• academic geriatric programs;
  • geriatric education;
  • centers of excellence

Academic geriatric medicine programs are critical for training the physician workforce to care effectively for aging Americans. This article describes the progress made by medical schools in developing these programs. Academic leaders in geriatrics at all 145 accredited allopathic and osteopathic medical schools in the United States were surveyed in the winter of 2005 (68% response rate) and results compared with findings from a similar 2001 survey. Physician faculty in geriatrics at U.S. medical schools increased from 7.5 (mean) full-time equivalents (FTEs) in 2001 to 9.6 FTEs in 2005. Faculty and staff effort is mostly devoted to clinical practice (mean 36.9%) and education (mean 34.6%). A small number of programs focus on research; only six responding schools devote more than 40% of faculty effort to research. Seventy-one percent reported that their medical school required a geriatrics medical student clerkship or that their geriatric training was integrated into a required clinical rotation. In summary, from 2001 to 2005, more fellows and faculty have been recruited and trained, and some academic programs have emerged with strong education, research, and clinical initiatives. Medical student exposure to geriatrics curriculum has increased, although few academic geriatricians are pursuing research careers, and the number of practicing geriatricians is declining. An expanded investment in training the physician workforce to care for older adults will be required to ensure adequate care for aging Americans.