NIDUS is led through the efforts of 13 co-investigators from 11 institutions throughout the United States. Each team member is an established researcher and/or clinician in the field of delirium research, who brings expertise from various fields including geriatrics, general medicine, anesthesiology, pulmonary/critical care, hospital medicine, rehabilitation, surgery, nursing, social work, epidemiology and statistics.
Sharon K. Inouye, MD, MPH
Overall Principal Investigator
Dr. Sharon K. Inouye is the Director of the Aging Brain Center at the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston, Massachusetts. She holds the Milton and Shirley F. Levy Family Chair and is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center). Her research focuses on delirium and functional decline in hospitalized older patients, resulting in more than 250 peer-reviewed articles to date. Currently, she is the overall principal investigator of the Successful Aging after Elective Surgery (SAGES) study, an $11 million Program Project on delirium funded by the National Institute on Aging, as well as 5 other active NIH-funded research projects.
Dr. Inouye developed and validated the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM), the most widely-used instrument for the identification of delirium worldwide. She developed the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP), a multicomponent intervention strategy designed to prevent delirium by targeting six delirium risk factors. The HELP program has been adopted by over 200 hospitals worldwide.
Dr. Inouye was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine) in 2011. She has been elected to Fellowship status in the Gerontological Society of America (2013), the American College of Physicians (2015) and American Geriatrics Society (2015). She recently received the 2015 M. Powell Lawton Award from the Gerontological Society of America.
Eva Schmitt, PhD
Overall Program Director
Dr. Eva Schmitt, Assistant Scientist I, is the Associate Director of the Aging Brain Center in the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife, Boston MA, where she is responsible for the operations of the Aging Brain Center. Dr. Schmitt joined the Aging Brain Center in 2010 as the overall Director of the Successful Aging after Elective Surgery (SAGES) and Better Assessment of Illness (BASIL) studies. Dr. Schmitt has a Masters degree in Social Work from Germany and obtained a PhD in Social Gerontology from the University of Kassel, Germany. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, Department of Psychology, Community-Academic Research Alliance and was an appointed Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Prior to joining the Aging Brain Center, she was the Director of Program Evaluations at the Institute on Aging, a not-for-profit health care provider, and an evaluator of educational programs at the UCSF, Division of Geriatrics, in San Francisco, CA.
Measurement & Harmonization Core
Richard N. Jones, ScD
Leader, Measurement Harmonization Core
Dr. Richard Jones is an epidemiologist and methodologist. He leads the Quantitative Science Program (QSP) at the Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, the Department of Neurology, and the Norman Prince Neuropsychiatric Institute, where he holds appointments as an associate professor. Dr. Jones’ main research areas concern the cognitive reserve hypothesis and measurement and methodology in the clinical neurosciences. He is a Multi-PI of an NIH-funded R01 (R01AG044518) to harmonize and develop new delirium severity measures, and is also PI of a project to harmonize cognitive assessments used in the Health and Retirement Study and 15 international studies (R01AG051170). He has extensive psychometric expertise, with particular focus in harmonization of measures, in the areas of depression, cognition, and physical functioning.
Dale M. Needham, MD, PhD
Co-leader, Measurement Harmonization Core
Dr. Dale Needham is a Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He also holds an appointment in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Dr. Needham is director of the Outcomes After Critical Illness and Surgery (OACIS) Group at Johns Hopkins University. He has conducted extensive research on delirium in critically ill patients and post-ICU cognitive impairment, with a particular focus on preventive interventions in the ICU setting. He directs the Johns Hopkins Critical Care Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation program, which provides a clinical role model for comprehensive efforts to reduce the incidence and improvement the management of delirium in ICU settings.
Mentorship and Career Development Task Force
Donna Fick, PhD, MSN
Leader, Mentorship and Career Development Task Force
Donna Fick is the Elouise Ross Eberly Professor of Nursing, Professor of Medicine, and Director of the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, at Penn State. She is editor of the Journal of Gerontological Nursing. Dr. Fick is a senior nurse scientist with a strong history of external funding and scholarship in delirium and delirium superimposed on dementia. In 2009 she was awarded the John A. Hartford Geriatric Nursing Research Award. Her research interests are detection and management of delirium and delirium superimposed on dementia; nondrug interventions for persons with delirium; healthy cognitive aging; and inappropriate medication use in older adults. She currently serves as an MPI with Edward Marcantonio, MD, SM on an NIA funded study to test a 2-step delirium identification protocol with an ultra-brief delirium screener.
