Tara A Cortes


Tara Cortes Headshot

Tara A Cortes


Clinical Professor
Executive Director, Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing

1 212 998 5320

433 First Ave
New York, NY 10010
United States

Tara A Cortes's additional information

Prof. Cortes is recognized for her distinguished career spanning executive leadership, nursing education, research, and practice. She has provided significant contributions to advance the health of people, particularly older vulnerable adults. Importantly, she has developed interprofessional models in traditional as well as nontraditional settings to address the health and health behaviors of older adults and increase the capacity of the workforce to provide age sensitive care

As Executive Director of HIGN, Prof. Cortes has brought her leadership, experience, and wisdom to enhance select respected existing programs in the Institute and to develop new and innovative initiatives.  Her work has contributed to advancing interdisciplinary models across the continuum of care to reduce disparities in access to care, and to ensure healthy aging in place. She has helped change policy and practice in geriatric care and in low-vision and blindness care by developing roles for an interprofessional healthcare team to provide care for those with poor access to resources due to lack of knowledge or functional disabilities.

Prior to joining NYU, Prof. Cortes was president and CEO of Lighthouse International, a leading not-for-profit organization, dedicated to fighting vision loss and helping people prevent vision impairment. She mindfully transformed the organization into a healthcare provider from a social charity and was recognized worldwide for her leadership in helping to move the field of vision loss to healthcare from that of disability. Prof. Cortes spent the initial phase of her career in nursing education at Hunter College, and then as the Director of Nursing Research and Information Systems at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. She was the chief nursing officer at Rockefeller University Hospital and continued her career in nursing and hospital administration at Mount Sinai Medical Center and at Bridgeport Hospital, before assuming the senior leadership role at Lighthouse International.

Prof. Cortes was appointed as a 2013-2015 American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow and serves as a senior advisor at CMS in the Office of Medicare and Medicaid Coordination Office. She was also appointed by Community Catalyst as a geriatric consultant to the Medicare Rights Center to work with New York State on the implementation of the Fully Integrated Duals Advantage (FIDA) program, a CMS demonstration project. Prof. Cortes has been appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to the Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry for the 2016-2019 term. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine. She is a past fellow of the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Program. She serves on several boards including Archcare: the Catholic Healthcare System of NY, Isabella Geriatric Center, and Pacific College of Health and Science.

Among her many honors, Prof. Cortes was named one of the New York Women’s Agenda 2011 STARS for exemplifying the qualities embodied in NYWA’s mission to advocate and collaborate for the interests of New York women in public policy decisions. In 2011 she was awarded the Medallion for Outstanding Contributions to the Profession from the Villanova University College of Nursing. Prof. Cortes received the Distinguished Alumni Award from New York University, where she completed her PhD and Master's degrees. Her BSN is from Villanova University, where she served on the Board of Trustees for ten years.

PhD, Nursing Science and Research - NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
MA, Nursing - NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
BSN, Nursing - Villanova University

Primary care
Home care
Community/population health
Health Policy
Underserved populations
Vulnerable & marginalized populations

American Academy of Nursing
American Organization of Nurse Executives
Gerontological Society of America
HealthCare Executive Women’s Forum
New York Academy of Medicine
New York Academy of Sciences
New York Organization of Nurse Executives
Sigma Theta Tau, Upsilon Chapter
Sigma XI, Scientific Research Society, Rockefeller University Chapter

Faculty Honors Awards

Medallion for Distinguished Contributions to the Profession, Villanova University College of Nursing
Appointee of Secretary of HHS to Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry
Distinguished Alumni Award, NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
STAR Award, New York Women’s Agenda
Fellow, American Academy of Nursing
Nurse Leader to Honor, American Organization of Nurse Executives
Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine
Health and Aging Policy Fellow, American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship Program
Our Town Thanks You Award in Community Service, Our Town News


The complexity of providing behavioral healthcare in assisted living

Cortes, T. A., & Seidel, L. (2023). Geriatric Nursing, 54, 369-370. 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2023.10.010

Implementing a quality improvement program to reduce falls and increase patient medication satisfaction in an academic medical center

