Collaborating to Promote Healthy Aging

The Plein Center for Geriatrics was established in 2016 with the generous support of Joy and Elmer Plein. The Center will allow us to build on our 30-year history of comprehensive and state-of the art training in geriatrics through the Plein Certificate in Geriatric Pharmacy and expand our role as leader in outreach and research to promote healthy aging.

The 5-year strategic plan for the Plein Center can be found here.

This video highlights some of Joy and Elmer’s achievements and the plans for the new Plein Center.

Latest News

The School of Pharmacy Mourns the Passing of Dr. Joy Plein

Joy Plein

Joy (Bickmore) Plein, ’51, ’57, a beloved UW School of Pharmacy colleague, mentor and true pioneer in the field of geriatrics, passed away peacefully at Virginia Mason Medical Center on February 19, 2021. She was 97.

“For 48 years, Joy was the heart of the UW School of Pharmacy,” said SOP Professor and Dean Sean Sullivan. “Everyone who... Read more...

Zach Marcum authors a paper published in Neurology on dementia prevention

Plein Center Assistant Director, Zach Marcum, PharmD, PhD, served as co-first author on a paper published in Neurology, along with Plein Center Director, Shelly Gray, PharmD, MS, and Plein Center faculty member, Douglas Barthold, PhD, which compared different antihypertensive sub-classes in their association with incidence of dementia using data fr... Read more...

Laura Hart publishes report in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society on fall-related drug risks

Plein Center postdoctoral fellow alumna, Laura Hart, PharmD, MS, along with Plein Center Director, Shelly Gray, Pharm D, MS, and Plein Center Assistant Director, Zach Marcum, PharmD, PhD, published a systematic review in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society to summarize literature on whether fall risk-increasing drug use is reduced follo... Read more...

Pioneers in geriatric research and education

Joy Plein is widely credited for creating the momentum for senior-care pharmacy in this state at a time when there were few pharmacists who were geriatricians and few resources to advocate for older patients. She and her late husband, Elmer, developed a visionary nursing home course in 1973, which led to more courses and the establishment of the Plein Certificate and the Elmer M. Plein Endowment Research Fund.

In 2015, Joy was awarded UW School of Pharmacy’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding achievements in pharmacy.


The primary research goal for the Plein Center for Geriatrics is to generate and transmit new knowledge to improve disease management and appropriate medication use in older adults.

The program faculty possess a variety of research interests including medication management and safety, drug-induced problems, psychiatric medication use, polypharmacy, diabetes, frailty, underserved populations, and methodology for enhancing pharmacists’ impact on improvement of care for older adults.


The Plein Center for Geriatrics offers training in the form of:

  • Plein Certificate in Geriatric Pharmacy (earned concurrently with PharmD degree)
  • Elective coursework for pharmacy and other health sciences students
  • Seminars, presentations, and continuing education programs offered by School of Pharmacy faculty or by visiting speakers


Faculty in the Plein Center for Geriatrics practice in a variety of care settings and offer extensive national and local service on projects related to geriatrics.

Support the Plein Center for Geriatrics

You can directly affect the future of geriatric pharmacy, by supporting the Plein Center for Geriatrics, which will promote the discovery and optimal use of medications in older adults.
Ways to Give