Context By 2030, 20% of the US population will be older than 65 years compared
with 12.4% in 2000. The development of geriatric medicine research and training
programs to prepare for this increasing number of older individuals is largely
dependent on the successful establishment of academic geriatric medicine programs
in medical schools.
Objective To assess the structure, resources, and activities of academic geriatric
medicine programs in US allopathic and osteopathic schools of medicine.
Design, Setting, and Participants Survey distributed to the academic geriatric medicine leaders of the
144 US allopathic and osteopathic medical schools in March 2001.
Main Outcome Measures Organizational structure, program information, curriculum, budgetary
issues, and characteristics of academic geriatric medicine leaders.
Results A total of 121 program directors (84%) responded. Most schools (87%)
had an identifiable academic geriatric program structure, with 67% established
after 1984. The greatest proportion of faculty and staff time (40%) was spent
in clinical practice, followed by research and scholarship (12%), residency
and fellowship education (10% each), and medical student education (7.8%).
Clinical practice accounted for the greatest portion (27%) of revenue, and
25.7% of the programs had total annual budgets of less than $250 000,
while 11% had budgets of greater than $5 million. The largest obstacles to
achieving the goals of an academic geriatric medicine program were a lack
of research faculty and fellows and poor clinical reimbursement.
Conclusions Most US medical schools have an identifiable academic geriatric medicine
program; most have been established within the last 15 years. Resources are
needed to train faculty for roles as teachers and researchers and to develop
medical school geriatric programs of the size and scope equivalent to other