It has been my privilege as Editor Emeritus of this latest edition to follow its progress over the past 3 years from design at the first meeting of the editorial board to publication. I am pleased to predict that the seventh edition of Hazzard’s Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology will solidify its reputation as the leading “go to” source for readers seeking the latest, most comprehensive, in-depth, and reliable treatise in research and practice that optimizes the care of our aging and older patients. Moreover, this edition will further expand its influence toward worldwide enhancement in the care of those patients, whose numbers are expanding dramatically as population aging becomes a global phenomenon.
Especially gratifying in my association with this textbook has been its widespread use as core material in geriatric fellowship training programs. I am frequently flattered to be asked to autograph the latest volume for fellows who have come to value the book highly during their training for its accessibility, breadth, depth, and authenticity as a single source for their scholarly education in our field.
Their appreciation brings me special satisfaction. From the genesis of this textbook in its first edition over 30 years ago, our focus has been steadily maintained on geriatric fellows in training as our primary target audience. This approach was adopted because we envisioned our textbook as complementing the prior education that physicians received in medical school, graduate training in residency, and then maintained in continuing education programs, education which forms the foundation of care for all patients. Through our textbook we have hoped that physicians will be enriched and continuously kept current from its concentration upon the special needs of their older patients. This has been integrated with chapters summarizing the aging process across the lifespan from conception to death (gerontology), but honing down on those above 65, 75 (my personal definition as the threshold to old age), and, perhaps most germane to our special contributions as geriatricians, the “oldest old,” those over 85, in whom the art and science of caring for the most complex and vulnerable can be most appreciated. And with the “Aging Tsunami” of retiring baby-boomers looming ever nearer to the seawall of limited resources, our mission to enhance the practice of all professionals and caregivers in managing such patients through our textbook is all the more urgent.
Thus geriatric fellows appropriately remain our primary target audience for this edition, for it is through their added education and expertise that our contribution can be best applied, amplified, and broadly disseminated. This is true whether their training (as for most American fellows) is compressed into a single, full-time year of clinical fellowship following 3-year residencies in Internal Medicine or Family Medicine or extended to acquire additional academic skills and experience in research, education, clinical practice, public health, public policy, or health care systems. This special expertise will serve them well as future leaders in health care as it becomes progressively skewed toward caring for older patients. Thus it will be incumbent upon editors of future editions of this textbook to remain abreast of leading edge developments in our field, which promises to become ever more sophisticated and challenging as aging citizens continue to enjoy increasing healthspan as well as lifespan.
It is with pride and confidence that I predict that these goals will be reflected and continuously enhanced in all future editions of this textbook.