Professor of Medicine
Geriatric Medicine

Paul V Hamilton Chair in Geriatrics and Aging Research

Director, Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging

Senior Scholar for the VA Quality Scholar Program

Deputy Assistant Director, VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)

Professor, College of Arts and Science, Department of Psychology

Center for Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction, and Survivorship (CIBS)

Institute for Medicine and Public Health

Middle Tennessee Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP)

Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program Faculty

Professional Bio

Sandra F. Simmons, PhD, is a Professor in the Division of Geriatrics within the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is the Hamilton Chair in Geriatrics and Aging Research and holds a secondary appointment as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Simmons’ background and training is in clinical psychology and gerontology. She serves as the Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Quality Aging and Deputy Associate Director for Research at the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), Tennessee Valley Healthcare System Veterans Administration. She is also a Senior Scholar for the Nashville VA Quality Scholars Program.

Dr. Simmons has been the recipient of numerous grants to examine issues in gerontology from the National Institutes of Health and Aging, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Veterans Healthcare Administration and the National Alzheimer’s Association. Her research is focused on clinical interventions to improve quality of care and quality of life for older adults across the continuum of care to include acute care, post-acute care, long-term care and dementia care within assisted living. She has conducted research to evaluate and improve long-term care quality and has published extensively on the validity of nursing home quality indicator metrics, the relationship between staffing and quality, and strategies to translate efficacious interventions into nursing home care practice through quality improvement and implementation science.

Her current research examines interventions to reduce polypharmacy and improve geriatric syndromes among hospitalized older adults transitioning to post-acute care in both community and veteran facilities through a patient-centered deprescribing intervention to reduce overall medication burden. She’s also leading a separate study to apply discrete event simulation modeling to determine staffing needs for hospitalized older patients to enhance mobility and reduce fall risk during hospitalization.  


MA - Clinical Psychology - Middle Tennessee State University - 1991
PhD - Gerontology - Penn State University - 1998