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Hebrew SeniorLife’s Susan Mitchell earns coveted NIH MERIT award

BOSTON—Susan Mitchell, MD, MPH of Needham, Massachusetts has been selected by the National Advisory Council on Aging to receive The National Institute of Health’s Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) award in recognition of outstanding achievements as a principle investigator on National Institute of Aging (NIA) research projects.

The objective of the MERIT Award is to provide long-term, stable support to investigators whose research competence and productivity are distinctly superior and who are likely to continue to perform in an outstanding manner. The provision of long-term stable support to such investigators is expected to foster their continued creativity and spare them the administrative burdens associated with preparation and submission of full-length research grant applications. This may allow investigators the opportunity to take greater risks, be more adventurous in their lines of inquiry, or take the time to develop new techniques.

"I am extremely grateful for the generous support from the NIA over the course of my career. I am honored to receive this award. I am also deeply appreciative of my dedicated and talented research team at Hebrew SeniorLife and generous collaborators, who have enabled my work throughout the years," said Dr. Mitchell.

Dr. Mitchell is a senior Scientist at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. She is a clinical epidemiologist and board certified geriatrician and internist in Canada and the United States. Dr. Mitchell's research interests focus on decision-making, health outcomes, and resource utilization for older people near the end-of-life, particularly those with dementia. She is the principal investigator on several large research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health to study the end-stages of dementia and has been a lead author on many articles in top peer-reviewed journals related to this topic.

Dr. Mitchell’s work has been a cornerstone in the recent decline in feeding tube use in patients with end-stage dementia. Dr. Mitchell’s work on this topic has been published in prestigious peer reviewed journals, including JAMA and has received national attention in the New York Times and several other publications.

Dr. Mitchell is active in the mentorship of young investigators and is the recipient of a NIH-NIA K24 Mid-Career Investigator Award. She is also an attending geriatrician at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

About Marcus Institute

Scientists at the Marcus Institute seek to transform the human experience of aging by conducting research that will ensure a life of health, dignity and productivity into advanced age. The Institute carries out rigorous studies that discover the mechanisms of age-related disease and disability; lead to the prevention, treatment and cure of disease; advance the standard of care for older people; and inform public decision-making. The Aging Brain Center within Marcus Institute studies cognitive aging and conditions affecting brain health.

About Hebrew SeniorLife

Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is a national senior services leader uniquely dedicated to rethinking, researching and redefining the possibilities of aging. Based in Boston, the non-profit, non-sectarian organization has provided communities and health care for seniors, research into aging, and education for geriatric care providers since 1903. For more information about Hebrew SeniorLife, visit, follow us on Twitter @H_SeniorLife, like us on Facebook or read our blog.

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