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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Effect of an Enhanced Geriatrics Curriculum on Medical Students' Knowledge: A Cohort Study

  • Author(s): Lee, Ming, Ph.D.
  • Wilkerson, LuAnn, Ed.D.
  • Ferrell, Bruce A
  • et al.

BACKGROUND: Medical schools across the nation have turned attention to strengthening their curricula in geriatric medicine to prepare students for an aging nation. Effects of enhanced curricula need to be evaluated for program monitoring and continuous improvement.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of an enhanced geriatrics curriculum on medical students’ knowledge.

DESIGN: Longitudinal cohort studies with cross-sectional historical comparisons.

PARTICIPANTS: The Class of 2005 students (n = 150) and a random sample of the Class of 2001 students (n = 43) as a historical control with the control group received a lesser amount of geriatrics training.

MEASUREMENTS: A validated 18-item geriatrics knowledge test assessing medical students’ knowledge about aging (6 items) and clinical geriatric management (12 items) was administered to the Class of 2005 students at the baseline and end of years 1, 2, and 3, and to the Class of 2001 students at the end of year 4.

RESULTS: The Class of 2005 students demonstrated a significant increase in the number of items answered correctly (M = 35% to M = 75%, p < .001) and a significant decrease in the number of items answered “Don’t Know” (M = 44% to M = 5%, p < .001). The cohort also showed a better performance at the end of year 3 (M = 75%) than the fourth-year control group (M = 71%, p = .009).

CONCLUSIONS: The enhanced geriatrics curriculum demonstrated an effect on improving medical students’ geriatrics knowledge.

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