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Article |

What Is a Geriatrician?

Valery A. Portnoi, MD
JAMA. 1980;243(2):123-125. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300280021020.
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THE COMMITTEE on Aging and Medical Education of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) at the National Academy of Sciences has released a report that may have an important impact on the future of medical education and residency training programs. One of the most important recommendations of the committee was to incorporate "a broad and relevant body of knowledge" on aging into the formal curricula of medical students and to require every physician (except pediatricians) to have an appropriate exposure to the principles of geriatric medicine.1

While realizing that there are features specific to geriatric practice, the committee failed to provide a definition of such a practice and recommends against the establishment of a subspecialty of geriatrics. Paul Beeson, chairman of the IOM committee, said that geriatric medicine should be considered as an academic specialty, rather than a practical field, comparable with infectious diseases, which "is weakly represented as a


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