Richard W. Besdine David S. Greer, M.D., Professor of Geriatric Medicine, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice, Director, Center for Gerontology and Health Care Research, Director, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine

Richard W. Besdine, MD, has devoted his career to geriatrics through university-based and public health care policy work for more than 35 years. He has trained more than 125 physicians in geriatrics. Dr. Besdine is Professor of Medicine, Director of the Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research, Director of the Division of Geriatrics in the Department of Medicine, and first Greer Professor of Geriatric Medicine, at Alpert Medical School and the School of Public Health of Brown University. He is Chief of Geriatrics for Lifespan, and the other Brown-affiliated hospitals. Dr. Besdine also served as Interim Dean of Alpert Brown Medical School (2002-2005). He is past President of the American Geriatrics Society, and was first CMO for HCFA (now CMS) and Director of its Quality Bureau.

Research interests include dissemination of evidence-based models of geriatrics care, quality of care, remote care and health services, all for older adults.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

research overview

Richard W. Besdine, MD, has committed his career to improving health and healthcare outcomes for older adults. He has led a NIH Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, conducting and overseeing research to improve function in older adults. Since his service as first chief medical officer for CMS, his research interests have been dominated by policy relevant research in health services, public health, geriatrics and palliative medicine.

research statement

As director of the Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research, Dr. Besdine oversees a research portfolio of more than 50 currently funded projects; most are in health services and policy related to aging and chronic disease. Major areas are nursing home quality, end of life and hospice care, cancer control and quality of life for cancer survivors, and community-based care. His own research includes nursing home quality of care and its improvement and international collaborations on quality of care for hip fracture patients. He has also been PI on two applications for an Alzheimer's Disease Core Center (National Institutes of Health).

As director of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine in the Department of Medicine, he oversees 12 faculty and two fellowship programs (Geriatric Medicine; Hospice and Palliative Medicine) with 5 fellows; scholarly emphasis includes development and implementation of new curricula in geriatrics for medical students and residents, as well as projects in osteoporosis.

As chief medical officer of Healthcentric Advisors (formerly Quality Partners) of RI, the not-for-profit quality improvement organization holding the federal contract for quality monitoring and improvement for the Medicare program, he oversees multiple projects to improve quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries in RI. These include acute hospital, nursing home, home care, and physician office settings. QPRI is also the national resource center for the country for quality improvement in the nursing home.

funded research

Harvard Medical School

1979-1981 Principal Investigator, Administration on Aging (DHHS) Geriatric Fellowship Grant ($179,000)
1979-1985 Principal Investigator, Kaiser Family Foundation Geriatric Fellowship Grant
1983-1986 Principal Investigator, Sandoz Foundation Geriatric Fellowship Grant ($50,000)
1983-1986 Director and Principal Investigator, Hartford Foundation Geriatric Faculty Development Grant ($190,000)
1983-1986 Principal Investigator, Health Resources and Services Administration (DHHS) Geriatric Education Center Grant ($580,000)