Lopez, M., Ma, C., Aavik, L., & Cortes, T. A. (2023). Geriatric Nursing, 49, 207-211. 10.1016/j.gerinurse.2022.09.002
Background: Hospitalized older adult medication-related falls are common and understudied. Local Problem: There were organizational educational gaps identified in assisting nurses to recognize and mitigate medication associated side effects that may predispose hospitalized older adults to fall. Methods: A quality improvement project that utilized pre and post-test design. An eLearning module was developed and distributed to registered nurses in a medical unit. Interventions: Eighty registered nurses participated in an eLearning module that included patient and family centered evidence-based guidelines and teach-back guides related to medication fall safety. Results: An increase in overall (2.2%) medication patient satisfaction scores and decrease (8%) in falls for patients > 65 years old over a 4-month period. Conclusions: There is benefit of implementing a structured medication fall risk education program for nurses on a medical unit. Patient satisfaction related to communication about medications and a reduction in falls was impacted by this interdisciplinary intervention.

Caring for Older Adults

Kovner, C., & Cortes, T. (2022). Policy, Politics, and Nursing Practice, 23(3), 147-149. 10.1177/15271544221105996

Essential Reform in Long-Term Care

Cortes, T. A. (2022). Nursing Clinics of North America, 57(2), 207-215. 10.1016/j.cnur.2022.02.003

Findings of Sequential Pilot Trials of Aliviado Dementia Care to Inform an Embedded Pragmatic Clinical Trial

Lin, S. Y., Schneider, C. E., Bristol, A. A., Clancy, M., Sprague, S. A., Aldridge, M., Cortes, T., Goldfeld, K. S., Kutner, J. S., Mitchell, S. L., Shega, J. W., Wu, B., Zhu, C. W., & Brody, A. A. (2022). Gerontologist, 62(2). 10.1093/geront/gnaa220
Background and Objectives: Many investigators of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD) are unfamiliar with the embedded pragmatic clinical trials (ePCTs) and the indispensable pilot phase preceding ePCTs. This paper provides a much-needed example for such a pilot phase and discusses implementation barriers and additional infrastructure and implementation strategies developed in preparation for a nationwide AD/ADRD ePCT. Research Design and Methods: Two pilot trials were conducted in 2 hospices sequentially to refine and test Aliviado Dementia Care - Hospice Edition, a complex quality improvement intervention for advanced dementia symptom management. Readiness for the subsequent full-scale ePCT was assessed by three milestones: ≥80% training completion rate ("feasibility"), ≥80% posttraining survey respondents indicating intention for practice changes ("applicability"), and at least 1 Aliviado care plan/assessment instrument administered in ≥75% of dementia patients admitted to home hospice within 1-month posttraining ("fidelity"). Results: Participants included 72 interdisciplinary team members and 11 patients with AD/ADRD across the pilots. Feasibility, applicability, and fidelity outcomes (92%, 93%, and 100%, respectively) all surpassed the preestablished milestones (80%, 80%, and 75%). Main implementation challenges were related to hospice staff turnover, integration of the Aliviado toolbox materials within the electronic health records, and hospices' limited research experience and infrastructure. Discussion and Implications: This pilot phase demonstrated feasibility, applicability, and fidelity required to proceed to the full-scale ePCT. Our study findings and discussions of additional infrastructure and implementation strategies developed following the pilot phase can inform researchers and clinicians interested in conducting AD/ADRD-related pilot studies for ePTCs or quality improvement initiatives. Clinical Trials Registration Number: NCT03681119.

A Call to the CMS: Mandate Adequate Professional Nurse Staffing in Nursing Homes

Kolanowski, A., Cortes, T. A., Mueller, C., Bowers, B., Boltz, M., Bakerjian, D., Harrington, C., Popejoy, L., Vogelsmeier, A., Wallhagen, M., Fick, D., Batchelor, M., Harris, M., Palan-Lopez, R., Dellefield, M., Mayo, A., Woods, D. L., Horgas, A., Cacchione, P. Z., … Gerdner, L. (2021). American Journal of Nursing, 121(3), 24-27. 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000737292.96068.18
Editor's note: This article is by 22 nursing gerontology experts who are all advocates of nursing home reform. They are listed at the end of this article.

Graduate level health professions education: how do previous work experiences influence perspectives about interprofessional collaboration?

