DEVELOPMENTS: Advancing Geriatrics Education: Evaluation of a New Curricular Initiative

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Background: This study describes the development of a required 1-week curricular program in geriatric medicine for 3rd-year medical students and presents 3 years of evaluation data. Description: Successful aging, heterogeneity of the aging population, and comprehensive geriatric assessment were emphasized. In addition to didactic sessions, students participated in panel discussions and small group case conferences, and performed history and physical examinations on older patients. Evaluation: Students' acquisition of knowledge about geriatric medicine was assessed with pre-and posttests; posttest scores showed statistically significant improvement. Because attitudes toward older patients can impact the care provided, students' completed pre- and postattitude assessment scales. Attitude measures were repeated for 2 student cohorts, 1 and 2 years after completion of the program. Independent t tests comparing mean pretest and posttest scores revealed significant improvement in students' attitudes, which were maintained when attitudes were retested. Standardized mean difference scores were computed to measure the relationship between the educational intervention and students' attitude measures. Conclusions: Time in the medical school curriculum is scarce, but these results indicate that significant improvements can be made in medical students' attitudes toward and knowledge of older patients in 1 week.

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Teaching and Learning in Medicine, v. 17, issue 4, p. 355-362