University of Connecticut Health Center School of Medicine

1986-1989 - Director and Principal Investigator, Health Resources and Services Administration (DHHS) Geriatric Education Center Grant ($650,000)
1987-1989 - Co-Sponsor with Lawrence Raisz, M.D., Brookdale National Fellowship Award to Carol Pilbeam, M.D., Ph.D. ($105,000)
1988-1994 - Principal Investigator, John A. Hartford Foundation Geriatric Faculty Recruitment Award ($485,000)
1988-1990 - Principal Investigator, Charles A. Dana Foundation Geriatric Research and Research Training Award ($200,000)
1988-1997 - Principal Investigator, Bureau of Health Professions (DHHS), Geriatric Medicine and Geriatric Dentistry Fellowship Training Grant ($1,350,000)
1989-1990 - Co-Sponsor with Lawrence Raisz, M.D., Brookdale National Fellowship Award to Carol Pilbeam, MD, PhD ($60,000)
1989-1991 - Co-Sponsor with Lawrence Raisz. M.D., Pfizer/American Geriatrics Society Postdoctoral Fellowship Award to James Judge, M.D. ($60,000)
1989-1991 - Principal Investigator, University of Connecticut Alzheimer's Disease Diagnostic and Research Center Award, CT State Department on Aging ($194,000)
1989-1991 - Director and Principal Investigator, Health Resources and Services Administration (DHHS), Geriatric Education Center Award ($439,000)
1990-2000 - Director, Travelers Research Institute on Health Promotion and Aging (TRIHPA [$1 million endowment])
- Principal Investigator, Alzheimer's disease Outreach Project, Howard and Bush Foundation ($150,000)
1991 Principal Investigator, Health Promotion Research Award, Travelers Foundation ($25,000)
1991 - Principal Investigator, Financing Long Term Care, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ($131,000)
1992 - Principal Investigator, Health Promotion Research Seed Grant, Travelers Foundation ($25,000)
1993 - Principal Investigator, Financing Long Term Care, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ($104,000)
1993-6 - Co-Sponsor with Lawrence Raisz, M.D., Brookdale National Fellowship Award to Karen Prestwood, MD ($201,750)
1994 - Principal Investigator, Travelers Research Institute on Health Promotion and Aging Pilot Grants Award ($50,000), Travelers Foundation
- Principal Investigator, Financing Long Term Care, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ($113,000)
1995-8 - Principal Investigator, Geriatrics in Generalist Residency Training, John A. Hartford Foundation (3 years, $500,000)
1996-8 - Co-Sponsor with Lawrence Raisz, M.D., Brookdale National Fellowship Award to Anne Kenny, MD ($127,500)
1996-9 - Co-Sponsor with Lawrence Raisz, M.D., Beeson Scholar Award to Karen Prestwood, M.D. ($450,000)
1996-2001 - Principal Investigator, Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, National Institute on Aging (5 years, $1.15 million total year 1)
1997-9 - Co-Sponsor with Karen Prestwood, M.D., Pfizer/American Geriatrics Society Postdoctoral Fellowship Award to Sandra Bellantonio, M.D. ($80,000)
1998-01 - Co-Mentor with Lawrence Raisz, M.D., Beeson Scholar Award to Anne Kenny, M.D. ($450,000)
1998-00 - Co-Sponsor with Karen Prestwood, M.D., John A. Hartford Foundation Research Fellowship Award to Rohini Winston, M.D. ($50,000)
1998-00 - Senior Advisor for HCFA contract award of Healthy Aging Project; PI, L. Rubenstein, MD; grantee, RAND ($3.4 million)

Alpert Medical School

Brown School of Public Health

2000-03 - Senior Advisor for HCFA contract award of Healthy Aging Project; PI, L. Rubenstein, MD; grantee, RAND ($3.4 million)
2003-5 - Co-investigator, NIH R03, Thyroid hormone effects on cognition, Jeff Tremont PI
2003 - PI, Reynolds Foundation Comprehensive Programs to Strengthen Physicians' Training in Geriatrics application; reverse site visit, not funded
2004-7 - Co-director, NIH T32 Post-doctoral training grant in dementia research
2004 - PI, NIH Alzheimer's Disease Core Center application ($5M), approved but not funded
2005 - PI, NIH Alzheimer's Disease Core Center application ($6M), approved but not funded
2006-11 - PI, Reynolds Foundation Comprehensive Programs to Strengthen Physicians' Training in Geriatrics ($2M), 7/06-6/11 (BSPH)
2007-12 *- Co-investigator, Project 3, "Nursing Home Physicians – Missing in Action; in Mor (PI), "Shaping Long Term Care in America", National Institute on Aging, 1P01AG027296-01A1, ($10,000,000; 2007-2012).
2008-13 *- PI, John A. Hartford Foundation Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training ($450,000), 7/08-6/11, renewed 2011 ($60,000), 2012 ($120,000)
2009-10 - PI, Schwartz Center, Schwartz Communication Curriculum for Medical Students ($25,000, BSPH)
2010-11 - PI, Schwartz Center, Schwartz Communication Curriculum for Medical Students ($25,000, BSPH)   2008-13 - PI, John A. Hartford Foundation Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine and Training ($450,000), 7/08-6/11, renewed 2011 ($60,000), renewed 2012 ($120,000), renewed 2013-16 ($282,000) 2013-17 -  PI, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, Next Steps II (Geriatrics Education for Medical Specialists) ($1 million, BSPH)                                                                                                                                       2014-15 - Co-PI (Gans, PI), Tufts Health Plan Foundation, Healthy Aging Communities: ($149,995.67, BSPH)