Einstein/Montefiore Department of Medicine

Giftos Awarded Geriatrics Scholarship

Jonathan Giftos, MD

Dr. Jonathan Giftos was selected for the Bechtel Geriatrics Scholarship Award Summit at University of California San Francisco (UCSF).

Currently a PGY-1 in the Primary Care and Social Internal Medicine Residency Training Program, Dr. Giftos earned a BS in Chemistry at Boston College and a MD at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he was involved in numerous educational and advocacy projects related to aging, primary care, palliative care, and health disparities. During medical school he was elected to the Gold Humanism Honor Society and the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society, and at commencement he was awarded the Ellen Parker Memorial Award for Outstanding Service in Geriatrics. Prior to medical school he worked as an immigration social worker in Camden, New Jersey and at Abraham House, an organization providing alternatives to incarceration in the South Bronx. From 2007 to 2008, he worked at Montefiore on a project titled "A Collaborative Approach to Control Hypertension in Diabetes", a pilot intervention to improve blood pressure and related diabetes outcomes in the Bronx. 

Through working in low-income communities, Dr. Giftos began to see the dramatic way that social forces such as poverty, substance abuse, and unstable housing affect health outcomes. It was this interest in the social determinants of health that attracted him to the Einstein/Montefiore residency program. 

"Being a physician at Montefiore is a tremendous privilege--the patients are diverse and resilient and they teach me something new every day," said Dr. Giftos. "But being sick can be destabilizing, and we often meet patients at their most vulnerable moments when advanced age, illness, or poverty has robbed them of their dignity. In small but meaningful ways we can restore that lost dignity through compassionate, patient-centered care. Equally as important, we can leverage our position as physicians to advocate for institutional and public policies that better serve our patients and their families." 

Dr Giftos also has an evolving interest in palliative care, a field dedicated to providing relief from suffering and an improved quality of life for patients with advanced illness.

"As medical care has become more complex and therapeutic interventions have become more sophisticated, the choices that patients need to make at the end of their lives have become more difficult," Dr. Giftos said. "But while these moments can be very challenging for both patients and families, good palliative care can make these moments less stressful by bringing renewed focus to the person behind the illness."

He recently submitted a proposal to the Harvard Macy Institute to develop a practical skills-based palliative care curriculum for medicine interns at Montefiore.

The Bechtel Award Summit identifies interns and residents with a burgeoning interest in geriatrics demonstrated through outstanding scholarly or research achievements. Dr. Giftos is among a select group of winners chosen for their likelihood for success in academic medicine and the quality of their scholarly activity.

Dr. Giftos will present his work on cultural humility and palliative care at the Bechtel Award Summit at UCSF on June 14, 2013.

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