About Us

Mark Lachs, MD, MPH
Director

An internist and geriatrician, Dr. Lachs is the Irene and Roy Psaty Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College andCo-Chief of Geriatrics and Gerontology, and the Director of Geriatrics for the New York Presbyterian Health System. Both a clinician and researcher, Dr. Lachs has conducted numerous study of elder abuse outcomes and epidemiology, and he is principal investigator of the largest longitudinal study of elder abuse victims which was funded by the National Institutes on Aging. His other interests include resident-to-resident abuse in long term care, abuse committed by paid home care providers, and self-neglect in older people. His many accolades and awards include a Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholarship (the country's preeminent career development award in Geriatric Medicine) and a National Institutes on Aging Academic Leadership Award. A co-author of the American Medical Association's Diagnostic and Treatment Guidelines on Elder Abuse and Neglect, he has testified before congress on matters related to aging, served as a consultant to the World Health Organization on an international screening study of elder abuse, and been a member of a congressionally mandated National Academy of Sciences Panel convened by an order of congress to address the training needs of health care professionals in domestic violence. Dr. Lachs mentors junior faculty in the area of elder abuse and neglect, and maintains an active geriatric medicine practice in New York City.

Selected Publications

Lachs MS, Pillemer KA. Elder Abuse. Lancet 2004; 304: 1236-1272.

Lachs, M, Bachman, R, Williams, C, Kossak A, Bove, C, O'Leary, J. Older Adults as Crime Victims, Perpetrators, Witnesses, and Compliants: A Population-Based Study of Police Interactions. Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect 2004, 16(4): 25-40.

Lachs MS, Williams CS, O'Brien S, Pillemer KA, Charlson ME. The Mortality of Elder Mistreatment. JAMA. 1998; 280(5): 428-432.

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Risa Breckman, LCSW
Faculty

A licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Breckman is an Assistant Professor of Gerontological Social Work in Medicine and Director of Social Work Programs and Education in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Since 1982, she has been at the forefront of developing protocols, educational forums and materials on elder abuse and neglect and teaching practicing physicians, other health care providers, and social service workers throughout the US and Canada about this issue. She developed the 3-day training currently used by NYC-Department for the Aging and conducts trainings for their elder abuse specialists. A co-author of the American Medical Association's Diagnostic and Treatment Guidelines on Elder Abuse and Neglect, she is also the co-author of the seminal book guiding interventions, Strategies for Helping Victims of Elder Mistreatment (1988) and numerous other publications addressing this topic. She has been developing a geriatrics psychosocial screening tool for use in the primary care setting which can help health care practitioners identify a range of social and psychological problems in the older population, including elder abuse. She developed the award-winning, geriatric psychosocial Web site, CornellCARES.com, which includes educational and resource materials for practitioners to use when helping abuse victims. Currently, she is working with the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging to bring practitioners and researchers together to develop an elder abuse research agenda for New York City.

Selected Publications

Lachs, M., Adelman, R. and Breckman, R. Elder Abuse. In The Merck Manual of Geriatrics, 3rd Ed. Rahway, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 2000:149-155.

Ansell, P., Breckman,R., and Bloom, J. Dependency in elder mistreatment: A clinical perspective. Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect. 1993:2(1/2:65-69.

Breckman, R. and Adelman, R. Strategies for Helping Victims of Elder Mistreatment. Newbury Park, CA:Sage Publications. 1988.

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Maria P. Pavlou, MD
Faculty

An alumna of Yale University, Dr. Pavlou received her medical degree and her training in internal medicine at Columbia University. After completing her geriatrics fellowship at Cornell University, she was awarded the John A. Hartford Foundation Geriatrics Center of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellowship at Weill Cornell Medical College, where she serves now as faculty in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology. She is both a clinician and researcher. Under the mentorship of Dr. Mark Lachs, she has been exploring the field of self-neglect in older adults. In particular she is interested in developing and validating a field definition for self-neglect, and identifying predictors and outcomes of self-neglect in a variety of domains (such as medical, psychiatric, social and functional). Her research is based on close collaborations with community social service agencies, and she is particularly interested in incorporating Community-Based Participatory Research methodology in her study of an interdisciplinary problem such as self-neglect in older adults. Her work has been generously supported by the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Gruss Lipper Family Foundation, and the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging. She is also clinically active as the geriatrician in an Adult Day Health Care Program in New York City.

Selected Publications

Paper: Pavlou MP, Lachs MS. "Could Self-Neglect in Older Adults be a Geriatric Syndrome?" J Am Geriatr Soc 2006;54(5):831-842.

Chapter: Pavlou MP. "Self-Neglect" in Capezuti, E., Siegler, G., & Mezey, M.D. (Eds.) (in progress). The Encyclopedia of Elder Care (2nd ed.). New York: Springer Publishing Company.

Pavlou MP, Reid MC, Olson AC, Lee F, Abrams RC, Lachs MS. "Self-Neglect in Homebound Elderly" GSA 59th Annual Scientific Meeting (November 2006)

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Karl Pillemer, Ph.D.
Faculty

Karl Pillemer, Ph.D., is Professor of Human Development at Cornell University, and Professor of Gerontology in Geriatrics at the Weill Cornell Medical College. He is also the Director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging, funded by the National Instittute on Aging. Pillemer has extensive expertise studying elder mistreatment, with a particular focus on survey approaches. Pillemer's career in elder mistreatment research began in the 1980s in his pioneering work with Rosalie Wolf. His work on the topic has spanned mistreatment in the community and in institutional settings, and has included conceptual and theoretical development, large-scale survey research, and intervention studies. With Mark Lachs he has explored the health consequences of elder mistreatment. Pillemer was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Panel to Review Risk and Prevalence of Elder Abuse and Neglect, and is a founding editorial board member of the Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect. He has extensive experience in the development of measures of elder mistreatment that have been used in surveys of both community-dwelling older persons and nursing home residents. His co-authored or co-edited books include Helping Elderly Victims: The Reality of Elder Abuse, and Elder Abuse: Conflict in the Family.

Selected Publications

Pillemer, Karl, Katrin Mueller-Johnson, Steven Mock, J. Jill Suitor, and Mark S. Lachs. 2006. Prevention of Elder Mistreatment. Pp. 241-254 in Handbook on Injury and Violence Prevention. L. Doll et al. (Eds).Secaucus, NJ: Springer. (Published in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control.)

Pillemer, Karl. 2005. Elder Abuse Is Caused by the Deviance and Dependence of Abusive Caregivers. In Donileen Loseke, Richard Gelles, and Mary Cavanaugh (Eds.), Current Controversies on Family Violence, Second Edition (pp. 207-220). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.

Lachs, Mark S., and Karl Pillemer. 2004. Elder Abuse. The Lancet, 364: 126372.

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