Tara Cortes is recognized for her distinguished career spanning executive leadership, nursing education, research and practice. She is currently the Executive Director of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, and a Professor in Geriatric Nursing. Dr. Cortes has provided significant contributions to advance the health of people, particularly those with limited access to the health care system. Importantly, she has developed collaborative models with advanced practice nurses and physicians in traditional as well as nontraditional settings to enhance the care of the American elderly population.
As Executive Director of the Hartford Institute, Dr. Cortes has brought her leadership, experience and wisdom to enhance select respected existing programs in the Institute and to develop new and innovative initiatives. The consistent theme across her work is the essential role of advanced practice nurses improving the quality of life in specific patient populations, and the interdisciplinary nature of health care. Dr. Cortes is a leader in developing, evaluating, and implementing advanced nursing practice and collaborative practice. Her work has contributed to advancing interdisciplinary models across the continuum of care to reduce disparities in access to care, and to assure 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 advanced practice nurses to provide care to those with poor access to resources due to lack of knowledge or functional disabilities.
Prior to joining NYU, Dr. 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 to a healthcare provider from a social charity, and was recognized worldwide for her leadership in helping to move the field of vision loss to health care from that of disability. Dr. Cortes spent the initial phase of her career in nursing education at Hunter College, and then as the Head 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.
Dr. 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. Dr. Cortes 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. Dr. 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.
Dr. Cortes 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 received the Distinguished Alumni Award from New York University, where she completed her PhD and Masters degrees. Her BSN is from Villanova University, where she served on the Board of Trustees for 10 years. In 2011 she was awarded the Medallion for Outstanding Contributions to the Profession from the Villanova University College of Nursing. She 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. Dr. Cortes serves on several boards including Archcare: the Catholic Healthcare System of NY, Isabella Geriatric Center, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, the National Accreditation Council for Blindness and Low Vision and Oral Health America.
PhD in Nursing Science and Research - New York University, College of Nursing, NY, NYMA in Nursing - New York University, College of Nursing, NY, NYBSN in Nursing - Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Honors and awards
Appointee of Secretary of HHS to Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and DentistryHealth and Aging Policy Fellowship:The Atlantic PhilanthropiesNurse Leader to Honor, American Organization of Nurse ExecutivesSTAR Award:New York Women’s AgendaMedallion for Distinguished Contributions to the Profession: Villanova University College of NursingFellow, New York Academy of MedicineFellow, American Academy of NursingDistinguished Alumni Award, New York University College of NursingOur Town Thanks You Award in Community Service, Our Town NewsRobert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Primary careHome careInterprofessionalismGerontology
New York Academy of MedicineGerontological Society of AmericaAmerican Academy of NursingHealthCare Executive Women’s ForumNew York Organization of Nurse ExecutivesAmerican Organization of Nurse ExecutivesSigma XI, Scientific Research Society, Rockefeller University ChapterNew York Academy of SciencesSigma Theta Tau, Upsilon Chapter
Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Training 2.0: A collaborative team-based approach to delivering careAbstractInterprofessional collaborative education and practice has become a cornerstone of optimal person-centered management in the current complex health care climate. This is especially important when working with older adults, many with multiple chronic conditions and challenging health care needs. This paper describes a feasibility study of the Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Training 2.0 (GITT 2.0) program focused on providing interprofessional care to complex and frail older adults with multiple chronic conditions. A concurrent triangulation mixed-methods design facilitated program implementation and evaluation. Over three years (2013-2016), 65 graduate students from nursing, midwifery, social work, and pharmacy participated along with 25 preceptors. Participants were surveyed on their attitudes toward interprofessional collaboration pre and post-intervention and participated in focus groups. While attitudes toward interprofessional collaboration did not change quantitatively, focus groups revealed changes in language and enhanced perspectives of participants. Based on the evaluation data, the GITT 2.0 Toolkit was refined for use in interprofessional education and practice activities related to quality initiatives.
The growth and development of gerontological nurse leaders in policyAbstractBackground: The National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE) Scholars/Fellows Award Program was designed to promote the growth and development of nurse scientists, educators, and leaders in aging. Purpose: McBride's conceptual framework of the growth and development of nurse leaders was used to examine the NHCGNE impact on health and aging policy work among scholars/fellows, including barriers, facilitators, and resources. Methods: A multimethod two-phased approach included an online survey (phase I) focused on research and policy impact at local, state, or national level. Telephone interviews (phase II) were conducted to further understand the nature, depth, and focus of respondents' policy work. Discussion: Based on our findings, we propose multilevel recommendations for advancing nurse scientists' capacity to be leaders in shaping policy. Conclusion: Keen research skills are influential in policy advancement but not sufficient to advance policy. Preparing nurse scientists with competencies in translating research into policy can ultimately transform health and health care for older adults.
A post-master's advanced certificate in gerontology for NPsAbstractThis article describes an innovative post-master's advanced certificate in gerontology program developed by the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing. The program provides advanced practice registered nurses geriatric content to meet eligibility criteria for the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP certification exam and develops interprofessional care providers to care for complex older adults.
Validating the health literacy promotion practices assessment instrument
A case exemplar for national policy leadership: Expanding Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)AbstractCortes, T., & -Sullivan-Marx, E. (2016). Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 42(3), 9-14.In November 2015, President Obama signed the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Innovation Act, which expands a proven model of care to serve high-cost and high-need populations. Specifically, the law provides the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services with the authority to waive Medicaid requirements that could not be waived without additional statutory authority. Those requirements include the age of the beneficiary to be served and nursing home eligibility as a condition for PACE enrollment. The law also allows providers and other entities who are not current PACE providers the opportunity to become PACE providers and serve a predominately dually eligible population that has high needs and high cost through a coordinated, integrated model. The current article describes the impact of nursing on the legislation and policy that has shaped the evolution of the PACE program for more than 40 years.
Development and testing of the Dementia Symptom Management at Home (DSM-H) program: An interprofessional home health care intervention to improve the quality of life for persons with dementia and their caregiversAbstractHome health care agencies are increasingly taking care of sicker, older patients with greater comorbidities. However, they are unequipped to appropriately manage these older adults, particular persons living with dementia (PLWD). We therefore developed the Dementia Symptom Management at Home (DSM-H) Program, a bundled interprofessional intervention, to improve the care confidence of providers, and quality of care delivered to PLWD and their caregivers. We implemented the DSM-H with 83 registered nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Overall, there was significant improvement in pain knowledge (5.9%) and confidence (26.5%), depression knowledge (14.8%) and confidence (36.1%), and neuropsychiatric symptom general knowledge (16.8%), intervention knowledge (20.9%), attitudes (3.4%) and confidence (27.1%) at a statistical significance of (P < .0001). We also found significant differences between disciplines. Overall, this disseminable program proved to be implementable and improve clinician's knowledge and confidence in caring for PLWD, with the potential to improve quality of care and quality of life, and decrease costs.
Policy brief: Registered nurse staffing requirements in nursing homes
Development and testing of the Dementia Symptom Management at Home (DSM-H) program: An interprofessional home health care intervention to improve the quality of life for persons with dementia and their caregiversAbstractHome health care agencies are increasingly taking care of sicker, older patients with greater comorbidities. However, they are unequipped to appropriately manage these older adults, particular persons living with dementia (PLWD). We therefore developed the Dementia Symptom Management at Home (DSM-H) Program, a bundled interprofessional intervention, to improve the care confidence of providers, and quality of care delivered to PLWD and their caregivers. We implemented the DSM-H with 83 registered nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Overall, there was significant improvement in pain knowledge (5.9%) and confidence (26.5%), depression knowledge (14.8%) and confidence (36.1%), and neuropsychiatric symptom general knowledge (16.8%), intervention knowledge (20.9%), attitudes (3.4%) and confidence (27.1%) at a statistical significance of (P <.0001). We also found significant differences between disciplines. Overall, this disseminable program proved to be implementable and improve clinician's knowledge and confidence in caring for PLWD, with the potential to improve quality of care and quality of life, and decrease costs.
Ensuring specialty nurse competence to care for older adults: Reflections on a decade of collaboration between specialty nursing associations and the hartford institute for geriatric nursingAbstractGeriatric preparation of specialty nurses is critical because their direct care and administrative responsibilities profoundly impact the care of countless older patients in all settings. For a decade, the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, NYU College of Nursing, has worked with 54 national specialty nursing associations, and intensely with 14, to develop strategies for new standards for quality care for older patients. A successful blueprint for specialty associations to sustain and enhance these outcomes will be presented.
A competency-based approach to educating and training the eldercare workforceAbstractMezey, M., Mitty, E., Cortes, T., Burger, S., Clark, E., & McCallion, P. (2010). Generations, 34(4), 53-60.Healthcare for older adults requires a knowledgeable professional workforce. Yet less than one percent of health professionals are certified in geriatrics. This paper describes initiatives to assure that entry level and specialist education, and practitioner competency in nursing, medicine and social work are prepared in geriatrics, discusses needs for competency in interdisciplinary geriatric education, and recommends how these efforts can support and be supported by the Affordable Care Act.