Reyes Ortiz plans to utilize the resources granted by The Fulbright Program, which awards approximately 8,000 grants annually, to research the relationships between falling, depression, and a history of violence or abuse in older people. He will use his time as a scholar to research fall prevention along with elder abuse and self-neglect to improve skills in teaching and outreach regarding both of these issues. The host institution for this research is the Department of Family Medicine at University of Valle in Cali, Colombia, the same university where he received his medical degree and completed his residency.
Knowledge gained from this study could be used to understand other potential factors involved in falling that can be explored in the older U.S. population. The Fulbright Program also will enrich his current teaching and research at McGovern Medical School on falls and elder abuse or self-neglect and his collaboration with the Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment (TEAM) Institute. No stranger to geriatric studies, Reyes Ortiz has conducted numerous studies in geriatric syndromes among the older Hispanic populations in the United States and Latin American and Caribbean countries, and in cancer health disparities.
Reyes Ortiz’s co-investigator in the Fulbright project, Dr. Jose Mauricio Ocampo-Chaparro, also has started a new geriatric medicine fellowship-residency training program. This project builds on the research Reyes Ortiz conducted using data from the Colombian SABE Study with the School of Public Health at the University of Valle.
The Fulbright Scholar award is the latest accolade Reyes Ortiz has received throughout his career, with previous awards from organizations such as the UCLA/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, and United Way of Tarrant County.
Established in 1946 under legislation by J. William Fulbright, the Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. According to the program’s website, 1,600 U.S. students, 4,000 foreign students, 1,200 U.S. scholars, and 900 visiting scholars receive awards, in addition to several hundred teachers and professionals.