Academic journal article Generations

Our Guest Editor

Academic journal article Generations

Our Guest Editor

Article excerpt

More than 250,000 older people are hospitalized each year for hip fractures, most of which are due to falls. To address the complex phenomenon of falls among older people, Generations is fortunate to have a guest editor with the ideal combination of multidisciplinary training and broad practical experience.

Sharon Tennstedt is vice president of the New England Research Institutes (NERI) and director of the Institute of Aging Studies at NERI, where she oversees all research activities concerning older people and the aging process. She serves on the faculties of the Boston University School of Public Health and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and holds a B.A. in nursing, a master's degree in psychiatric mental health nursing, and a Ph.D. in medical sociology.

"I've ended up doing what I once dreaded, but I'm very happy," she says. As a nursing student, Tennstedt once got herself transferred to a burn unit rather than do a rotation with older patients. But involvement with community agencies in graduate school put her in touch with elders, first in mental health, then in community services. She became director of an area agency on aging, and her professional efforts have focused on later life ever since. "I loved working with the older people," she says.

In school, Tennstedt had also vowed to avoid a career in research. Now she is one of the pre-eminent researchers in aging and has directed and served as principal investigator on a number of groundbreaking observational studies and intervention trials. In the early eighties, she became interested in the interface of the formal service system with provision of care by family and friends: "I was running an agency that provided those services, but it was obvious that we weren't giving most of the care," she says. …

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