Care of Older Patients Scholarly Concentration


Overview and Application Process

The Care of the Older Patient concentration helps better prepare medical students to care for older adults in their professional careers, regardless of what clinical specialty they ultimately choose to pursue.  Students participate in patient care in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings.  Faculty members work with students throughout the four-year program and assist in designing and completing a project.  Completion of the concentration will be recognized on the student’s official transcript, in the commencement program, and in a letter of accommodation placed in the student’s academic file.

Goals of the scholarly concentration include:

  • Provide an integrated 4-year elective program of geriatric experiences.
  • Increase knowledge base and sensitivity to the issues of aging adults.
  • Introduce the principles of inpatient, outpatient, nursing home, and home care for the elderly.
  • Learn function, social, cognitive, and physical assessment skills.
  • Facilitate research activities and critical thinking.

Students who wish to participate in the Care of the Older Patient Scholarly Concentration should submit a one to two-page essay explaining why they are interested in completing the scholarly concentration program.   Interested students are also encouraged to participate in activities of the Geriatric Medical Student Interest Group, including attending monthly lunchtime sessions.  Students will be selected based on interest, demonstrated commitment to care of older patients, and prior experiences in geriatric care.

Please submit your application for a scholarly concentration program by January 29, 2018 by 8 am using this ONLINE APPLICATION.  Applications for all scholarly concentration programs will be distributed to directors for their review; expect follow up communication from them.

Program Structure and Highlights

The Care of Older Patient Scholarly Concentration has elements in all phases of the TEC Curriculum.

Foundation Phase
Students must complete at least one of the following during Foundation Phase:

  • Participating in the elective MEDI 286 – Special Topics on Aging.
  • Participating in the Medical Student Training for Aging Research Program (MSTAR) or other aging-related research mentored by a member of the geriatrics faculty during the summer between first and second years.
  • Participating in Beyond Clinic Walls, a component of SHAC that provides community service to an older adult in the community.  To receive credit, students must participate in at least ten home visits.
  • Completion of at least 20 hours of community service with agencies that support older adults.

Application Phase
Must complete one of the following during Application Phase:

  • Hospital, Interventional, and Surgical Care Course – be assigned to the Acute Care of the Elderly in-patient unit (Med A) at UNC-CH or to any other specialized hospital units for the elderly
  • Care of Specific Populations Course – In the component “Patients with Neurologic and Psychiatric Illness” students will receive concentration credit for experiences in geriatric psychiatry
  • Community Based Longitudinal Care Course – students must use at least four half days of their self-directed learning time in one or more of the following settings:
    • Geriatrics specialty clinics
    • Continuing care retirement communities
    • Assisted living communities
    • Home visits to elderly patients in their homes
    • Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
    • Home hospice
    • Inpatient Hospice

Individualization Phase
Students must complete at least one four-week elective/selective in geriatrics during the Individualization Phase. Options that will count toward the Care of the Older Patient Scholarly Concentration include:

  • Palliative Care Selective (APSM 402-48)
  • Geriatrics Oncology Selective (APSM 402-24/MEDI 510)
  • Geriatrics Emergency Medicine Selective (APSM 409-07)
  • New Models of Care for the Underserved (if clinical placement is at the PACE site) (APSM 401-47/FMME 410)

Additional Enrichment Activities
Participation in activities of the Geriatric Interest Group.

Final Project
A scholarly project mentored by a member of the geriatrics faculty.