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UNC Geriatrics Student Interest Group


Senior Mentor Program 

The Senior Mentor Program, developed and directed by Ellen Roberts, PhD, MPH, is a required program for all first-year medical students at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The program’s purpose is to improve the quality of care of future doctors when treating older persons. Through a series of visits with seniors, medical school students gain a broader understanding of the health impacts of aging. The program aims to:

  • counter stereotypes about aging
  • foster positive connections to older adults
  • develop effective skills for working with older patients

All first-year medical school students participate in the Senior Mentor Program during their spring semester Patient-Centered Care Course.


The Salber-Phillips Award

Through the Salber-Phillips Award, UNC medical students in their second through fourth years are recognized for their community-oriented projects that improve the health or well-being of older adults who are 65 or older.


Care of the Older Patient Scholarly Concentration

The Care of the Older Patient Scholarly Concentration, directed by Lindsay Wilson, MD, with support from Amy Denham, MD, MPH, Meredith Gilliam, MD, MPH, and Ellen Roberts, PhD, MPH, prepares medical students to care for older adults in their professional careers, regardless of what clinical specialty they ultimately 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.

American Geriatrics Society (AGS) UNC Student Chapter

The mission of the American Geriatrics Society – UNC-CH Student Chapter, also known as the Geriatrics Special Interest Group, is to:

  • interest physicians-in-training in the field of geriatrics
  • enhance the visibility of geriatric medicine at the UNC School of Medicine
  • provide educational programs on geriatric medicine

The chapter aims to educate all medical students in relevant aspects of aging, especially those who do not specifically plan to enter the field of geriatrics. The chapter seeks to develop leadership skills in geriatric medicine by sponsoring interdisciplinary programs, encouraging and funding research participation, and creating geriatric-related community service opportunities.

Ellen Roberts, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, is our Faculty representative for the UNC Geriatrics SIG / AGS Student Chapter.


Medical Students Training in Aging Resarch | MSTAR

UNC is one of only a handful of national Medical Students Training in Aging Research, or MSTAR, training sites. The MSTAR program pairs medical students with UNC research faculty for a summer of aging-related study across multiple disciplines and fields.

Ellen Roberts, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, is Principal Investigator for the AFAR-funded program and Kristen Ruck manages all program activities. Faculty from different UNC School of Medicine divisions, departments, and schools serve as mentors to MSTAR students.