A User's Guide to Enhancing Geriatrics in an Undergraduate Medical School Curriculum: The Ten-Step Model to Winning the “Geriatric Game”


  • This work was supported by the Bureau of Health Professions' Geriatric Academic Career Award 5 K01 HP 00007, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Grant, “Comprehensive Programs to Strengthen Physicians” Training in Geriatrics, and the University of Rochester Hartford Center of Excellence.

  • Portions of this work were presented in abstract and poster format at the 2002 annual meeting of the American Geriatrics Society.

Address correspondence to Annette Medina-Walpole, MD, Monroe Community Hospital, 435 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14620. E-mail: annette_medinawalpole@urmc.rochester.edu


In 1999, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry committed to major restructuring of its undergraduate medical school curriculum. A distinguishing feature of this reform was the planned emphasis on and integration of several core topics or themes throughout the 4 years of the curriculum. One of these curricular themes was aging. The faculty in geriatrics was presented with an unparalleled opportunity to develop a geriatrics curriculum of major proportions through the development of an aging theme. Through a user's guide approach based on the authors' experience to date, this article identifies the 10 steps necessary to “win the geriatric game” successfully integrating an aging theme into an undergraduate medical school curriculum. Since the initiation of the aging theme, several new courses, cases, and conferences have been added or enhanced, affecting all 4 years of the curriculum. Key operational challenges included successful engagement of course directors, tracking the actual experience of the aging theme, and evaluation of students' attainment of learning objectives and eventual career choices. The authors' experience suggests that an aging theme can successfully enhance the geriatrics curricular content of undergraduate education and strongly affect students across all 4 years. This 10-step approach may serve as a model for other universities committed to integrating geriatrics across the full undergraduate medical curriculum.