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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Meet Arizona’s new Geriatrician of the Year, Dr. Jeannie K. Lee

Meet Dr. Jeannie K. Lee, the assistant director for the UA Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science, an associate professor in the UA College of Pharmacy and the newly recognized Geriatrician of the Year.

The Arizona Geriatrics Society “recognizes and honors exemplary and outstanding health care professionals who are passionate about caring for older adults and have made significant contributions in the field of geriatric medicine or gerontology” each year. This year, the society selected Lee.

Lee said the start of her medical career in the medical field began after her graduation from the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, when she began her pharmacy residency training at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington D.C. Lee then began full-time clinical work in Washington at a Department of Defense facility and soon began developing inter-professional clinical programs within internal medicine, cardiology and geriatrics.

After about eight years, Lee said she came into the education side of her profession.

“I really enjoy teaching and interacting with students and the mentoring aspect of academia,” Lee said.

Lee currently works at the Southern Arizona VA, the Banner – Health University Medical Center and still actively practices. She is also a research associate for the Arizona Center on Aging, which served as a mentorship for Lee when she began teaching and has helped her continue her research.

Lee focuses on geriatrics, the branch of medicine that deals with the health and care of the elderly.

“I really love working with older adults,” Lee said. “Because caring for adults takes a village sometimes, inter-professional practice is natural and is a very team-oriented care environment, which I really enjoy working in.”

Lee said her interest in geriatrics began with her close relationship with her grandparents, who she grew up with and lived in the same home with.

“I think I had a natural tendency to interact well with older patients,” Lee said.

If Lee had to choose one of the many wonderful aspects of her job, she said she would choose the impact she has on patients, the inter-professional care team and her students.

“The challenging part of being in geriatrics is that there are more questions than answers,” Lee said. Because of the other health issues that come along with older age, Lee described the difficulty of research studies with frail, older adults.

Unlike many other careers, Lee finds herself never knowing what each day will bring.

“Because I teach, research and work on clinical practice as well as a lot of service related to our college and department, my day is different every single day,” Lee said.

What does remain constant, however, is Lee’s interaction with patients, students and colleagues. However, Lee tries to “carve out time” to work on her research projects.

“No two days are the same, it’s a new day every day,” she said.

Lee said she is honored to be recognized by the Arizona Geriatrics Society as the Geriatrician of the Year.

“It’s really a huge honor for me, and I’m really glad to be able to work with the Arizona Geriatrics Society to educate our providers to provide better care for our older adults,” Lee said.

Lee applauds the society and the work it does to ensure care of the elderly. She said she feels “we’re all in this together.”

Follow Amanda Oien on Twitter.

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