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A legend comes to Maris Grove

Dr. Joel Posner joins medical center

Created date

July 14th, 2009

Maris Grove welcomed world-renowned geriatrician Dr. Joel Posner to its medical center staff on June 1. He joins Dr. Phil Taylor and Dr. Heidi Syropoulos, and among the three geriatricians, they have a combined 79 years of experience. Posner received his medical degree in 1970 from the University of Montpeiller in southern France, the oldest medical school in the world. He lectures and teaches around the globe on geriatrics and served as a private consultant for pharmaceutical and insurance companies for several years. He says he now welcomes the opportunity to work with patients again at Maris Grove. Ironically, Syropoulos had interviewed to work with Posner years ago, but by the time she started, he had moved on to a new position. He s a legend in the field, says Taylor, and both doctors couldn t be more pleased that he s joined the team. Healthy motivator Exercise and nutrition are important pillars of study for Dr. Posner as they relate to older adults. He helped establish the Philadelphia Geriatric Center where he studied exercise in the aging population. It s a proven fact, Posner says. Exercise in older adults cuts down on hospitalization. Through multiple studies, Posner has been able to prove that there are things the body loses as it ages, like the fast twitch muscle fibers that one can regain with a weight lifting program. Exercise is vital for everyone but especially older adults, Posner says. Every person can make progress in an exercise program as long as he sticks with it. Keeping the body active helps to build muscles, which metabolize sugars in the body; it benefits small and large vessels and decreases abnormal fat storage. It also helps with balance, thus decreasing incidents of falls, one of the biggest issues for aging adults. The Erickson model of geriatrics Generally, geriatrics refers to patients over the age of 65 but not always. To be under the care of a geriatrician depends on the person s physiology, needs, functionality, and state of health. Everyone carries their experiences in their bodies, making the body more layered and complex as it ages. Geriatrics focuses on patients in a more holistic fashion with a focus on function and maintaining function, Syropoulos says. Geriatricians look at what s contributing to the condition, considering all levels of daily life such as activity level and health care choices. To care for geriatric patients, one needs to take the proper amount of time with the patient, and Maris Grove allows its doctors to do that. The Erickson model gives us the time we need to spend on each patient, Syropoulos says. The older body is much different than the younger body, and there needs to be a different way of approaching it, says Taylor. It s an art. To Posner, it s about viewing his patients as friends. We are generally interested in finding out who graduated, who got married, who had a baby. There s a closeness that s not in the average doctor-patient relationship. Above all, we re not rushed. Nobody dictates the time I can spend with my patients. Without that, I couldn t function, he says. There s no doubt that Posner s passion and expertise will help offer residents at Maris Grove the time, attention, and care they deserve. We are extremely fortunate to have the expertise and forward thinking of Dr. Posner, says Maris Grove Executive Director Maureen Heckler.