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Spring has sprung and we're ready for the annual AGS meeting!

Dr. Marie Bernard
Marie A. BERNARD [Former NIA Staff],
Deputy Director,
Office of the Director (OD)

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” ― Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy was partly right. At NIA, we are busy with plans and projects all year long, but each spring we are exceptionally abuzz ahead of the annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). We hope you can join us at this year’s meeting, to be held May 2-4 in Portland, Oregon. AGS is always a great place to learn what’s happening at NIA, and that is especially true since we both celebrate landmark anniversaries in 2019—NIA’s 45th and AGS’s 75th! Neither of us are newcomers now, and we have much shared history.

Join us for key events

As we’ve done in recent years, NIA and the AGS Research Committee are offering two symposia—one for early career researchers new to aging and one for established researchers who have received at least one R01 or equivalent award.

First up is The ABCs of NIA Grantsmanship–For Early Stage Researchers and their Mentors. This year’s session will again start bright and early (Thursday, May 2, 8:15 a.m., Room B113-B114). It is aimed at investigators with current research training or career development awards, including T, F, or K funding; recipients of Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists' Transition to Aging Research (GEMSSTARs); or anyone interested in learning more about these types of opportunities.

In this session, podium presentations will be brief. The main idea is to allow you (current and aspiring recipients of training, fellowship, and career awards and early-stage investigators) to ask questions of the program staff, who will be organized in groups to address K awards, response to critique and the review process, communication strategies with program officers, and other topics of interest such as the Butler-Williams Scholars program. We also want to allow enough time for you to rotate between staff at different tables. Of course, that is not to obtain a different answer to the same question! But crossing between tables can give you different perspectives, and that’s important.

Later that day (1:30 p.m., Room B113-B114) we will host the NIA Symposium for Researchers at Mid-Career and Beyond–Opportunities for Established Researchers. This symposium is intended for independently funded researchers at mid-career and senior levels, including Center directors, training directors, and established investigators. I will give a brief overview of NIA’s budget and priority areas, followed by Dr. Basil Eldadah’s update on changes in clinical trials expectations. This session will also feature the NIA 45th Anniversary Trivia Challenge with prizes for the winners!

As in the earlier session, most of the time will be devoted to small-group meetings with NIA program staff representing our divisions and key programs, this time grouped by division/discipline. This event is a good occasion to learn more about current and forthcoming NIA funding opportunities (including those for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias), and NIA’s future priorities and research directions.

Another session of interest is the Medical Subspecialties Section Meeting (Saturday, May 4, 7 a.m., Portland Ballroom 254). Our own Dr. Susan Zieman will be part of a keynote discussion panel on how to navigate cultural challenges between the subspecialties and aging. Members of the AGS Medical Subspecialties Section will provide updates on activities within their disciplines, pointing out opportunities for medical and surgical subspecialists to advance the geriatrics agenda within their specialty societies and institutions.

See you in the exhibit hall!

Finally, please stop by booth #103 to visit NIA at AGS. The exhibit hall is open on Thursday, May 2, from noon to 6 p.m. and Friday, May 3, from noon to 4 p.m. We’ll have the latest publications and research information from NIA for you to take home, as well as friendly staff to answer questions about NIA funding, outreach opportunities, and more.

I look forward to seeing you in Portland in person for further discussion of many interesting plans and projects!

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