Dr. Fick participated on the American Geriatrics Society Delirium Guidelines panel and the Institute of Medicine Report on Cognitive Aging, along with Dr. Inouye. She has extensive experience in mentorship, co-directing the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at Penn State, serving as a Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) mentor from 2005-2010 and a Robert Wood Johnson Faculty Scholar mentor from 2013-2018. She has mentored over 20 graduate and 50 undergraduate students to date.
E. Wesley Ely, MD, MPH
Co-leader, Mentorship and Career Development Task Force
Dr. E. Wesley Ely, MD, MPH is a sub-specialist in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine with a focus in Geriatrics, who conducts patient-oriented, health services research as a Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He earned his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine and master’s in public health degree from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Ely’s research has focused on improving the care and outcomes of critically ill patients with severe sepsis and respiratory failure, with special emphasis on the problems facing older patients in the ICU (e.g., weaning from mechanical ventilation, delirium in the ICU, neuropsychological and functional deficits post ICU care). He was elected to membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and serves as the Associate Director of Aging Research for the VA Tennessee Valley Geriatric Research and Education Clinical Center (GRECC).
As the founder of the Vanderbilt ICU Delirium and Cognitive Impairment Study Group, he currently serves as the principal investigator for the Coordinating Center’s ongoing clinical trials in sedation and delirium and post-ICU cognitive impairment. Among other studies, Dr. Ely is currently the principal investigator of two large NIH-sponsored and VA-sponsored cohort investigations in ICU patients, with a focus on delirium and sedative/analgesic drug exposure and acquired cognitive and functional impairment in survivors of the critical illness.
Delirium Research Hub (Research Resource Core)
Edward R. Marcantonio, MD, SM
Leader, Delirium Research Hub
Dr. Edward Marcantonio is the Section Chief for Research in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at BIDMC, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Marcantonio is an internationally recognized expert and clinical investigator in the area of delirium. He currently leads two NIH-funded R01 studies in this area focused on improving diagnostic strategies for delirium, and biomarker discovery for delirium. Dr. Marcantonio's broader research interests include improving quality of care for hospitalized older adults, predictors of hospitalization and unplanned hospital readmission, and outcomes of non-cardiac and cardiac surgery in older adults.
Dr. Marcantonio serves as BIDMC site director of the HMS Fellowship in General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, teaches Epidemiology in the Clinical Effectiveness Program at Harvard School of Public Health, and has mentored nearly 50 students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty members. He has received the BIDMC Center for Faculty Development's Excellence in Mentoring Award, the HMS A. Clifford Barger Award for Excellence in Mentorship, and currently holds a Mid-Career Mentoring Award in Patient-Oriented Research from the National Institute on Aging. He also has been nationally recognized for his research, having received the Paul Beeson Physician Scholarship in Aging Research, the American Geriatrics Society Outstanding Scientific Achievement in Clinical Investigation Award, and is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians.
Pratik Pandharipande, MD, MSCI
Co-leader, Delirium Research Hub
Dr. Pratik Pandharipande is Professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Pandharipande is board certified in anesthesiology with a subspecialty certification in critical care medicine. He has an established track record for organizing and leading multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary clinical research projects.
Dr Pandharipandes' interests are focused on sedation in the ICU and the role of sedative medications in delirium and cognitive impairment in critically ill patients. He co-directs the ICU Delirium and Cognitive Impairment Study Group at Vanderbilt University, which recently completed the NIA sponsored BRAIN-ICU study and is presently conducting two large RCTs with >1000 participants.
