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About Us

The Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, an integral part of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University since 1997, is dedicated to serving the physical, social, mental health and environmental needs of older adults. Since its inception, it has developed many innovative programs to serve the comprehensive needs of older adults, including Environmental Geriatrics, an environmental and home safety research and educational program. Under the direction of Rosemary Bakker, this program educates providers on how age-appropriate design can improve the safety and function of older adults with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities. Among our many accomplishments are the following:

Medical Education

A grant from the Donald W. Reynolds allowed the Division to develop educational materials in Environmental Geriatrics including:
  • An interactive multimedia course on Environmental Geriatrics, with graphics and animations, that teaches medical students and physicians how avoidable disability and injury can be reduced through age-appropriate design.
  • A mandatory wheelchair exercise through New York Presbyterian Hospital by all first year medical students to learn first-hand the environmental barriers experienced by older patients in wheelchairs. The poster, Medical Students Navigate Teaching Hospital in Wheelchairs: Sensitization to Environmental Barriers Experienced by Patients with Disabilities, won the 2005 Presidential Award in Geriatric Education awarded by the American Geriatrics Society.
  • Educational materials on helping physicians understand the similarities and differences between nursing homes and assisted living residences so physicians can make appropriate referrals and ensure that a patient's health-related needs are met.
  • Patient handouts on environmental design, including environmental design for people with Alzheimer's disease and low vision.

Service Providers Education

  • Multiple Task Forces to address the unmet needs of elders living in the community

Home Modification Resources


We have conducted numerous training programs on home modifications, fall prevention, and home safety for individuals with dementia.

Product Testing

We have designed engineering tests for various products, including bathing equipment and grab bar fasteners. We have also tested a global positioning system (GPS) to assess the feasibility of the product as an intervention tool for older adults with memory loss who wander. Ms. Bakker has presented her data at various national conferences.
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