The national evaluation of senior mentor programs: older adults in medical education

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2009 Feb;57(2):321-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2008.02100.x.


Objectives: To identify models for senior mentor programs (SMPs), critical factors in program development, achievement of goals and objectives, effect on medical school environment, and future of programs.

Design: Ten SMPs were systematically selected to represent a variety of medical schools, geographic regions, and program types. The National Senior Mentor Program Evaluation relied upon archived data within the programs and new data collected during site visits. Archived data included internally conducted program evaluations, student course evaluations, and survey and focus group results. Site visit data were collected from key informant interviews with program staff and faculty, medical school leadership and students, and older adults serving as mentors.

Setting: Ten U.S. medical schools with SMPs.

Participants: Evaluation participants at each site included program faculty, key medical school administrators, participating students, and mentors.

Measurements: Program evaluation.

Results: All 10 programs demonstrated a positive effect on student attitudes toward older adults. Student acceptance of the programs was strong, and mentor acceptance and support were extraordinary. Eight of the 10 programs were operating in 2008 and having considerable effect on medical school environments. Most of the operating programs expect to be continuing for 5 or more years into the future.

Conclusions: The findings of the national evaluation point toward continuation and likely growth of the senior mentor phenomenon in U.S. medical education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mentors*
  • Models, Educational
  • Program Evaluation
  • United States