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A collaborative national model to assess competencies for medical students, residents, and other healthcare practitioners in gait and falls risk evaluation.

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To ensure that the healthcare workforce is adequately prepared to care for the growing population of older adults, minimum competencies in geriatrics have been published for medical students and primary care residents. Approaches to teaching and assessing these competencies are needed to guide medical schools, residencies, and continuing medical education programs. With sponsorship by the Education Committee and Teachers Section of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), geriatrics educators from multiple institutions collaborated to develop a model to teach and assess a major domain of student and resident competency: Gait and Falls Risk Evaluation. The model was introduced as a workshop at annual meetings of the AGS and the American College of Physicians in 2011 and 2012. Participants included medical students, residents, geriatrics fellows, practicing physicians, and midlevel practitioners. At both national meetings, participants rated the experience highly and reported statistically significant gains in overall competence in gait and falls risk evaluation. The largest gains were observed for medical students, residents, and practicing physicians (P < .001 for all); geriatrics fellows reported a higher level of baseline competence and therefore had a lower magnitude of improvement, albeit still significant (P = .02). Finally, the majority of participants reported intent to disseminate the model in their institutions. This article describes the design, implementation, and evaluation of this collaborative national model. A number of institutions have used the model, and the goal of this article is to aid in further dissemination of this successful approach to teaching and assessing geriatrics competencies.

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