Developing new model for geriatric medicine


Dr. George Heckman, a physician specializing in aging and cardiovascular disease, joins Waterloo as the Schlegel Research Chair in Geriatric Medicine with the Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging, and Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems.

Heckman’s role, supported by the University, the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and philanthropist Ronald Schlegel, involves teaching students, treating seniors, conducting research and serving as the geriatric specialist across the LHIN.

Heckman believes that frailty and chronic diseases can be proactively managed, with the goal of keeping seniors as functional as possible wherever they live, decreasing the need for hospitalization, and ultimately reducing pressures on long-term care. His work with the LHIN involves collecting an inventory of services and identifying barriers to seniors’ care. He will then collaborate with community partners to redevelop and improve services based on evidence, measure the outcomes, and adjust initiatives when necessary.

“Many seniors end up in alternate levels of care because of preventable problems such as falls, fractures and complications associated with heart disease,” explains Heckman. “The solution is to prevent it from happening in the first place.”