Article originally published in the Summer 2019 Alzheimer’s Update
Meet Dr. Aimee Pierce! A native from Eugene, Oregon, Dr. Pierce began her training at Columbia University before completing her residency at UCLA, with a special focus on Aging and Alzheimer’s. She joined the OHSU Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center in October 2018.
I began my position as the Director of the Clinical Care and Therapeutics Program of the OHSU Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center in October 2018. Though I grew up in Eugene, Oregon where my parents still reside, I hadn’t lived in the state since graduating high school. After living in New York City and Southern California for more than twenty years, I missed the mountains, trees, and rain, so returning home to Oregon was a wonderful opportunity for me.
I entered medical school at Columbia University with the idea to become a rural family physician, because I wanted to become a valued member of a community, form long-term relationships with patients and their families, and be a “jack-of-all-trades.” However in medical school I became fascinated by the brain and medical research, and decided to pursue neurology instead. After moving to California, I completed a neurology residency at UCLA and a geriatric neurology fellowship at UC San Diego.
Before coming to OHSU, I was the Medical Director of the Memory Assessment and Research Center at UC Irvine for seven years. I realize now that I have attained what I was seeking in a career in family medicine, but in a different way. For example, the Layton Center is a community in and of itself, and is also part of the greater Portland community and worldwide Alzheimer’s research community. The Center has welcomed me and given me opportunities to contribute and make an impact on Alzheimer’s research.
As a geriatric neurologist focused on dementia, I form close-knit and long-term relationships with patients and families. Generally, I need to learn a great deal about a patient’s life history, occupation, daily life, and family, in order to make a diagnosis and treatment plan. Patients are often accompanied to appointments by family members, which I encourage, and we may discuss caregiving topics, community resources for patients and families, and dementia risk factors and prevention. And finally, I do feel like a “jack-of-all-trades.”
My position allows me to see patients in clinic, lead research on Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment, teach medical students, and perform community outreach. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, and yoga. I love to listen to and play music, especially classical music and opera. And I love to read, and am hoping to join a book club in the SW Portland or Lake Oswego area!