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Heffner Appointed Associate Chief of Research for Geriatrics

  By Patrick Broadwater
  Thursday, January 25, 2018

Kathi Heffner, PhD, an accomplished researcher whose work focuses on stress and aging, has been named associate chief of research for the Division of Geriatrics and Aging in the Department of Medicine.

Kathi Heffner

An associate professor with a primary appointment in the School of Nursing and secondary appointments in medicine and psychiatry, Heffner was selected for the position in October after a national search. In her administrative role as associate chief, she will aim to help strengthen the research enterprise within the division, as well as expand collaboration among geriatrics and aging researchers across the university.

“We want research in our division to be as successful and as nationally and internationally known as the clinical and education programs, and Kathi is absolutely the right person to help us do that,” said Annette Medina-Walpole, MD, Paul H. Fine Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of Geriatrics and Aging. “She is a brilliant investigator, extremely thoughtful, and a superb mentor, which is critical in leading a program.

“We’re excited about this partnership with the School of Nursing. Geriatrics is really an interdisciplinary field that involves members of many other disciplines and specialties. To have a faculty member from the School of Nursing join our division is a natural marriage.”

“The School of Nursing and the Division of Geriatrics and Aging have long maintained a very strong collaborative relationship in clinical and educational activities, and I’m excited for the opportunity to expand our joint efforts in research,” said Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, dean of the School of Nursing. “I see this as a new model for collaborative research within the Medical Center, and I am confident that Kathi will do an excellent job helping to guide this ongoing partnership in a new and exciting direction.”

Heffner’s expertise and leadership in geriatrics will be instrumental in helping to bring researchers together for multidisciplinary collaborations, as well as organizing projects around central ideas or themes.

“The Department of Medicine is very excited to welcome Kathi,” said Patricia Sime, MD, the C. Jane Davis & C. Robert Davis Distinguished Chair in Pulmonary Medicine and vice chair of the Department of Medicine for research. “Her skills will help foster interdepartmental research efforts and grow our research missions making a national and international impact on aging in health and disease.”

In addition to serving as principal investigator on multiple federally funded research projects, Heffner was recently selected as a scholar in the Tideswell UCSF Emerging Leaders in Aging Program, and is PI and program director for the Healthy Aging Research Program supported by the Clinical Translational Science Institute, the School of Nursing, and the Department of Psychiatry.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to help advance geriatrics and aging research at the university,” said Heffner. “I really enjoy mentoring, connecting people for interdisciplinary collaboration, and helping investigators think through their research. I’m very excited to apply these skills to strengthening the impact of our aging research on older adults’ well-being and health care.”

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