Thomas G. Travison, PhD
Co-leader, Delirium Research Hub
Dr. Thomas Travison is a biostatistician and clinical trialist whose work focuses on the epidemiology and treatment of illnesses of aging. He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of Biostatistics at the Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research. Dr. Travison is also Core Leader and Director of the Biostatistical Design and Analysis Core of the Boston Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. His recent work has been particularly focused on strategies for the development and testing of multimodal interventions for complex illnesses that disproportionately affect older adults, such as mobility disability and frailty, and on the endocrinology of aging. He has served as investigator and/or lead statistician on multiple large longitudinal studies in aging, including the Massachusetts Male Aging Study and the Boston Area Community Health / Bone investigation. Dr. Travison’s methodologic work likewise focuses on methods for the study of complex outcomes, and on innovations in graphical data display.
His educational activities focus on the teaching of biostatistics and statistical computing to data scientists and biomedical professionals, and he has formally and informally mentored numerous statisticians, clinical fellows, data analysts, project and data managers.
Sarinnapha Vasunilashorn, PhD
Co-Leader, Delirium Research Hub
Pilots and Innovation Task Force
Thomas Robinson, MD
Leader, Pilots and Innovation Task Force
Dr. Thomas Robinson is Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Chief of Surgery at the Denver Veterans Administration Medical Center. Dr. Robinson’s research focuses on postoperative delirium, frailty’s relationship to surgical outcomes, and incorporation of geriatric specialty variables into outcomes datasets. In a landmark study, he demonstrated that frailty predicts poor surgical outcomes, and he is the creator of a frailty index which predicts postoperative complications across surgical specialties. Dr. Robinson has published extensively on the diagnosis and management of postoperative delirium, and is a leader in innovative approaches to evaluating risk factors and improving outcomes of postoperative delirium.
Michael Avidan, MBBCh
Co-leader, Pilots and Innovation Task Force
Dr. Michael Avidan is a Professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery at Washington University. He is also the Division Chief of Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology and Cardiothoracic Intensive Care. His research interests include intraoperative awareness, postoperative delirium and cognitive alteration, brain monitoring during surgery, and postoperative outcomes.
He has a strong track record in creating innovations and building research collaborations, leading large interventional and observational studies on delirium and postoperative outcomes. In 2015, he received the Delirium Champion Award from the American Delirium Society. He is the PI on a 1300-patient, NIA-funded trial to determine whether EEG guidance of anesthesia can prevent postoperative delirium (NCT02241655), and on an international, multicenter study focusing on the prevention of postoperative delirium with sub-anesthetic ketamine (NCT01690988).
Dissemination Task Force
Andrew Auerbach, MD
Leader, Dissemination Task Force
Dr. Andrew Auerbach is Professor of Medicine in Residence at UCSF and Director of Research Division of Hospital Medicine. He completed his medical residency training at Yale New Haven Hospital and a fellowship in General Internal Medicine at Harvard where he was trained in clinical epidemiology, multivariable modeling, cost-effectiveness analysis, and health services research. He joined the faculty at UCSF as the nation's first clinician-researcher primarily focused on the hospitalist model in 1998. His research at UCSF has primarily focused on assessments of patient outcomes in different systems of care, with a special interest in the hospitalist model and perioperative medicine, and a focus on quality measurement and implementation research.
Dr. Auerbach is the Co-PI of the Hospital Medicine Reengineering Network and site PI for a number of multicenter trials in quality improvement where UCSF is a key participant. He also teaches in the Training in Clinical Research program at UCSF, as well as co-directing the Primary Care Research fellowship. Finally, he is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Hospital Medicine, the flagship peer-reviewed journal in Hospital Medicine.
Jan Busby-Whitehead, MD
Co-leader, Dissemination Task Force
Dr. Jan Busby-Whitehead is the Mary and Thomas Hudson Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at the University of North Carolina Medical Center. She also directs the Center for Aging and Health and the Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine.
Dr. Busby-Whitehead’s clinical interests include geriatric syndromes such as urinary and fecal incontinence, memory disorders, falls, functional decline and polypharmacy. Her current research projects include assessment of racial disparities regarding treatment of urinary incontinence in Southeastern United States nursing homes and developing and testing a treatment program for fecal incontinence in frail elders. She is an expert in geriatric functional assessment and geriatric syndromes including delirium. As Director of the Donald W. Reynolds Next Steps Program for Geriatrics Training for Specialists, she helped develop innovative approaches to improve delirium recognition and management.