The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is the premier professional organization of health care providers dedicated to improving the health and well being of all older adults. Through panels, discussions and residency advising, the BUSM Student Chapter seeks to educate all medical students about the clinical needs and health care concerns of older patients, encourage and provide opportunities for medical student clinical and basic science research in geriatrics, and interest physicians-in-training in the field of geriatrics.
All BU medical students are invited to join the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Student Chapter.
Through quarterly lunch meetings that include panels, discussions and residency advising, the BUSM Student Chapter seeks to:
- Educate all medical students about the clinical needs and health care concerns of older patients
- Increase awareness of end-of-life care issues such as palliative care and hospice care
- Encourage and provide opportunities for medical student clinical and basic science research in geriatrics
- Interest physicians-in-training in the field of geriatrics
- Develop relationships between geriatrics faculty and medical students
- Faculty Advisor: Megan Young, MD, [email protected]
Older Adult Companion Program
BUSM's AGS student chapter is piloting a new service learning opportunity, The Older Adult Companion (OAC) Program, in which first and second year medical students are paired with nursing home residents in the community. Students participating in the program commit to visiting their companions 3-4 hours every month to spend time together (sharing stories, playing games, or watching movies) and attend lunchtime meeting once a month to reflect on their experiences. This exciting opportunity gives each student the chance to develop a longitudinal relationship with an older adult with a variety of sensory or cognitive impairments while also gaining exposure to the interdisciplinary approach to caring for older adults with chronic illness seen in nursing homes. If you are interested in getting involved or want more information on the OAC program, please contact Dr. Megan Young, (m[email protected]).
November 2016: We hosted the The New England Centenarian Study (NECS), which is run out of BMC/BUSM and is the largest, worldwide longitudinal study of centenarians and extreme survival! We discussed research findings and future research opportunities for interested students.
September 2016: "Alive Inside" - the student chapter hosted a viewing of the documentary, Alive Inside. "This stirring documentary follows numerous visionaries in healthcare including social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it."
October 2015: "Primary Care Panel" - The Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, and OB/GYN Interest Groups co-sponsored a lunch panel and heard from physicians about their experiences working in primary care. The panel included Drs. Megan Young, Sean Palfrey, Catherine Rich, Katherine Gergen-Barnett, and Pooja Mehta. Students were able to learn more about the many ways to practice primary care.
May 2015: Wit Screening & Discussion - We partnered with Oncology Interest Groups to host a screening of the movie "Wit" followed by a discussion with Drs. Kevan Harshorn (Hem/Onc) and Lisa Norton (Geriatrics) on some of the issues brought up in the film, including end-of-life care and patient advocacy.
September 2015: "What is Geriatrics?" - Dr. Chippendale shared what she does as a geriatrician at Boston Medical Center. We saw how complex cases can get in elderly patients and the great need for a specialized geriatrics-trained point-person to coordinate care for such a frail population - referring patients to multiple specialists or prescribing 20+ medications is often not the solution! There are also many opportunities to work in multidisciplinary teams with other healthcare professionals and hear amazing life stories from the patients themselves. Dr. Chippendale reminded us that whatever specialty we choose to pursue, we will meet geriatrics patients and thus, encouraged us to learn more about geriatrics during our four years of medical school.
January 2015: Redefining Success at the End of Life: A Conversation on Hospice & Palliative Care - We hosted a journal club for medical students to discuss two articles about end of life care in medicine. We had the pleasure of having two geriatrics fellows come and talk about their experience on this topic as well.
April 2013: We partnered with Family Medicine Interest Groups to host "Breaking Bad News" Breaking bad news is one of a physician's most difficult duties; however, medical education typically gives little formal preparation for this daunting task. Without proper training, the discomfort and uncertainty associated with breaking bad news may lead physicians to emotionally disengage from patients. Dr. Wilkinson spoke about how to break bad news to patients, especially the elderly and their families.
March 2013: We partnered with the Psychiatry Student Interest Group to host a "lunch and learn" panel session on Mental Health and the Elderly. Since a large part of medical care and outcome depends upon a patient's motivations, we wanted to discuss the effects of mental illness as it affects the patient's medical care. The panel included a geriatric psychiatrist, a psychiatrist, two fellows in geriatric psychiatry, and one fellow in psychiatry. They spoke to the challenges and implications of such care with the elderly population, and how they arrived at their decision to pursue their career paths.
