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Fellows in Geriatric Medicine at UNC work together on research during fellowship. Mentored closely by our excellent research faculty Dr. Laura Hanson and Dr. John Batsis, cohorts complete a scholarly project each year. Fellows are mentored in the design and implementation of a quality improvement project. In addition, they meet with their mentors monthly to check in on the progress of this project.

Second Year and Extended Training

Fellows with interest in a research career have the benefits of our excellent faculty. Furthermore, they have access to the resources of the UNC Center for Aging and Health. In recent years, fellows have pursued additional research projects.

Fellows also have the opportunity to apply for an advanced fellowship. They may also pursue additional research training such as a Masters in Public Health or a Masters in Clinical Research through the Gillings School of Public Health at UNC. Applying for an advanced fellowship occurs in the fall of the clinical fellowship year.

Research Faculty

Read more about what our research faculty are up to on our Research page or on their PubMed Pages:

Dr. Batsis is a geriatrician and health services researcher. His specific clinical and research interests are in how to use technology to improve health in older adults. His recent work has focused on understanding the interplay between fat and muscle in older adults and in conducting clinical trials in older adults focusing on improving physical function during weight loss efforts. His goal is to provide opportunities to enhance the delivery of care to these high-risk populations. Specifically, he is a transdisciplinary team scientist, working collaboratively with engineers and computer scientists in the development, validation, and application of different types of research-grade and commercial technologies for health promotion, including using remote patient monitoring and telemedicine.
Dr. Niznik’s research interests are focused on evaluating the quality of medications in older adults to improve the safety of medication use in this population. Most recently, his work has focused on evaluating the impact of deprescribing or discontinuing chronic medications that may no longer have value in nursing home residents with dementia as a means for evaluating the quality of prescribing in this population. Research methods include pharmacoepidemiologic analyses of large datasets (Medicare, VA, and electronic health records data) along with qualitative data analysis.
Dr. David Lynch is an Assistant Professor and clinician-investigator in the Division of Geriatrics at UNC. He completed his medical school training at the University of Limerick, in Ireland before transitioning to UNC where he completed his residency in Internal Medicine, Chief Residency and Geriatrics fellowship. His research is focused on mitigating functional decline and preserving independence in older adults, and he is actively involved in designing hospital-based interventions that aim to reduce functional decline following hospitalization in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
More on Dr. Hanson – Coming Soon


Hillary Spangler, MD

“When looking at geriatrics fellowship programs, UNC stood out as a program for its commitment to research and support for their trainees to pursue a clinician-researcher pathway. The department’s enthusiasm for exploration within geriatrics is encouraging to trainees, as diverse research interests are welcomed and encouraged. This is exemplified by the collaboration of departments across the UNC system and nationally. If you are looking for a collaborative team that is passionate about advancing and advocating for better care for older adults, UNC Geriatrics is a great place to be!”

~ Dr. Hillary Spangler, 2022-2023 Geriatric Medicine Fellow

My geriatrics fellowship at UNC was transformative, shifting my career focus from clinician education to clinical research. The mentorship and guidance I received compelled this change, with Drs. Hanson, Batsis, and Niznik exemplifying the extraordinary dedication of UNC’s faculty to their mentees. They not only possess expertise and impressive achievements but also showed genuine kindness and unwavering support. Dr. Batsis and Dr. Hanson listened attentively to my aspirations, helping me articulate my research interests and refine my goals. Their approachability and investment in my professional development instilled confidence and shaped my trajectory in exploring new avenues and complexities of aging research.

~ Dr. David Lynch, Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Alumni and Medical Director of Inpatient Geriatrics Service

Dr. David Lynch, MD