We educate medical students in the fields of geriatrics and gerontology. We offer classroom lectures and experiences in independent and long-term care settings through our Geriatric Practicum and interdisciplinary team approach to teaching students how to care for institutionalized and somewhat independent elders. The Division of Geriatrics adheres to the American Geriatrics Society's “Keep Granny Safe Competencies.”
Years one and two are comprised of approximately 30+ hours of curriculum dedicated to Geriatrics Education offered through the Doctoring I and II course, the Geriatrics Course in year two (20 hours), and systems courses including Pharmacology during years one and two.
Years three and four are dedicated to clerkships. Clerkships at ambulatory care sites in rural Maine have on average 55% older adult patients. Hospitals and emergency rooms have a slightly higher percentage of older adult patients. However, there is no dedicated curriculum addressing the skills needed to work with older adults in these health care environments.
Since 2010-11 there is a required Geriatrics Clerkship for University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine students who are enrolled in Maine. Expansion of the Geriatrics Clerkship to our other COM sites in the Northeast Region took place in 2011-2013.
National Geriatrics Curriculum Development
The COM Division of Geriatrics established and published the first geriatrics curriculum standards for osteopathic medical schools. These are endorsed by the American Association for Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), the National Area Health Education Center Organization (NAO), and the Association for Gerontology/Geriatrics in Higher Education (AGHE).
The geriatrics curriculum guidelines make it possible for all osteopathic medical schools to review and enhance their medical school curriculum to attain collaboratively agreed upon geriatrics curriculum standards and apply for Program of Merit Status from the AGHE—a national recognition similar to accreditation. The article outlining this project was featured as the lead article in the September 2009 Journal of the American Osteopathic Association (JAOA).
Maine Geriatrics Conference
The Maine Geriatrics Conference is a COM-sponsored event that occurs annually and addresses geriatrics and gerontology education in the areas of health care, health policy, and healthcare practice across the continuum of care settings for older adults. The conference also attends to topics pertaining to the adult child or family caregiver as well as paid caregivers.