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Meredith Gilliam, MD, MPH, Co-Director

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.

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.
  • 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 Hospitals Hillsborough Campus 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
    • Skilled Nursing Facility

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:

  • Geriatrics in Family Medicine (Charlotte AHEC) [APSM 401-49/FMME 412/FMME 412-3]
  • Hospice and Palliative Care in Western NC [APSM 401-22/FMME 441/FMME 441-3/FMME 441B]
  • Geriatric Family Medicine (Chatham Hospital) [FMME 467]
  • Elective in Hospice and Palliative Care, Wilmington Campus [MEDI 532]
  • Elective in Palliative Medicine and Hospice – Charlotte Campus [MEDI 535]
  • Geriatric Medicine Selective (MEDI 537)
  • Acting Internship in Internal Medicine at Charles George VA Medical Centre [MEDI 545/MEDI 545-2]
  • Palliative Care Selective (APSM 402-48/MEDI 464/MEDI 464-3)
  • Geriatrics Oncology Selective (APSM 402-24/MEDI 510/ MEDI 510-3)
  • Geriatrics Emergency Medicine and Transitions of Care Selective (APSM 409-07/ERMD 423)
  • Interdisciplinary Geriatric Care in a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) [FMME 473/FMME 473-3/APSM 401-64]
  • Palliative Medicine and Hospice at Wake Med (MEDI 425)

Other rotations (not listed here) may be considered for meeting this requirement. Please e-mail concentration leaders to get approval first.

Additional Enrichment Activities

  • Participation in activities of the Geriatric Interest Group
  • Geriatrics Journal Club

Final Project

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