December 2012: We partnered with MedGLO, the BUSM's Gay/Lesbian Organization to host a panel discussed the topic of LGBT* Aging: Addressing Disparities and Health Care needs of Older Adults (*Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender). During the session, excerpts from the powerful and critically acclaimed documentary "Gen Silent" were shown. The panelists included:
- Mark Simone-Skidmore, MD a geriatrician in the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) and an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
- Bob Linscott, MTS an educator and community leader committed to issues of equality and social justice, and currently the Assistant Director of the LGBT Aging Project, a non-profit organization based in Boston that is dedicated to education, outreach and advocacy for LGBT seniors and caregivers.
- Matthew Russell, MD, MSc an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Section of Geriatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.
October 2012: Geriatrics "Lunch & Learn" talk on elder abuse. Clare Wohlgemuth RN, GCNS-BC, Director of Nursing for the geriatrics section at BMC, spoke on identifying elder abuse, the various forms of abuse (verbal, emotional, psychological), neglect and related consequences as it relates to abuse, detection of abuse, and treatment of elders who have been abused. She shared examples from her personal experiences in home health care in Boston.
November 2010: We were pleased to have about 15 people in attendance for our first event of the academic year. Dr. Won Lee helped the students understand physical and sensory changes that many people experience with age. Four stations were set up for this interactive event. At the first station, people tried to button a collared shirt while their fingers were taped together and their fingertips were taped over to represent arthritis and neuropathy. At the second station, students tried to fill out forms while wearing lenses to represent diminished sight. Another station was for following commands while wearing the same glasses and putting cotton balls in their ears. There was also a pillbox station where the students tried to fill up the boxes up according to written directions while wearing corrective lenses. Students seemed to enjoy the activities and to gain some appreciation for the difficulties associated with older age. Dr. Lee also fielded questions about Geriatrics while students enjoyed dinner. Overall it was a very successful event and everyone seemed to really enjoy and benefit from it.
December 2009: Many thanks to our guest speakers Willie and Janet from the PAIRS program (Partnering Alzheimer's Research Instruction Study). Willie, an Alzheimer's patient, presented with his wife and caregiver, Janet, to about 20 students. Our speakers were very generous in sharing their experience with Willie's diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease one year ago. The couple discussed the impact that the disease has made on their lives and were very open to answering questions and providing information. Willie and Janet discussed many steps they have taken to cope with the diagnosis, including volunteering and spending time with other Alzheimer's patients and caregivers.
A slide show was also presented to the students of a recent trip to the DeCordova museum to view an exhibit by ARTZ, or Artists for Alzheimer's. We are very grateful to Willie and Janet for taking the time to speak with us and share their stories.
November 2009: Our first talk of the year was a success with about 30 students in attendance! Patricia Kimball, MS, RN, BC hosted aa seminar entitled "Sex and the Older Adult". Students learned how the aging process affects sexual behavior and functioning. Examples of barriers to a healthy sex life for seniors included physiological changes, psychosocial factors, and psychiatric illness. Students learned about effective approaches to screening and assessment of aging-related issues in a senior's sex life, as well as how to provide treatment for these problems. The presentation was complete with dolls to model safe approaches for seniors to use during intimacy.
December 2008: Dr. Eric Hardt gave a group of roughly 15 students their first glimpse into the exciting field of geriatrics. Dr. Hardt took them through his early life following his father on house calls to his time at Yale as an anti-war activist to his time in Harlem as a hematologist/oncologist. The passion Dr. Hardt showed about his job and life was evident throughout the talk. He stressed not to follow money or fame but to select geriatrics based on the intellectual appeal, flexible hours, challenge and most importantly the bond he has formed with patients he has seen for the last 25 years working for Boston Medical Center which leaves him satisfied each and every day.
October 2008: The President of the AGS Student Chapter, Emily Gorman, with the help of Dr. Won Lee, hosted a seminar entitled "How well will you function at age 85?" Students got a hands on look at the restrictions on daily living of a senior citizen. Cotton balls were placed in the ears to simulate loss of hearing, medical tape around the finger joints to simulate loss of motion, and reading glasses to simulate vision impairment. The participants were then asked to perform the daily tasks of a geriatric citizen: buttoning a shirt, filling out medical forms, and most challenging placing pills in a weekly pill box from a physician's list. Special thanks to Dr. Elizabeth Nowak and Dr. Dan Chandler for their assistance.