The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) has named Dr. Halima Amjad an Outstanding Junior Investigator of the Year for 2023. This award was established to recognize outstanding achievement in geriatric research by a junior investigator who is in the career development stage of their research career.
An active member of the AGS, Dr. Amjad has a passion for health services research and dementia care. Dr. Amjad’s body of research encompasses 34 peer-reviewed publications, including: 13 first- or senior-author research manuscripts; five invited commentaries; and seven oral abstract presentations.
Dr. Amjad has received an impressive total of seven internal and external research and career development awards to date, including: a KL2 award; a Johns Hopkins Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center for Minority Aging Research pilot award; an NIA R03 award; and an NIA K23 award.
Through these grants, Dr. Amjad has researched potentially unsafe activities and healthcare utilization in older adults living undiagnosed or unaware of dementia, diagnosis challenges in minoritized older adults, and practical interventions to facilitate high-quality post-diagnosis care for dementia in primary care settings.
Upon learning of this fabulous news, we checked in with Dr. Amjad and asked three quick questions.
Tony Teano: Congratulations! How does this amazing recognition make you feel?
Dr. Amjad: I feel humbled, honored, excited and grateful. In academic medicine and with amazing colleagues, it’s easy to feel like I’m not doing enough. This recognition reminds me that what I am doing is more than enough. I’m grateful not just for the recognition but for all the support that led to this award. I’m grateful for the training, mentorship, collaborations, colleagues, and students at Johns Hopkins and COAH that support my research.
Tony Teano: Of what three research projects are you most proud and why?
Dr. Amjad: I’m proud of every project I’ve led or collaborated on so it’s hard to pick specific ones. I’m proud of the body of work I’m building on individuals living undiagnosed or unaware of dementia, moving from describing these populations to understanding their health utilization outcomes to thinking about how we can link diagnosis and awareness to high quality care. Within that work, I’m particularly proud of the qualitative research we’re doing. Being able to hear and amplify the voices of patients, caregivers, and frontline primary care clinicians and staff is so important and enlightening–it reminds us of why we are doing the research while we’re in the field. I’m also proud of the research I’m working on for the Maximizing Independence at Home (MIND at Home) dementia care coordination studies and programs, led by my mentor Dr. Quincy Samus. We’ve been able to learn so much about dementia care needs and how to address those needs. It is particularly exciting to support health plans and clinics that are actively implementing the program. We get to see the research making a difference for individuals living with dementia and their caregivers.
Tony Teano: What impact does this award have on your drive to do more research in the future?
Dr. Amjad: This award renews my drive to build upon the research I’ve done. Research can feel like a slog at times, and I often have to step back to look at the big picture. With this award and stepping back to reflect on the dementia journey my dad, my patients, and so many others experience, I’m motivated to push forward until we make real changes in the care and support we provide in dementia, guided by the research so many of us are doing.
Congratulations, again, Dr. Amjad! Your COAH family are, as ever, duly impressed and proud to work with you.
Dr. Halima Amjad is Core Faculty at the Johns Hopkins University Center on Aging & Health, and Assistant Professor of Medicine with the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.
For more information about this AGS honor, visit: AGS HONORS EXPERT & EMERGING GERIATRICS LEADERS AT 2023 ANNUAL SCIENTIFIC MEETING (#AGS23)
By Anthony L. Teano, MLA