UofL Family & Geriatric Medicine chair named Fellow, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Dr. James G. O’Brien, chair of the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Louisville, has been named a Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.

    RCPI is Ireland’s largest postgraduate institution with a mission to develop and maintain high professional standards in medicine. The college is the oldest surviving medical institution in the country. It was founded in 1654 as a “Fraternity of Physicians” by John Stearne, a professor at Trinity College Dublin and Oxford University. Royal Charters – documents issued by the British monarch to establish organizations – were obtained in 1667 from King Charles II.

    To qualify for fellowship a nominee must be a senior member of the medical profession, achieve honors in his career and published work of distinction.

    O’Brien was nominated anonymously for the fellowship after completing a six-month sabbatical at Trinity College Dublin having received a grant from Atlantic Philanthropies to study elder abuse and neglect in Ireland. Thus far this work has resulted in a paper, “National Profiling of Elder Abuse in Ireland,” published in Age and Ageing, the journal of the British Geriatrics Society. He also made a presentation at the European Union Geriatrics Medical Society and published two letters in the medical journal, The Lancet, relating to this subject.

    “I am honored at this stage of my career to be named a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland,” he said. “It is gratifying to know that I have been deemed worthy of inclusion in the company of distinguished physicians who set an international standard of professional excellence.”

    O’Brien received his medical degrees at University College, Dublin, and completed a residency in family medicine at Saginaw Cooperative Hospitals in affiliation with Michigan State University and a fellowship in geriatrics at Duke University Medical Center. He spent 19 years on the faculty at MSU where he initiated the first geriatric fellowship. He assumed the Margaret Dorward Smock Endowed Chair in Geriatrics at UofL in 1996. He became acting chair of Family Medicine in 2002 and chair of the renamed Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine in 2003.

    Jill Scoggins is Director of Communications at UofL's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. She has been at UofL since 2010.