Preventive Medicine

MEMPHIS TN 381040000
Tel: (901) 577-7485


  • Board Cert., American Board of Hospice and Palliative Care, Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Board Cert., American Board of Internal Medicine, Geriatrics
  • PostDoc, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Geriatrics
  • Board Cert., American Board of Internal Medicine, Medicine
  • PostDoc, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Internal Medicine
  • M.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, Medicine
  • B.A., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, Chemistry, Biology

Research Interest/Specialty

Dr. Burns is interested in the organization of health care delivery systems and improving their access and quality, particularly for older patients. He is interested in financing and outcomes of housing options for older persons, and in keeping older persons in the community. His primary research focuses on primary care and home based behavioral interventions and technology interventions for Alzheimer’s caregivers and patients and is designed to teach caregivers to manage difficult patient behaviors and reduce their own burden. 

Clinical Care Specialty/Interest


Methodist University Hospital
            Active Staff, 10/05 to present
St. Francis Hospital
            Director, Acute Care Geriatric Unit, 2011 to present
Regional Medical Center
            Active Staff, 10/99 to 2009
Medical Director, Geriatrics and the Memphis/Shelby County Integrated Delivery Network, 1999-2004
            Medical Director, Wound Care Mobile Van, 1/04 to 2009
U.T. Bowld Hospital
            Active Staff, 7/87 to 6/03
            Consulting Staff, 6/03 to 6/04
St. Joseph Hospital
            Active Staff, 7/97-10/99
Veterans Affairs Medical Center
            Associate Chief of Geriatrics and Extended Care, 5/90-7/97
            Staff Physician, 7/88-7/97
St. Peter’s Villa, Medical Director, 7/97 to present
Memphis Jewish Home, Medical Director, 5/00 to present
Ave Maria Nursing Home, Attending Physician
Wesley Highland Nursing Home, Attending Physician
Crossroads Hospice, Medical Director, January 1998 to present
Geriatrics Group of Memphis, President, 10/04 - present
Med Senior Connection, Medical Director, Regional Medical Center, 10/99-9/04
MedWise Center, Medical Director, St. Joseph Hospital, 7/97-10/99
University of Tennessee Medical Group, Internal Medicine, 7/87-6/88, 10/94- 12/96

Research Keywords

Caregiving, dementia, military families

Research Description

Funding/ Period
Reintegration: The Role of Spouse Telephone BATTLEMIND pilot project
DoD CDMRP 10/08-9/11
Spouse READI - Telephone support for Reintegration randomized clinical trial
Army MOMRP 9/09-8/13
Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial Memory and Cognition IN Decreased Hypertension Substudy
NHLBI 09/09- 08/18
Telephone Support During Deployment for OEF/OIF Spouses. 
Army MOMRP 4/11-4/15


  1. Nichols, LO, Martindale-Adams, JL, Burns, R, Graney, MJ, Zuber, JK, Kennedy, SE. Potential explanations for control group benefit. Clin Trials, 2012.
  2. Nichols, LO, Martindale-Adams, J, Burns, R, Graney, MJ, Zuber, J. Typical and atypical dementia family caregivers: systematic and objective comparisons. Int J Aging Hum Dev, 72 (1), 27-43, 2011.
  3. Nichols, LO, Martindale-Adams, J, Burns, R, Graney, MJ, Zuber, J. Translation of a dementia caregiver support program in a health care system--REACH VA. Arch Intern Med, 171 (4), 353-9, 2011.
  4. Nichols, LO, Chang, C, Lummus, A, Burns, R, Martindale-Adams, J, Graney, MJ, Coon, DW, Czaja, S, ,. The cost-effectiveness of a behavior intervention with caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease. J Am Geriatr Soc, 56 (3), 413-20, 2008.
  5. Belle, SH, Burgio, L, Burns, R, Coon, D, Czaja, SJ, Gallagher-Thompson, D, Gitlin, LN, Klinger, J, Koepke, KM, Lee, CC, Martindale-Adams, J, Nichols, L, Schulz, R, Stahl, S, Stevens, A, Winter, L, Zhang, S, ,. Enhancing the quality of life of dementia caregivers from different ethnic or racial groups: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med, 145 (10), 727-38, 2006.
  6. Burns, R, Nichols, LO, Graney, MJ, Martindale-Adams, J, Lummus, A. Cognitive abilities of Alzheimer's patients: perceptions of Black and White caregivers. Int J Aging Hum Dev, 62 (3), 209-19, 2006.
  7. Gitlin, LN, Roth, DL, Burgio, LD, Loewenstein, DA, Winter, L, Nichols, L, Argüelles, S, Corcoran, M, Burns, R, Martindale, J. Caregiver appraisals of functional dependence in individuals with dementia and associated caregiver upset: psychometric properties of a new scale and response patterns by caregiver and care recipient characteristics. J Aging Health, 17 (2), 148-71, 2005.
  8. Nichols, L, Martindale-Adams, J, Burns, R, Coon, D, Ory, M, Mahoney, D, Tarlow, B, Burgio, L, Gallagher-Thompson, D, Guy, D, Arguelles, T, Winter, L. Social marketing as a framework for recruitment: illustrations from the REACH study. J Aging Health, 16 (5 Suppl), 157S-76S, 2004.
  9. Belle, SH, Zhang, S, Czaja, SJ, Burns, R, Schulz, R. Use of cognitive enhancement medication in persons with Alzheimer disease who have a family caregiver: results from the Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH) project. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, 12 (3), 250-7, 2004.
  10. Roth, DL, Burgio, LD, Gitlin, LN, Gallagher-Thompson, D, Coon, DW, Belle, SH, Stevens, AB, Burns, R. Psychometric analysis of the Revised Memory and Behavior Problems Checklist: factor structure of occurrence and reaction ratings. Psychol Aging, 18 (4), 906-15, 2003.
  11. Wisniewski, SR, Belle, SH, Coon, DW, Marcus, SM, Ory, MG, Burgio, LD, Burns, R, Schulz, R, ,. The Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH): project design and baseline characteristics. Psychol Aging, 18 (3), 375-84, 2003.
  12. Gitlin, LN, Belle, SH, Burgio, LD, Czaja, SJ, Mahoney, D, Gallagher-Thompson, D, Burns, R, Hauck, WW, Zhang, S, Schulz, R, Ory, MG, ,. Effect of multicomponent interventions on caregiver burden and depression: the REACH multisite initiative at 6-month follow-up. Psychol Aging, 18 (3), 361-74, 2003.
  13. Burns, R, Nichols, LO, Martindale-Adams, J, Graney, MJ, Lummus, A. Primary care interventions for dementia caregivers: 2-year outcomes from the REACH study. Gerontologist, 43 (4), 547-55, 2003.
  14. Schulz, R, Burgio, L, Burns, R, Eisdorfer, C, Gallagher-Thompson, D, Gitlin, LN, Mahoney, DF. Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health (REACH): overview, site-specific outcomes, and future directions. Gerontologist, 43 (4), 514-20, 2003.
  15. Schulz, R, O'Brien, A, Czaja, S, Ory, M, Norris, R, Martire, LM, Belle, SH, Burgio, L, Gitlin, L, Coon, D, Burns, R, Gallagher-Thompson, D, Stevens, A. Dementia caregiver intervention research: in search of clinical significance. Gerontologist, 42 (5), 589-602, 2002.