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Beck Earns GSA’s 2012 M. Powell Lawton Award

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For Immediate Release
August 13, 2012

Contact: Todd Kluss
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(202) 587-2839

Beck Earns GSA’s 2012 M. Powell Lawton Award

The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) — the nation’s largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to the field of aging — has chosen Cornelia Beck, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) as the 2012 recipient of the M. Powell Lawton Award.

This distinguished honor recognizes a significant contribution in gerontology that has led to an innovation in gerontological treatment, practice or service, prevention, amelioration of symptoms or barriers, or a public policy change that has led to some practical application that improves the lives of older persons. It is sponsored by the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life’s Polisher Research Institute and is named in memory of M. Powell Lawton, PhD, for his outstanding contributions to applied gerontological research.

The award presentation will take place at GSA’s 65th Annual Scientific Meeting, which will be held from November 14 to 18 in San Diego. This conference is organized to foster interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers, educators, and practitioners who specialize in the study of the aging process. Visit www.geron.org/annualmeeting for further details.

At UAMS, Beck is a professor and the Louise Hearn Chair in Dementia and Long-term Care Research in the Department of Geriatrics within the College of Medicine, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the College of Nursing, and the College of Public Health.  She also is the co-director of the UAMS Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence and the co-director of the UAMS Translational Research Institute, where she is actively involved in changing public policy that will lead to improvements in the lives of older persons.

Beck has devoted her career to clinical and services interventions aimed at improving care at the provider/patient interface. Her research focuses on testing non-drug interventions to alleviate problem behavior and promote functional performance in persons with dementia.  More recently, she has worked on strategies to improve best practices in long-term care settings.

Her studies began with the application of behavioral techniques that had been used with stroke and head injury to persons with dementia. Using an individualized approach based on a person’s remaining cognitive abilities, her research team was able to demonstrate that ability to perform activities of daily living could be retained for a longer period of time — and even improved. This work has been replicated by a number of other investigators and disseminated broadly through training videos, publications, and presentations.

Beck also is a previous winner of GSA’s Doris Schwartz Gerontological Nursing Research Award.

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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,400+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education.

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