Geriatric education in the health professions: Are we making progress?

Shoshana H. Bardach, Graham D. Rowles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Purpose:Relative to the overall population, older adults consume a disproportionally large percentage of health care resources. Despite advocacy and efforts initiated more than 30 years ago, the number of providers with specialized training in geriatrics is still not commensurate with the growing population of older adults. This contribution provides a contemporary update on the status of geriatric education and explores how geriatric coverage is valued, how geriatric competence is defined, and how students are evaluated for geriatric competencies.Design and Methods:Semi-structured interviews were conducted with curriculum representatives from 7 health profession disciplines in a case study of one academic medical center.Findings:Geriatric training varies across health professions' disciplines. Although participants recognized the unique needs of older patients and valued geriatric coverage, they identified shortage of time in packed curricula, lack of geriatrics-trained educators, absence of financial incentive, and low student demand (resulting from limited exposure to older adults and gerontological stereotyping) as barriers to improving geriatric training.Implications:Progress in including geriatric training within curricula across the health professions continues to lag behind need as a result of the continuing presence of barriers identified several decades ago. There remains an urgent need for institutional commitment to enhance geriatric education as a component of health professions curricula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-618
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication was supported by grant TL1 RR033172 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) , funded by the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH) , and supported by the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research .


  • Barriers
  • Geriatric education and training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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