Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center - North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System
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North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System

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Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center

The Geriatric, Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (GRECCs) are Department of Veterans Affairs centers of excellence focused on aging. GRECCS are located at VA medical centers across the country. Each individual GRECC is connected with a major research university and has its unique focus. Staff at the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System GRECC integrate our research, education and clinical innovation missions towards improving health care quality and safety for older Veterans and their caregivers. We primarily utilize health services and implementation science approaches to create new knowledge in areas including caregiver health, delirium, falls and resource utilization. Our educational programs train students, providers and researchers in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, psychology and other health professions.  Our clinical innovations demonstrate the feasibility of new approaches to patient centered and cost-effective care. GRECC has a wide variety of collaborations with other VA facilities and with the University of Florida.

 Dr. Ronald I. Shorr, MD, MS

Ruth Franklin
Administrative Officer

GRECC Faculty


Rebecca (Becca) Beyth, M.D., M.Sc.

Dr. Beyth is the Associate Director for Clinical Innovation and also serves as a tenured Professor of Medicine at the University of Florida. Dr. Beyth received her MD from Jefferson Medical College and completed training in Internal Medicine at the Michigan State University. In addition, she completed a General Medicine Fellowship in Clinical Epidemiology and a Clinical Geriatrics Fellowship at Case Western Reserve University, and obtained a Master’s of Science degree in Clinical Research Design and Analysis from The University of Michigan Rackham School of Public Health.

Dr. Beyth’s expertise is in clinical epidemiology and health services research with a special emphasis on improving the use of antithrombotics, enhancing the understanding of risk in clinical decision-making and incorporating evidence-based medicine (EBM) into clinical practice. She has been the recipient of a NIA Clinical Investigator Award (K08), and a VA HSR&D Career Development Award; she has served as a PI and Co-investigator on NIH, VA-funded grants, and grants from professional societies. Her research experience has led her to become the “go to” mentor for junior faculty and trainees interested in developing a clinical research career.

She serves as Deputy Editor for the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and has been the lead author in publications in JAMA, Annals of Internal medicine, and the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. She has been Chair of Society of General Internal Medicine’s EBM Task Force, and has been recognized for her excellence in teaching the EBM problem-based curriculum from the University of Florida’s College of Medicine.

Carmen Fernandez, Psy.D.

Dr. Fernandez serves as the Associate Director for Education and Evaluation of the Gainesville GRECC and has a courtesy appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Aging at the University of Florida. She is a licensed neuropsychologist specializing in assessment of dementia and traumatic brain injury. Dr. Fernandez achieved a Doctor of Psychology degree in Clinical Psychology with specialization in neuropsychology at the Florida Institute of Technology. She completed internship training at Eastern Virginia Medical School where she specialized in neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology, and subsequently completed a fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University, specializing in the assessment of traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Fernandez has led clinical demonstration projects related to dementia education; caregiver support; women’s health education; and rural provider education, with funding awarded from regional and national VA sources. She has collaborated and consulted on research related to cognitive functioning and aging processes. She has also been an active collaborator on local and national dementia and delirium education initiatives. Dr. Fernandez has held numerous leadership and supervisory roles in a wide variety of clinical settings and has been a clinical educator for over 20 years. She participates in multiple VA education committees at the local, regional and national level, and has served as a reviewer for the Gerontological Society of America.  

Kenneth M. Heilman, M.D.

After receiving his M.D. from the University of Virginia in 1963, Ken Heilman was an Internal Medicine PGY 1&2 at Cornell-Bellevue Hospital. During the Vietnam War (1965-1967), he joined the service and was an Air Force Captain and Chief of Medicine at NATO Hospital, Izmir, Turkey.  After discharge he took a Neurology residency and fellowship at the Harvard Neurological Unit of Boston City (1967-1970), mentored by Drs. Denny-Brown and Geschwind. 

Dr. Heilman joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1970 and from 1998 to September 2017 he was the James E. Rooks Jr. Distinguished Professor, University of Florida College of Medicine and currently is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida. He joined the staff at the NF/SG Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 1977 and continues to be a Staff Neurologist at the GRECC. Between 1996 and 2009, he was Chief of the Neurology Service at the Gainesville VA.  As Director of the Behavioral Neurology-Neuropsychology program he has helped to train more than 70 post-doctoral fellows, the majority of who now hold academic positions and several are now leaders.

Dr. Heilman’s major research and clinical interests are cognitive and behavioral disorders caused by neurological diseases.  His research has been supported by the NIH and/or the VA for more than 40 years.  He is the author/editor of 16 books, more than 100 chapters and more than 600 journal publications (with more than 54,000 citations and an h index of 114).  He and his coworkers have described several new diseases/disorders and their treatment such as orthostatic tremor. Along with his co-investigators, he has helped to understand the pathophysiology of many neurobehavioral disorders such as spatial neglect, apraxia, disorders of emotional communication, aphasia and amnestic disorders caused by stroke and degenerative diseases.  He is a past President and received a Distinguished Career Awards from both the International Neuropsychology Society (INS) and the Society for Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology. He is an Honorary Member of the American Neurological Association. He is also a Fellow in the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and received their Wartenberg Keynote Lecturer Award.   

