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Pennsylvania GeriatricS Society

Western Division


Heather Sakely PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, assumed the role of president of the Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division (PAGS-WD) on January 1, 2023, serving a two-year term. Dr. Sakely will oversee the Board of Directors, which is comprised of 19 healthcare professionals representing various disciplines and local institutions throughout the region. 

Heather Sakely, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy, completed a specialty pharmacy residency in Family Medicine and participated in the Faculty Development Fellowship at UPMC St. Margaret, and is dually board-certified in pharmacotherapy and geriatric pharmacotherapy. Dr. Sakely provides care to older adults across the continuum of their health care at the UPMC St. Margaret Geriatric Care Centers, and affiliated senior living communities. She is also Director of Clinical Services where she oversees geriatric and primary care pharmacist practice development.

She belongs to the national pharmacy and geriatric organizations, is President of the Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society — Western Division and is a contributing editor for the Allegheny County Medical Society Bulletin. She is the co-course director for the regional Refresher Course in Family Medicine and sits on the planning committee for the regional Clinical Update in Geriatric Medicine conference. 

She led the PIVOTS (Pharmacist-led Interventions on Transitions of Seniors) research group focused on the evaluation of the role of the pharmacist within geriatric health care.  In 2016 she was selected as part of the Practice Change Leaders for Aging and Health, a highly competitive national program aimed at building leadership capacity among professionals who have a leadership role in a healthcare delivery system caring for older adults. Through this program, Dr. Sakely evaluated the role of the pharmacist within the interprofessional geriatric team, as both a direct patient care provider and a change agent for improving care quality through sustainable billing models. Her specific areas of interest within geriatric care include medication management across the care continuum and pharmacist practice development. Dr. Sakely is married with two children.

Education & Training

  • Specialty Pharmacy Residency in Family Medicine, UPMC St. Margaret, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Faculty Development Fellowship, UPMC St. Margaret, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Doctor of Pharmacy - Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy


Board Certified in Pharmacotherapy

Board Certified in Geriatrics

Heather Sakely PharmD, BCPS, BCGP


   Christine Herb, MD

Immediate Past President


Past President Receives Special Recognition

The Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division recognized Karen A. Powers, MD, for her leadership and length of service at the Clinical Update in Geriatric Medicine on Friday, March 6.

Dr. Powers was elected as the Society’s first president; Fred Rubin, MD President-Elect; and Judith Black, Secretary Treasurer on January 29, 1991. She was instrumental in drafting the Bylaws and creating the organizational structure, which included five standing committees: membership, education, legislative affairs, by-laws, and nominating, all which remain today.

Starting with 23 members, the society boasts a healthy membership of 230 members, comprised of not only physicians, but also nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals who share a commitment to improving the health of older people.

After her tenure as president, Dr. Powers continued to serve on the Board of Directors until 2019. She is currently a member of the Planning Committee.

Fred Rubin, MD presents plaque to Karen Powers, MD, who was honored for her service in the Society. Dr. Powers was the first President, and Dr. Rubin President-Elect when the Society was formed in 1991. 



The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) announced that Neil M. Resnick, MD, AGSF will be the next Co-Chair for its Council of State Affiliate Representatives (COSAR). Dr. Resnick is Thomas Detre Professor of Medicine and Chief of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC.

Dr. Resnick brings a wealth of leadership and knowledge to the role. His experience includes 15 years as a Board member and COSAR representative for the Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society Western Division (PAGSWD). PAGSWD is a three-time winner of the State Affiliate Achievement Award, including in 2018.

Dr. Resnick has also been active in AGS, having won its Outstanding Excellence Award for Research in 2004 and having served as an AGS Leadership Scholar, a member of 3 AGS committees, and a mentor in its national mentorship program.

Dr. Resnick is excited by his new role as he believes that State affiliates should serve the national organization in two ways: by providing AGS with information from the trenches regarding practitioners insights and priorities and by serving as AGS’ implementation arm for its education and policy initiatives. He plans to use a team approach to learn from each affiliate’s success and challenges and to identify ways to increase the value of each affiliate. His hope is to help increase the number and  membership of affiliates. He will assume his new position after the American Geriatrics Society national meeting in May, 2019.

COSAR, the governing body of the AGS State Affiliates is recognized as an important, deliberative body to promote and support affiliates. It is consists of elected member representatives, one from each of the proposed, provisional and active State Affiliates.  It meets regularly to exchange information on State Affiliate activities, and to share new ideas on development, advocacy, education, membership, public policy and other affiliate business.

Fred Rubin, MD - Past President, Honored

Left to Right Neil Resnick, MD; Fred Rubin, MD; Shuja Hassan, MD; Judith Black, MD

During the meeting, a special recognition was bestowed upon Fred Rubin, MD, immediate past president of the  Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western. Judith Black, MD, Secretary/Treasurer, and Course Directors Shuja Hassan, MD and Neil Resnick, MD presented a plaque to Dr. Rubin for his tireless commitment to the organization by serving as President from 2009 to 2018.

Dr. Rubin was a founding member of the Society and served as president of the PAGS-WD from 2009  until his term ended in December of 2018. He  also served as President-Elect when the Society was established, and its members met for the first time on January 29, 1991.

During Dr. Rubin's term, the Society has seen consistent growth in membership.  He was instrumental in offering a new educational program called Controversies in Geriatric Medicine, now in its fourth year.   In addition, the Society has been recognized by the AGS and awarded the State Affiliate Achievement Award for Innovative Programming, an honor bestowed upon the society on three separate occasions, two of which when Dr. Rubin was president.

Judith Black, MD, MHA, FACP

Recipent of the PA-ACP Laureate Award  


Congratulations to Judith Black, MD, MHA, FACP secretary/treasurer of the Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society - Western Division honored as a 2019 Laureate Awardee (Western Region) from the American College of Physicians - Pennsylvania Chapter (PA-ACP).

The Laureate Award honors those Fellows or Masters of the College who have demonstrated by their example and conduct an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education, or research, and in service to their community, their Chapter, and the American College of Physicians.

The awardees shall be senior physicians who are Fellows or Masters of long-standing, with acknowledged excellence and peer approval in the field of internal medicine.  In addition, the awardees should have served the Chapter with distinction.  Exceptional circumstances may modify these requirements.

Dr. Black will be honored along with other awardees at the PA-ACP Annual Awards Dinner following the Annual Scientific Meeting on November 16th in Harrisburg. Information and registration for the meeting and award dinner can be found on the PA-ACP website.

Descriptions of the awards and lists of previous winners can be found here.

About us

The Pennsylvania Geriatrics Society – Western Division is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of all older persons. It is a non-profit organization of physicians and other health care professionals committed to the provision of quality health care for older persons.

Contact us

Pennsylvania Geriatric Society - Western Division
850 Ridge Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA  15212

Chapter Administrator: Eileen Taylor | etaylor@acms.org

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