NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — A Northwest Arkansas doctor and professor recently became the first University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences researcher to receive the national Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging, which comes with $1 million over five years.

According to a news release, the award will aid Dr. Jennifer L. Vincenzo to have her work of implementing a falls prevention strategy as a standard of care for all older adults attending outpatient physical therapy clinics.

“I am honored to be a Beeson Scholar and represent UAMS,” said Vincenzo, an associate professor in the College of Health Professions Department of Physical Therapy. “This award will allow me to address the public health issues of falls among older adults, which are a leading cause of morbidity, mortality and decreased quality of life.”

Dr. Vincenzo has developed her plan in the last three years with the STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries) toolkit from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the release, the STEADI toolkit, established in 2012 for physicians to integrate falls prevention into daily practice, has not been widely adopted, but Vincenzo wants to change that.

Her goal is reportedly to work with stakeholders to implement the integrated program as a standard of care in outpatient physical therapy clinics, starting at UAMS.

Vincenzo established her fall prevention self-management plan through work supported by a UAMS Translational Research Institute KL2 Mentored Research Career Development Award. She credits the KL2 support that began in 2019 to her success.

“I would not be where I am without the support of UAMS, the Translational Research Institute, and especially my colleagues in the Department of Physical Therapy,” she said. “The Beeson award will allow me to advance my knowledge and skills as an implementation scientist in aging under the mentorship of Geoffrey Curran, Ph.D., and Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D., who also served as mentors on my KL2.”

The release notes Vincenzo’s KL2 work led to state and national leadership appointments, including chair of the Balance and Falls Special Interest Group – American Physical Therapy Association-Geriatrics (APTA-G); and a member of the APTA-G Board. She is also chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging in Arkansas.

For more information on Vincenzo, click here.