist, he understands both the ‘art and science’ of geriatric practice,” Caprio wrote. “He is a shining example of the importance of interprofessional work in the field.”
In his seven years of membership with AGS, Nathan has attended all annual conferences, and has served as a member of the Public Education Committee since 2017. This spring, he will present a talk, “Pain Management in Older Adults” at the upcoming 2020 conference, where he will also be formally installed as a Fellow.