John Meuleman, M.D.

Dr. Meuleman is a staff physician at the GRECC and an Associate Professor in the Department of Aging at the University of Florida. He graduated medical school at Washington University and completed Medicine residency at the University of Florida, where he was chief medical resident.

Dr. Meuleman is the medical director of the Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) Unit in the Gainesville Community Living Center. He is actively involved in teaching Medicine residents and medical students, both on the GEM Unit and in his geriatrics clinic. He coordinates the weekly teaching conference for geriatric trainees. He lectures in geriatrics in the University of Florida Family Medicine clerkship. 

Ronald (Ron) I. Shorr, M.D., M.S.

Dr. Shorr is the GRECC Director and also serves a Research Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Florida. Dr. Shorr received his MD from Ohio State University and completed training Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the University of Wisconsin and the William S. Middleton VA medical center. In addition, he has completed a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology at Case Western Reserve University and a postdoctoral fellowship in Pharmacoepidemiology at Vanderbilt University.  

Dr. Shorr has extensive experience conducting both observational and experimental studies on healthcare safety and quality, particularly in older adult populations. He was the recipient of an NIA Clinical Investigator Award (K08) and has been PI and Co-Investigator on several NIH funded studies on fall prevention in hospitalized patients. He has an also an investigator on several Veterans Affairs sponsored studies related to healthcare quality and safety. His bibliography is located here.

He has served on the Editorial Board for the Journals of Gerontology: Medical Science, Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy and Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development and has been the lead author in publications in JAMA, Annals of Internal Medicine, and the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. He has been the Chair of the Health Sciences Section of the Gerontological Society of America and The VA liaison for the Research Committee of the American Geriatrics Society.

Constance (Connie) R. Uphold, Ph.D., A.P.R.N., F.A.A.N.

Dr. Uphold is the Associate Director of Implementation and Outcomes Research and the Acting Associate Director of Research. She is the Director of VA Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) Advanced Geriatrics Fellowship. Dr. Uphold is a member of the VA Offices of Nursing Service, Polytrauma Field Advisory Committee and the National Institutes of Health Peer Review Panel. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nurses. She also serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Aging and Geriatrics, College of Medicine, and Courtesy Professor in the College of Nursing at University of Florida. Dr. Uphold received her master’s degree in Transcultural Nursing from Pennsylvania State University. She received her doctoral degree in Family Nursing from the University of Maryland. In addition, she completed a postdoctoral nursing research fellowship and obtained a career development award from the VA and University of Florida.

Dr. Uphold has generated new knowledge in nursing practice through her research in combination with her previous clinical roles as a family nurse practitioner and community health nurse. Her recent practice and research with family caregivers of stroke victims and families and service members returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have uncovered unique mechanisms for disseminating patient education through web-based systems and new technologies.

Dr. Uphold has a broad background in health communications, family education, informatics, rehabilitation science and implementation science methods and theory. She is well-known for her co-authored Clinical Guidelines in Family Practice book, which is in its 5th edition and used in nurse practitioner programs worldwide. Dr. Uphold has been a P.I. on multiple VA-funded studies. Her current work involves conducting randomized clinical trials to determine the outcomes of online and telephone interventions for caregivers of Veterans with stroke and other disabilities. 

Lawrence M. Solberg, M.D. 

Dr. Laurence M. Solberg earned his medical degree from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow Poland. He completed his residency training in internal medicine and fellowship training in geriatric medicine at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dr. Solberg is now the Vice Chair for Clinical Operations in the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research. He joined the faculty at the University of Florida College of Medicine (UFCOM) as the Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and the Ruth Jewett Professor of Geriatric Medicine in 2013. During this time, he is leading the division in significant growth of patient care opportunities and faculty. Dr. Solberg expanded the reach of geriatric medicine with a model of continuity of care for older people connecting the outpatient clinics, hospital consultative care, and Skilled Nursing Facilities with geriatricians in each patient care environment. He is the medical director of Oak Hammock at the University of Florida Skilled Nursing Facility. Dr. Solberg is also a leader in Gerontology Education developing online graduate programs in gerontology at the UFCOM. He serves as the Program Director for Graduate Education in the Department of Aging and Geriatric Research. He mentors Master’s degree students and graduate certificate students in the online programs. Dr. Solberg is also affiliated with the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center, NF/SGVHS with an appointment in the Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center (GRECC) focusing on education through simulation to recognize and treat delirium in the hospital in the older vVeteran population.