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George Demiris, PhD, FACMI, Elected for Membership to the National Academy of Medicine

Election to the National Academy of Medicine is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

George Demiris, PhD, FACMI, a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor (PIK), has been elected for membership to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Demiris holds joint faculty appointments in Penn Nursing’s Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences and the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics of Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine

Election to the National Academy of Medicine is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

New members are elected by current members through a process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health. A diversity of talent among NAM’s membership is assured by its Articles of Organization, which stipulate that at least one-quarter of the membership is selected from fields outside the health professions — for example, from such fields as law, engineering, social sciences, and the humanities.

“These newly elected members represent the most exceptional scholars and leaders whose remarkable work has advanced science, medicine, and health in the U.S. and around the globe,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “Their expertise will be vital to addressing today’s most pressing health and scientific challenges and informing the future of health and medicine for the benefit of us all. I am honored to welcome these esteemed individuals to the National Academy of Medicine.”

The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the NAM works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. The NAM collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

About Dr. Demiris

Demiris has been at the forefront of the intersection of informatics and nursing science, and his work has introduced new and innovative approaches to old problems in gerontology. He is exploring innovative ways to utilize technology and support patients and their families in various settings including home and hospice care. He has conducted numerous federally funded studies and his work has been funded consistently over the years both by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Demiris’ expertise is in designing and evaluating “smart home” solutions for aging, and in understanding the potential of “Internet of Things” and wearable devices or digitally augmented residential settings to facilitate passive monitoring and support independence and quality of life for community dwelling older adults. His research provides evidence-based recommendations as to how to design systems that are easily adopted by older adults and integrated in their lives. Such emerging systems introduce challenges and opportunities in terms of engaging older adults in decision making, making sense of vast amounts of data and promoting effective data visualizations as well as addressing ethical considerations. He has examined the challenges of privacy and obtrusiveness in the context of technology use, and he has provided a comprehensive examination of technical, ethical, and practical challenges associated with the use of technology to support aging.

Demiris’ research also focuses on the use of information technology to support family caregivers and explore innovative solutions to promote patient and family engagement. He is a co-founder of the Hospice Caregiving Research Network, an initiative led by researchers from various academic disciplines committed to designing and testing interventions to support family caregivers of patients at the end of life. In this context he is currently conducting a clinical trial to examine the impact of a behavioral intervention for hospice caregivers informed by problem solving therapy and positive reappraisal, using various informatics tools.