Faculty at the Institute for Aging Research

Sharon K. Inouye M.D., M.P.H.

Director, Aging Brain Center and Senior Scientist

Institute for Aging Research
1200 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02131
617-971-5390
SharonInouye@hsl.harvard.edu

Education
1977 B.A. Pomona College; Claremont, CA; cum laude
1981 M.D. University of California San Francisco; San Francisco, CA
1988 M.P.H. Yale University; New Haven, CT; with distinction

Dr. Inouye's focus has been to translate the theories of clinical investigation to practical applications that can be used to improve quality of life for older persons. Currently, she is directing the Successful AGing after Elective Surgery (SAGES) study, an $11 million Program Project on Delirium funded by the National Institute on Aging.  The purpose of this study is to examine long-term outcomes of delirium. 

Primary research has focused on delirium and functional decline in hospitalized older patients, resulting in more than 150 published articles and reviews to date. She developed and validated a new instrument for identification of delirium called the Confusion Assessment Method (CAM), which is now the most widely used standard in the field. She also helped to conceptualize the multifactorial model for delirium, and focused on identification of predisposing and precipitating factors for delirium. Finally, she developed a multicomponent intervention strategy to prevent delirium, targeted toward six delirium risk factors. This strategy was found to be successful in reducing delirium by 40 percent and was published in a landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine. This study was the first to show that a substantial proportion of delirium is preventable.

Dr. Inouye now plans to examine the interface of delirium and dementia with multiple studies to investigate whether delirium alters the course of dementia and whether delirium itself leads to longstanding cognitive impairment and pathologic changes in the brain.

Dr. Inouye has been awarded many of the highest accolades in her field, including the American Geriatrics Society Outstanding Scientific Achievement for Clinical Investigation Award (1998), Donaghue Investigator Award (1998-2003), Midcareer Award from the National Institute on Aging (1999-2005), election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation (2002), the Ewald W. Busse Research Award in Biomedical Sciences (Gerontological Society of America, 2003), the UCLA David H. Solomon Award (2005), the 2005 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (Arnold P. Gold Foundation),  election to the Yale Society of Distinguished Teachers (2005),  election to the Association of American Physicians and won the 2010 Edward Henderson Award for the American Geriatrics Society. Her work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1991.

Selected Publications  

PubMed Articles

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