Internal Medicine Residency

University of Pittsburgh

Training Program: Geriatrics Track

Rollin Wright, MD, MA, MPH
Director, Geriatrics Track

Why geriatrics?

  • The 65 and older crowd consumes more health care than any other age group.
  • Clinicians in almost every medicine subspecialty and health care setting take care of older adults every day.
  • The presentation, management, and pathophysiology of disease often differ significantly in older adults. And today's primary care physicians and subspecialists need to be better prepared to anticipate and manage the complex needs of these patients.

The Geriatrics Track provides future subspecialists and generalists with a unique opportunity to enhance their internal medicine training with skill sets and expertise they cannot obtain anywhere else in the residency program and to position themselves at the cutting edge of delivering health care to a burgeoning older population. Furthermore, the University of Pittsburgh's Division of Geriatric Medicine is recognized nationally as a leader in geriatrics research and provides residents with a variety of mentoring and research opportunities.

What makes this track different?

"The Geriatrics Track is what drew me to this residency program.... We take on patients that the other tracks don't; about half are in nursing homes, while the other half are in home care. We follow these patients during our second and third years of residency, and it's sort of like getting to be their PCP. We get to see the full progress of their health, get to know their families, and engage in the discussion of end-of-life issues."

Sing Tsai, MD
Geriatrics Track

A geriatrics track is offered in only three programs in the country. Unique to the program here is clinical training that provides more in-depth experience in the care of older adults. Through electives, residents have the opportunity to rotate through multidisciplinary subspecialty clinics dedicated to the evaluation and management of common geriatric syndromes, including the following:

  • Urinary incontinence
  • Falls and mobility problems
  • Mood and cognition disorders
  • Physical medicine and acute rehabilitation
  • Hospice and palliative care
  • Geriatric musculoskeletal and chronic pain management

The close-knit group of residents in the Geriatrics Track meet weekly for noon conferences that cover a 2-year core curriculum. The curriculum includes a variety of board-relevant topics, ranging from anemia in geriatric patients to driving while elderly and from Long-Term Care 101 to Name That Dementia. Residents in the Geriatrics Track become familiar and comfortable with care of older adults across the spectrum of clinical settings, from home-based primary care to acute care of the elderly in the hospital (ACE), from acute care to subacute care in rehabilitation settings, and from primary care and geriatric consultation in an outpatient office to long-term care in nursing homes, dementia units, and programs for the all-inclusive care of the elderly (PACE). The residents share a panel of patients and gain continuity care experiences in long-term care and home care during the second and third years of their training. In addition, to fulfill the residency's scholarly experience requirement, the residents complete a project in an area of interest related to aging. They receive strong, individualized mentorship throughout the process, with the goal of presenting their work at a national meeting.

What do graduates do?

Graduates from the track are encouraged to apply to subspecialty fellowships, geriatrics fellowships, or combined fellowships. There is a tremendous need across subspecialties for trainees who have a background and experience with unique aspects of the care of older adults. Past graduates have moved on to subspecialty fellowships in geriatrics, hematology/oncology, and palliative care. Some have used the track to gain needed skills and experience for careers in hospitalist and primary care medicine. Others have pursued master's degrees in public health and policy, with the goal of helping to shape health care policy. And still others have used the experience to enhance their expertise in the education of clinicians.

A scholarly project is part of the Geriatrics Track program. Examples of scholarly projects are published articles and presentations at regional or national meetings. The goals of the project are to develop an understanding of clinical research and to acquire some of the basic skills necessary for clinical study, both of which are essential parts of internal medicine training.

The Department of Medicine offers several positions in the Geriatrics Track each year. For additional information about this track, please contact Dr. Rollin Wright. For more information about general application procedures, visit our How to Apply page. For a printable pdf outline of the Geriatrics Track, please click here.

GERIATRICS TRACK
PGY1 5-6 Months of Inpatient Floors
  • 2-3 Months General Medicine
  • 1 Month Geriatrics
  • 1 Month Cardiology
  • 1 Month Hematology/Oncology
1 Month Medical ICU
1 Month CCU
1 Month Outpatient Geriatrics
2-3 Months Electives
2 Weeks Night Float
Continuity clinic ½ day per week throughout year except while in ICU/CCU
PGY2 4 Months of Inpatient Floors
  • 2 Months General Medicine
  • 1 Month Cardiology
  • 1 Month Hematology/Oncology
1-2 Months ICU (Medical ICU or CCU)
1 Month Ambulatory Block
2-3 Months Electives
2 Months Outpatient Geriatrics
2 Weeks Night Float/2 Weeks VA Emergent Care Center
Continuity clinic ½ day per week throughout year except while in ICU/CCU
Shared panel of home and long-term care patients
PGY3 3 Months of Inpatient Floors
  • 2 Months General Medicine
  • 1 Month Cardiology
1-2 Months ICU (Medical ICU or CCU)
2 Months Outpatient Geriatrics
3-4 Months Electives
1 Month Special Elective
2 Weeks Night Float/2 Weeks VA Emergent Care Center
Continuity clinic ½ day per week throughout year except while in ICU/CCU
Shared panel of home and long-term care patients

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