Commentary: Aging America: meeting the needs of older Americans and the crisis in geriatrics

Acad Med. 2009 May;84(5):542-4. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31819f8da9.


The aging of the United States population will offer unprecedented challenges and opportunities for the health care system at large, and particularly medical education. In this issue of Academic Medicine, three articles provide opportunities for medical educators and others to ponder anew how we can address this so-called "age wave" as the baby boomers become senior boomers. Leipzig and colleagues describe their process for identifying 26 recommended geriatrics competencies for medical students, Reuben and colleagues examine the results of the first cohort of Reynolds Foundation geriatrics education grants, and Bernard and colleagues discuss the benefits of committing to developing departments of geriatrics at academic health centers. In addition, the recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce, highlights many of these issues. In this commentary, the authors discuss implications of selected articles from this issue and the IOM report, in hopes of provoking discussion and consideration of solutions to address the challenges faced by medical educators and by those who make public policy.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / organization & administration*
  • Academic Medical Centers / trends
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Competency-Based Education
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / standards*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / trends
  • Geriatrics / education*
  • Humans
  • United States