Director

Alexia Torke, MD, MS

Dr. Alexia Torke is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Department of General Medicine and Geriatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, and Research Scientist with the Indiana University Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief Institute. She is also an Associate Director with the Indiana University Center for Aging Research and the Innovation Officer for Regenstrief Institute. Dr. Torke received her undergraduate degree from Carleton College and her M.D. from Indiana University. She completed her residency in Primary Care-Internal Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta and following completion, joined the faculty at Emory as a clinician-educator. During that time, she served on the Grady Memorial Hospital Ethics Committee and was a Faculty Fellow in Ethics at Emory University. She developed curricula in ethics and end of life care for medical students and residents. Dr. Torke completed further training at the University of Chicago from 2005-2007 through a fellowship in Primary Care Health Services Research and Ethics, funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Dr. Torke’s research focuses on ethical aspects of medical decision making for older adults. While at Emory University, her research addressed end-of-life decision making for hospitalized adults, including communication and spiritual aspects of care. Her current research focuses on surrogate decision making for older adults with dementia and other forms of cognitive impairment, including the roles of spirituality, ethical reasoning and communication. Her research has been published in Archives of Internal Medicine, the Journal of General Internal Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Ethics. After joining the Charles Warren Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics as Fellowship Director in July 2007, Dr. Torke developed a structured curriculum to help ethics fellows in the design, execution and completion of their scholarly projects.

Education

  • 2007 – Masters of Science for Clinical Professionals Department of Health Studies, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • 1997 – Doctor of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN
  • 1991 – Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Carleton College, Northfield, MN
    • Magna Cum Laude, with honors in Psychology

Representative Publications

  • Torke AM, Petronio S, Sachs GA, Helft PR, Purnell C, A Conceptual Model of the Role of Communication in Surrogate Decision Making for Hospitalized Adults. Patient Education and Counseling. 2012;87:54-61. PMID: 21889865.
  • Torke AM, Petronio S, Purnell C, Sachs GA, Helft PR, Callahan CM. Communicating with Clinicians: A Study of Surrogates for Hospitalized Older Adults. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2012;60:1401-1407. NIHMSID: NIHMS 375225.
  • Torke AM, Schwartz PH, Holtz LR, Montz K, Sachs GA , Older Adults and Forgoing Cancer Screening: “I think it would be strange.” Archives of Internal Medicine 2013;173:526-31. PMCID: PMC3748399
  • Petronio S, Torke A Bosslet GT, Isenberg S, Wocial LD, Helft PR. Disclosing Medical Mistakes: A Communication Management Plan for Physicians. The Permanente Journal 2013;17:73-79.
  • Fritsch, J, Petronio S, Helft PR, Torke AM. Making Decisions for Hospitalized Older Adults: Ethical Factors Considered by Family Surrogates. Journal of Clinical Ethics 2013;24:125-134.
  • (The subject of a New York Times blog: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/03/values-conflict-at-the-end-of-life/?_r=0)
  • Beckman, ES, Helft PR, Torke AM. The Content of Hope in Ambulatory Patients with Colon Cancer. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 2013;3:153-164.
  • Torke AM Schwartz PH, Holtz, LR, Montz, K, Sachs GA. Caregiver Perspectives on Cancer Screening for persons with dementia: “Why put them through it?” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2013;61:1309-1314.
  • Torke AM, Sachs GA, Helf PR, Montz K, Hui, SL, Slaven JE, Callahan CM. Scope and outcomes of surrogate decision making among hospitalized older adults. JAMA Internal Medicine 2014; 174:370-377.
  • Bute JJ, Petronio, S, Torke AM. Surrogate decision makers and proxy ownership: Challenges of privacy management in health care decision making. Health Communication 2014 Aug 30 (epub ahead of print).
  • Bandy R, Sachs GA, Montz, Inger L, Bandy RW, Torke AM. Wishard volunteer advocates program: an intervention for at-risk, incapacitated, unbefriended adults. J Am Geriatr Soc 2014;62:2171-217.
  • Hinkle LJ, Bosslet GT, Torke AM. Factors associated with family satisfaction with end of life care in the ICU: a systematic review. Chest 2014; [epub ahead of print]
  • Torke AM, Bledsoe P, Wocial LD, Bosslet GT, Helft PR. CEASE: A guide for clinicians on how to stop resuscitation efforts. In press, Annals of the American Thoracic Society.