Birmingham/Atlanta GRECC - Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)
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Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)


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Birmingham/Atlanta GRECC

The Birmingham/Atlanta GRECC has been serving older Veterans in the Birmingham and Atlanta areas since 2000.

Research Focus Areas
Incontinence and related disorders
End of life care


Research goals are to establish scientific excellence with an integrated program of biomedical, clinical, health services and rehabilitation research related to preventing and improving the treatment of age-related disorders including nocturia and urinary and fecal incontinence, mobility loss, and symptoms and manifestations of suffering experienced with advanced or life-threatening illness. The ultimate goal is to develop and test interventions to improve and maintain function and prevent and effectively manage physical, emotional, social, and spiritual suffering and thereby improve quality of life for the Veteran population.   The GRECC Research Cores are (1) Data Analysis Core; (2) Muscle Research Laboratory including the Biospecimen Repository; and (3) Urodynamic and Anorectal Function Laboratory.

Education and Evaluation

The education program goals are to become a specialized education and training, research and service dissemination asset, to serve as a network geriatric education and training resource, to provide support and enhance patient and family education efforts connected with the Veteran Integrated Service Network’s Geriatric and Extended Care clinical programs and GRECC clinical demonstration programs, and to provide public education to raise awareness of geriatric care issues and approaches. Specific education and training projects are (1) Continence Education Programs; (2) Mobility Training Programs; (3) Palliative Care Training Programs; and (4) Scientific Seminars and Conferences.


The goal of the clinical demonstration programs are to develop innovative, patient-focused models of geriatric care that maximize the quality of life and functional independence of older Veterans, to integrate and coordinate these models of geriatric clinical care into primary care delivery systems, including home-based and nursing home care, to support GRECC research programs, especially maintaining clinical data sets that support health services research, and to provide clinical sites for trainees in multiple health care disciplines to facilitate dissemination of new clinical models and methodologies throughout the VA system. Clinical services are (1) Outpatient Continence Clinics; (2) Fall Prevention and Mobility Clinic; and (3) Palliative Care Programs (Consults, Outpatient Programs, and In-Patient Palliative Care Units).

Project Profile

Rural Promising Practice: IMPROVE: Integrated Management and Polypharmacy Review of Vulnerable Elders

To address polypharmacy, the Geriatric Clinic at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, in collaboration with the Birmingham/Atlanta Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, established the IMPROVE program. This program is a successful pharmacist-led, patient-centered clinical program that improves medication management in high-risk older Veterans.

Under the IMPROVE program, clinical pharmacists perform face-to-face consults with enrolled Veterans and their caregivers. During these appointments, the pharmacists conduct collaborative reviews of each Veteran’s medication protocols with the Veteran and his or her caregiver. The pharmacists also provide recommendations, education, and strategies and tools to improve the Veterans’ adherence to their medication protocols.

To Learn More

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Rural Health (ORH) implements a targeted, solution-driven approach to increase access to care for the 3 million Veterans living in rural communities who rely on VA for health care. As VA’s lead advocate for rural Veterans, ORH works to see that America’s Veterans thrive in rural communities. To accomplish this, ORH leverages its resources to study, innovate and spread enterprise-wide initiatives through partnerships.

To discuss implementing a Rural Promising Practice at your facility or to learn more, more, visit or email

IMPROVE Handouts

Birmingham/Atlanta GRECC Profile

Birmingham/Atlanta GRECC (11G)
Birmingham VA Medical Center
700 19th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35233
Telephone: (205) 558-7064 

Atlanta Campus
Atlanta VA Health Care System
1670 Clairmont Road
Decatur, GA 30033
Telephone:  (404) 321-6111 Ext. 5144

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Emory University

Interim GRECC Director 
Marcas Bamman, PhD

Atlanta Site Director
E. Camille Vaughan, MD, MSc

Associate Director, Research 
Kathryn Burgio, PhD

Atlanta Site Director, Research
Molly Perkins, PhD

Associate Director, Education & Evaluation
Katharina Echt, PhD

Associate Director, Clinical 
Alayne Markland, DO, MSc

Atlanta Site Director, Clinical
Theodore Johnson, II, MD, MPH

Administrative Officer
Latricia Williams

Atlanta Site Program Specialist
Jenise Spil (Atlanta)

Details about the Birmingham/Atlanta GRECC Director position may be found at or in the following link:
Position closes December 31, 2018.