Assoc. Director, VA Geriatric Research, Education & Clinical Center (GRECC)

Professor of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine

Professor of Nursing, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Vanderbilt Primary Care Village at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging

Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program Faculty

Professional Highlights

James S Powers, MD received a BA cum laude from Wesleyan University (CT) in 1973 and MD with Distinction in Research from the University of Rochester (NY) in 1977 followed by a residency in Internal Medicine at Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University Hospitals 1977-80. He served in the USPHS National Health Service Corps 1980-83 following which he was recruited to Vanderbilt to develop a Geriatric Medicine Program within the Division of General Internal Medicine.

Dr. Powers is the author of over 75 papers, books, and book chapters he has devoted his academic career to Geriatric Nutrition, Education, and Healthcare Quality and Safety. He has mentored over 1200 trainees while at Vanderbilt and holds Fellowship in the American College of Physicians, American College of Nutrition, American Geriatrics Society, Gerontologic Society of America, and the Royal Society of Medicine. He serves as the Associate Clinical Director for the VA Tennessee Valley Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center.

Dr. Powers’ research interests include educational outcome evaluation, aging body composition, and models of geriatric care. He is PI of the Vanderbilt-Reynolds Geriatric Education Program, Co-PI of the Meharry Geriatric Education Center, and leads numerous clinical demonstration projects for the TVHS GRECC concerned with falls prevention, caregiver support, and treatment of agitated dementia, and health systems improvement.


Educational and Service Contributions

  • Developed Acute Care for Elderly (VUMC), and Geriatric Evaluation and Management (VA) Units and maintained these since 1987, serving as interdisciplinary training sites for trainees
  • Developed geriatrics program over 25 years impacting over 1400 trainees at VU
  • PI of Reynolds Geriatrics Education Program which supports medical school, residency, faculty, interdisciplinary, regional educational programs
  • Participant in medical school and Medicine Residency curriculum development with preceptorship, geriatrics, outpatient, home, and community-based training programs
  • Developed Vanderbilt Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program in 1999
  • Invited lecturer for hundreds of presentations, regionally, nationally, internationally
  • Developed Geriatrics and Extended Care Program for VISN 9 as AD/C Tennessee Valley GRECC, serving as a consultant for VA geriatric services development in TN, KY, W VA
  • Served on numerous Geriatric Quality Assurance Committees at VU/VA (Falls, Decubiti, Delirium, Dementia Care, Dysphagia, Restraint Reduction, Palliative Care, JCAHO, Root Cause Analysis for Patient on Patient Assaults, Peer Review Committee)
  • Reviewer, Studio Participant for new faculty projects related to geriatrics
  • Board membership local, state, national geriatrics societies (AGS, AMDA, GSA, TMA)
  • Board membership of regional non-profits facilitating Geriatric Care (Alzhiemer's™ Association, Alive Hospice, Council on Aging, Tennessee Health Care Campaign)
  • Preceptor and Advisory Board Member VU Student Shade Tree Clinic since 2005
  • Chaired TennCare Pharmacy Advisory Committee 2003-2008, developing the first Medicaid formulary for Tennessee
  • Collaborator with the Vanderbilt-Meharry Alliance in developing the Geriatric Education Center

Clinical Expertise
Accidental Falls; Delirium; Dementia; Geriatric Consultation; Geriatric Syndromes; Hospital Care of Elderly; Interdisciplinary Patient Care Teams; Long Term Care; Patient-Centered Medical Home 


Vanderbilt Primary Care Village at Vanderbilt
1500 21st Avenue South, Suite 3000
Nashville, TN 37232
Call: (615) 936-3636
Fax: (615) 936-3635
8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday


Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging
2147 Belcourt Ave., Suite 100
Nashville, TN 37212

For questions about research or current projects:
Call: (615) 936-1499
Fax: (615) 322-1754


Research Keywords

Geriatrics, Models of Care, Geriatric Education, Long Term Care, Nutrition

Postgraduate Training


Case Western Reserve University Hospitals, 1980 / Cleveland Clinic, 1979

Office Address:
2147 Belcourt Ave., Room / Suite 100, Nashville, TN 37212


MD- University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
BA- Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut