Department of Medicine

Elder Abuse and Neglect


Initiative Overview


Faculty lead: Sabrina Pickens, Ph.D., GN

Challenges: Elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation impact 1 in 10 Americans who are 60 years or older. However, many providers lack knowledge and skills to recognize and intervene on elder abuse and neglect. Meals on Wheels volunteers are an important front line in identifying potential abuse and neglect cases, but typically receive no training in this area.

Unmet clinical needs: Many elders experiencing abuse and neglect, including self-neglect, may not present to medical attention and therefore go unrecognized.

Unmet education and training needs: While there is a robust, well-respected clinical and educational elder abuse and neglect program at UT-Health, other health professions trainees and individuals who come into contact with at-risk adults in the community, such as Meals on Wheels volunteers, receive little training recognize warning signs and appropriate response.

Initiative Vision: Educate interprofessional trainees and Meals on Wheels volunteers to recognize abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation and intervene appropriately, especially in the rural population.

ReferenceCenter for Disease Control and Prevention - Elder Abuse



  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers
  • Meals on Wheels
  • UT Cizik School of Nursing
  • University of St. Thomas- Houston Peavy School of Nursing
  • Michael E. DeBakey Veteran Affairs Medical Center
  • University of Houston College of Medicine, Social Work, and Pharmacy