Do Interest Groups Cultivate Interest? Trajectories of Geriatric Interest Group Members

Can Geriatr J. 2020 Sep 1;23(3):264-269. doi: 10.5770/cgj.23.413. eCollection 2020 Sep.


Background: Minimal exposure, misconceptions, and lack of interest have historically driven the shortage of health-care providers for older adults. This study aimed to determine how medical students' participation in the National Geriatrics Interest Group (NGIG) and local Geriatrics Interest Groups (GIGs) shapes their career development in the care of older adults.

Methods: An electronic survey consisting of quantitative and qualitative metrics to assess the influence of Interest Groups was distributed to all current and past members of local GIGs at Canadian universities since 2017, as well as current and past executives of the NGIG since 2011. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were performed.

Results: Thirty-one responses (27.7% response rate) were collected from medical students (13), residents (16), and physicians (2). 79% of resident respondents indicated they will likely have a geriatrics-focused medical practice. 45% of respondents indicated GIG/NGIG involvement facilitated the establishment of strong mentorship. Several themes emerged on how GIG/NGIG promoted interest in geriatrics: faculty mentorship, networking, dispelling stigma, and career advancement.

Conclusion: The positive associations with the development of geriatrics-focused careers and mentorship compel ongoing support for these organizations as a strategy to increase the number of physicians in geriatrics-related practices.

Keywords: geriatrics; interest group; medical education; medical students; mentorship.