Palo Alto Medical Foundation Newsroom

PAMF Geriatric Shared Medical Appointments Program Selected for PCORI “Pipeline to Proposal” Award

Innovative Program Supports Successful Aging

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Successful Aging Shared Medical Appointments (SMA) Program has received a national award from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).  It was one of only 30 projects in the western United States chosen for the inaugural “Pipeline to Proposal” awards program, designed to “advance the field of patient- and stakeholder-driven health research,” said Anne Beal, M.D., MPH, PCORI’s deputy executive director and chief officer for engagement.

PAMF’s Successful Aging SMA program is the first of its kind in the nation. In this innovative program, adults ages 65 and older have 90-minute medical appointments in small groups, where they receive private, individual health assessments and participate in health discussions led by a doctor.

Dr. Cheng leads a Successful Aging Shared Medical Appointment with PAMF patients.

Dr. Cheng leads a Successful Aging Shared Medical Appointment with PAMF patients.

PAMF Regional Medical Director Susan Smith, M.D., believes there are distinct benefits to older patients who participate in this unique care model. “They get ample and dedicated time with a geriatrician, a physician who specializes in aging, and they do so in the company of fellow seniors, forming a natural support group,” she says. “The SMA empowers patients to make personalized decisions with their health care team.”

Through the Successful Aging Shared Medical Appointment program, “Our patients receive personalized evaluations, learn from one another, and work with us to develop preventive and proactive approaches to aging,” said SMA Nurse Care Manager Kelly Reilly, RN.

“This award provides us an exciting opportunity to further refine our program and define its future,” said Peter H. Cheng, M.D., chief of PAMF’s Palo Alto Center Geriatric Medicine Program and founder of the program. “Patients passionate about successful aging will partner with us to develop outcome goals that are meaningful to them, their families, their physicians, as well as the health care system.  

“Ultimately, our dream is to have the opportunity to help spread this program across the U.S.,” explained Dr. Cheng. “We would love to help more Americans 65 and older design their own road map for successful aging, guiding them as they travel the journey of a lifetime.”

Watch a video explaining PAMF’s Geriatric Shared Medical Appointments for Successful Aging.


About PAMF Geriatric Medicine

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continuously seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work. More information is available at