Squires, A., Miner, S., Greenberg, S. A., Adams, J., Kalet, A., & Cortes, T. (2021). Journal of Interprofessional Care, 35(2), 193-199. 10.1080/13561820.2020.1732888
Understanding how previous experiences with interprofessional education and collaboration inform health care provider perspectives is important for developing interprofessional interventions at the graduate level. The purpose of this study was to examine how previous work experiences of graduate level health professions students inform perspectives about interprofessional education and collaboration. Drawing from program evaluation data of two separate graduate level interprofessional education interventions based in primary care and home health care, we conducted a qualitative secondary data analysis of 75 interviews generated by focus groups and individual interviews with graduate students from 4 health professions cadres. Using directed content analysis, the team coded to capture descriptions of interprofessional education or collaboration generated from participants’ previous work experiences. Coding revealed 173 discrete descriptions related to previous experiences of interprofessional education or collaboration. Three themes were identified from the analysis that informed participant perspectives: Previous educational experiences (including work-based training); previous work experiences; and organizational factors and interprofessional collaboration. Experiences varied little between professions except when aspects of professional training created unique circumstances. The study reveals important differences between graduate and undergraduate learners in health professions programs that can inform interprofessional education and collaboration intervention design.

Provider Perspectives of Medication Complexity in Home Health Care: A Qualitative Secondary Data Analysis

Squires, A., Ridge, L., Miner, S., McDonald, M. V., Greenberg, S. A., & Cortes, T. (2020). Medical Care Research and Review, 77(6), 609-619. 10.1177/1077558719828942
A primary service provided by home care is medication management. Issues with medication management at home place older adults at high risk for hospital admission, readmission, and adverse events. This study sought to understand medication management challenges from the home care provider perspective. A qualitative secondary data analysis approach was used to analyze program evaluation interview data from an interprofessional educational intervention study designed to decrease medication complexity in older urban adults receiving home care. Directed and summative content analysis approaches were used to analyze data from 90 clinician and student participants. Medication safety issues along with provider–provider communication problems were central themes with medication complexity. Fragmented care coordination contributed to medication management complexity. Patient-, provider-, and system-level factors influencing medication complexity and management were identified as contributing to both communication and coordination challenges.

Senior oral health: A community-based, interprofessional educational experience for nursing and dental students

Greenberg, S. A., Hartnett, E., Berkowitz, G. S., Schenkel, A. B., Chong, C., Cipollina, J., Haber, J., & Cortes, T. A. (2020). Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 46(8), 37-45. 10.3928/00989134-20200527-03
The current article highlights an interprofessional, older adult oral health community program, created through an Accelerating Interprofessional Community-Based Education and Practice grant from the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, designed to address the gap between older adult health education and care delivery. This project developed an advanced practice, nurse-led partnership among The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing and the Oral Health Nursing Education and Practice Program (both located at New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing), New York University College of Dentistry, and Regional Aid for Interim Needs (RAIN), a community service organization for older adults in the Bronx. Teams of nursing (n = 26), nurse practitioner (n = 16), and dental (n = 64) students provided oral health education and oral hygiene instruction using Tooth Wisdom® educational materials to older adults, home health aides (HHAs), and volunteers in nine RAIN senior centers. Students demonstrated increases in their self-reported interprofessional competencies based on the Interprofessional Collaborative Competency Attainment Survey. Results also revealed that older adults (n = 500), HHAs (n = 142), and volunteers (n = 21) at the RAIN senior centers who attended the Tooth Wisdom presentation demonstrated an increase in oral health knowledge.

Building Interprofessional Teams Through Partnerships to Address Quality

Cortes, T. (2019). Nursing Science Quarterly, 32(4), 288-290. 10.1177/0894318419864343
Interprofessional collaborative education and practice is essential in the current complex healthcare climate. Barriers to interprofessional education include difficulty scheduling joint activities amid the silos of discipline-specific curricula and the lack of urgency by faculty to find innovative ways to commit to interprofessional training. Barriers in practice include poor understanding of the roles of different professionals and lack of awareness of the concept because the people in the workforce were mostly educated before interprofessional practice and education were prioritized by national bodies representing academic professions. The author of this paper describes opportunities for interprofessional education and practice and describes a way to create an educational-practice partnership to drive quality in healthcare settings.