NEW YORK (June 18, 2018)—The Trustees of The John A. Hartford Foundation have selected John R. Burton, MD, as the recipient of the inaugural 2018 John A. Hartford Foundation Trustees Award for his decades of dedication to improving the care of older adults through his role as a geriatrics educator, researcher and clinician. 

A long-time grantee of The John A. Hartford Foundation, Dr. Burton is a national leader who has developed innovative clinical models of care, spread geriatrics expertise to surgical and related specialties, mentored scores of clinical trainees, and helped develop a top-tier geriatrics program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD.

“The Trustees founded the award with the purpose of highlighting excellence in clinical practice, education, or research related to improving the care of older adults,” said Margaret L. Wolff, Chair of the Board.  “We could not find a more exemplary leader in geriatrics than Dr. John R. Burton to select as our first recipient.”

In the early 1990’s, Dr. Burton helped conceptualize Hospital at Home, a program which provides an acute level of care to certain older adults in the home, reducing the dangers of hospitalization and improving health outcomes while lowering costs. The John A. Hartford Foundation continues to support the dissemination of this model and a federal commission recently recommended that Medicare implement payment for this home-based hospital care.  

For more than a decade, Dr. Burton has co-led the Geriatrics-for-Specialists Initiative, a program funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation since 1992. The initiative developed educational programs and career development awards for junior faculty researchers, and has worked with specialty organizations to promote geriatrics expertise among all physicians. Dr. Burton co-edited one of the field's first textbooks, Geriatrics for Specialists, describing the emerging knowledge base of geriatrics within the surgical and medical specialties. Today, as part of its work to create age-friendly health systems, The John A. Hartford Foundation has launched new initiatives in geriatric emergency department and surgical care that can be credited in great degree to the Geriatrics-for-Specialists Initiative and the leadership of Dr. Burton.

Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation said, “It is a great honor to give our first ever Trustees Award to such a distinguished geriatrics leader who has changed the field of care for older adults in such significant ways. In so doing, he has affected the lives of older adults and has raised the bar for all of us to strive for the highest level of health care for older adults in all settings.”

Dr. Burton became the Johns Hopkins Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology’s director in 1998, having previously served as the clinical director. Through his vision, the division continued to expand and grow its clinical, educational, and research programs. Dr. Burton played a key role in The John A. Hartford Foundation Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine at Johns Hopkins, helping to recruit and mentor numerous geriatricians and other clinicians. He continues his involvement in community education programs like the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, which is funded by the Health Resources & Services Administration.

Other major clinical programs at Johns Hopkins begun or developed under Dr. Burton's leadership include: the Elder House Call Program, Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), and the Orthopedic-Geriatric Medicine Hip Fracture Service. The Division honored his work by renaming the Johns Hopkins Care Center, built in 1991, as the John R. Burton Pavilion.

Dr. Burton earned his MD from McGill University Faculty of Medicine. He completed his residency at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He performed a fellowship in nephrology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“No award could be more deeply treasured than this from The John A. Hartford Foundation, which over three decades has led in the transformation of health care for seniors in America,” said Dr. Burton. “I am only a representative of many colleagues in all health professions at Johns Hopkins, the American Geriatrics Society and other organizations throughout the nation who have been dedicated to improving the health care of older adults.”

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