Dr. Mindy Fain, a widely recognized leader in gerontology, has been honored with the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson's Anne and Alden Hart Endowed Chair in Medicine.
Fain's many responsibilities with the UA College of Medicine attest to her achievements in advancing health care for older adults.
She is professor of medicine and chief of the division of geriatrics, general internal medicine and palliative medicine in the UA Department of Medicine. She is co-director of the Arizona Center on Aging and Arizona Geriatric Education Center. She also is the Arizona Health Sciences Center's executive director of practice innovation, working with the faculty of the AHSC colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health to develop new ways to provide high-quality care at lower costs.
Fain recently was appointed to the Health Disparities Advisory Council, one of four councils formed by Dr. Joe G.N. "Skip" Garcia, UA senior vice president for health sciences, to advance areas of excellence in health sciences research.
"Mindy Fain truly is one of our superstars,” said Dr. Steve Goldschmid, dean of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson. "Her creative vision, her clinical skills and her commitment to improving geriatric care at all levels are recognized by her colleagues here and across the country."
Fain said she is humbled and delighted by this new honor. "It shows such wonderful support for the work I do. And it's not what I do, it's what we do – because I am fortunate to work with so many people who are so outstanding in their work."
Fain also is working with an interdisciplinary team to establish an ACE – acute care of elders – unit at The University of Arizona Medical Center – South Campus. A patient's care team could include, for example, a geriatrician, a nurse practitioner, a pharmacist, a social worker and a physical therapist, all specially trained in geriatric care. She also hopes to create a "virtual" ACE unit at UAMC – University Campus. Patients would be treated in more than one unit of the hospital, but with a similarly integrated care team.
Fain also is principal investigator on a $1 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, to train Arizona physicians who are not geriatricians to provide the best care for older adults. The University of Arizona Health Network has matched the grant with $300,000. It follows a $1.9 million Reynolds grant to the Arizona Center on Aging in 2006.
The Anne and Alden Hart Endowed Chair in Medicine was made possible by a gift of real estate to the UA by Anne Hart in memory of her husband, who died in 1967, the year the College of Medicine admitted its first students. Alden Hart began working in the telephone industry in 1906 and worked his way up until in 1940 he became president of Kansas-based United Utilities. That company evolved into United Telecommunications and, in the 1980s, became Sprint. Hart retired in 1958 and the couple moved to Tucson in 1959. Before her passing, Anne made the gift, specifying that it be used to benefit the College of Medicine.
Fain and her husband, infectious disease specialist Dr. Richard Mandel, moved to Tucson from Boston in 1984. Fain signed on for a year with a local HMO before accepting a UA Department of Medicine position with the Veterans Administration Hospital, now part of the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System.
Her job was to provide home-based primary care – house calls – to elders. "I rapidly fell in love with geriatrics," Fain said.
In 1986, Fain joined the UA College of Medicine faculty, where her current positions are "pretty seamless," she said.
"The synergies between geriatrics and palliative care and the Center on Aging and the other programs are what make it so exciting."