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Yet another Clinician of the Year

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Feb. 8, 2013

Rosemary Laird, a member of the Orlando Regional Campus clerkship faculty, has become the second consecutive College of Medicine faculty member to be named Clinician of the Year by the American Geriatrics Society.

“Because of the exemplary clinical care and sincere compassion that you provide to your patients,” AGS President-elect Cathy Alessi wrote in a Feb. 7 email to Laird, medical director of Health First Aging Services in Melbourne, Fla., “[we] felt you were the ideal candidate for this award.”

Laird is quick to point out that she shares the honor with her team at Health First and her extended family at both the FSU Department of Geriatrics and the AGS.

“Especially as a geriatrician,” she said, “I know that the work of caring for frail elders is not accomplished well by any one person. You need a strong and multidisciplinary care team – including family and professional caregivers – working with you and your patients.

“Not a day goes by that a patient or family member doesn’t point out to me how much they enjoy coming to our clinic because of how much they can tell we care about them. And this is despite the fact that for many of these patients, we do not have a ‘cure’ or easy fix for their ailments. Doesn’t seem likely they’d be thanking us for not curing them, does it? I am proud to be a geriatrician and to work with a team of professionals who practice patient-centered and evidence-based care and deliver it with unwavering respect and compassion no matter the frailties of our patients.”

Laird is co-author of “Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss.” She learned of her award just two days before she came to an annual Alzheimer’s Conference in Tallahassee, where her keynote address was a message to caregivers to take care of their own health.

“Dr. Laird really ‘walks the walk’ described in her book and constantly keeps the well-being of her patients foremost in her mind,” said Alice Pomidor, a professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Geriatrics and past president of the Florida Geriatrics Society, who helped organize the conference. “She is tireless when it comes to furthering excellent geriatric care, and is the immediate past president of the Florida Geriatrics Society. I see her as a great role model for our students from the FSU College of Medicine when it comes to serving older adults in Florida.”

The students have no shortage of role models. Last year’s AGS Clinician of the Year was Niharika Suchak, associate professor in the Department of Geriatrics.

“We are very proud that yet another FSU geriatrician has been named the Clinician of the Year,” Department Chair Ken Brummel-Smith said. “I think having two clinicians from a relatively small program speaks very highly of the Florida Legislature’s intent to improve the quality of geriatric education in Florida and to improve the care provided to older people in our state. Looking through the list of excellent clinicians recognized by the AGS since 1993, when the award was first given, I didn’t see any other medical school whose clinical faculty had two representatives.”

Laird said her connection to the FSU Department of Geriatrics has been a tremendous help over the years, and her whole team looks forward to having students rotate with them.

She will receive her award May 4 at the AGS annual meeting.

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