Lily Zhong’s American Geriatrics Society Award ‘Unprecedented’

2nd straight year a UConn medical student wins Edward Henderson Student Award

Lily Zhong and her poster "Cardiovascular interventions may provide differential benefits by patients' frailty"

UConn medical student Lily Zhong shows her poster at the American Geriatrics Society's 2023 annual conference in Long Beach, California. (Photo provided by Lily Zhong)

Every year, any of the nearly 200 U.S. medical schools can nominate students for one of the American Geriatrics Society’s most coveted awards. And for the second consecutive year, it’s a UConn medical student who will be so honored.

Lilzy Zhong portrait
Lily Zhong is a student at the UConn School of Medicine, Class of 2025. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health photo)

Rising fourth-year student Lily Zhong ’21 (CLAS) will accept the 2024 Edward Henderson Student Award at the AGS’ virtual annual meeting, May 9-11.

“This is unprecedented and in my view clearly reflects the excellence and commitment to aging both among our medical students and our faculty,” says Dr. George Kuchel, director of the UConn Center on Aging. “I could not think of a more worthy recipient than Lily Zhong. Since her undergraduate training at UConn Storrs and her start at the UConn School of Medicine in 2021, Miss Zhong has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of older adults through clinical care, research, education, and advocacy.”

Kuchel nominated Zhong, and Dr. Jaclyn Olsen Jaeger, assistant professor medicine and UConn Center on Aging geriatrician, has been mentoring her.

“From the first moment I met Lily as her preceptor in the Clinical Longitudinal Immersion in the Community (CLIC) program, it was clear Lily had a passion for the care of older adults,” Olsen Jaeger says. “Her commitment to education, research, and clinical care in the field of aging has been a pleasure to foster. She represents all of the tenets of the Edward Henderson Student Award and is incredibly deserving of this honor. It has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my career to serve as Lily’s mentor.”

The AGS is recognizing Zhong for “her leadership and proven commitment to geriatrics through her extensive scholarship in aging research.” Zhong conducted research on the efficacy of cardiovascular interventions in frail patients as part of her Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Scholars Program at Harvard Medical School between her first and second year, which was published in JAMA Cardiology. She also co-authored a paper published in the Journal of Frailty and Aging, on monitoring functional changes in a geriatric outpatient clinic.

Under Olsen Jaeger’s mentorship, Zhong this month is presenting a first-authored case study poster to the AGS Presidential Poster session for the third consecutive year.

"AGS Geriatrics Healthcare Professionals"The Henderson Award also recognizes Zhong for advancing the field of geriatrics through her contributions to the creation of eFrailty, an educational website for selecting frailty tools, and her pioneering of geocoded heat maps of frailty prevalence and social deprivation index in Medicare beneficiaries.

Zhong has served as president of UConn’s AGS Student Chapter for the last two years, expanding student interest in geriatrics, most notably through expert faculty panels and collaboration with the Greater Hartford Alzheimer’s Association.

“I am incredibly honored to win this award that celebrates such an important mission of improving care for older adults,” Zhong says. “Thank you to Dr. George Kuchel, Dr. Jaclyn Olsen Jaeger, Dr. Dae Hyun Kim, and the UConn Center on Aging for the amazing mentorship and endless opportunities. I could not imagine a more supportive community at UConn Health and hope to continue this mission in my future career.”

Zhong plans to apply into internal medicine for residency and then hopes to pursue a geriatric fellowship.

Last year the Edward Henderson Student Award went to Tia Kozar, who is graduating from the UConn School of Medicine May 6. She’ll start a psychiatry residency at Yale, and intends to fellowship train in geriatric psychiatry.

The American Geriatrics Society is a 6,000-plus-member not-for-profit society of geriatrics health care professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, social workers, physician associates, and pharmacists.