Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program
Welcome from the Program Director
Welcome! With the aging of the US population and a health system poorly-equipped to keep pace, the field of Geriatric Medicine has never been more important. We are passionate about caring for older adults and are committed to training the next generation of clinicians, educators, and researchers to improve the quality of care provided to this vulnerable population.
Our mission is to train future leaders who will advance our subspecialty and contribute to the growth of an age-friendly health system. We train our fellows to think systemically, to communicate effectively, and to integrate principles of geriatrics in every setting. With over two dozen faculty members, many of whom are dually trained in geriatrics and a complementary discipline, our program can offer tailored training for those interested in combining geriatric training with other medical subspecialties. Fellows interested in academic careers may stay for further training through our VA GRECC, developing their scholarly focus under the mentorship of one of our accomplished faculty members. Two additional tracks provide opportunities for specifically qualified candidates: a combined geriatric-palliative education fellowship, and a three-year clinical/academic research fellowship through our T-32 program.
There are many more unique features of our program. Highlights are here. We invite you to explore these further, and we hope to meet you soon!
Karen G. Scandrett, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Geriatrics
Director, Geriatric Fellowship Program
Neil Resnick, MD
Thomas Detre Professor of Medicine
Chief, Division of Geriatric Medicine
Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine (One Year)
One-year Clinical Fellowship
Our one-year fellowship provides a wide array of clinical experiences at multiple inpatient, outpatient, and community locations. Upon completion of the program, fellows are prepared for independent geriatric medical practice, and eligible to take the geriatrics IM/FM board exam.
A training overview including a sample block rotation schedule is depicted below:
Acute IP: Inpatient geriatric medicine teaching service at Shadyside Hospital (community teaching hospital with HELP program)
Geri CL: Inpatient geriatric consultation at Presbyterian Hospital (tertiary care teaching hospital/Level 1 Trauma Center)
GEM – Geriatric Evaluation and Management (outpatient consultation at the VA GRECC)
HBPC — Home-Based Primary Care for veterans
LTC – Leadership in long-term and post-acute care across multiple settings
MSK – Musculoskeletal (includes geriatric pain clinic, outpatient rehab, spasticity, uro-gynecology)
Neuro – Neurology (includes behavioral neurology, movement disorders, dizziness)
PC — Palliative Medicine (inpatient and hospice)
Psych – Geriatric Psychiatry
Unique strengths of our clinical training program include:
- Clinical training and interdisciplinary learning opportunities at our special VA Geriatric Research Education and Clinical (GRECC) site, including driver assessment, geriatric evaluation and management, home-based primary care, telehealth, and an innovative teledementia program
- Close educational and clinical collaboration with UPMC’s renowned Geriatric Psychiatry training program
- Multiple faculty who are dually trained in both geriatrics and another relevant specialty, enabling them to integrate geriatric principles into other subspecialty research and practice
- A large geriatric primary care and consultative outpatient practice at two different sites
- A geriatric hospitalist teaching service, inpatient HELP program, and geriatric inpatient consultation service
- Multiple long-term care clinical sites, encompassing post-acute care, custodial long-term care, continuing care retirement communities, and PACE
- Training to manage difficult communication with our expert UPMC palliative medicine faculty, creators of the nationally-respected VitalTalkTM
We are committed to the academic preparation of our fellows. Each fellow gives regular presentations at our geriatrics division conference and we encourage each one to engage in defined, mentored scholarly work, ranging from clinical or health service research to clinical quality improvement or educational initiatives.
Our fellows also receive formal mentoring from a designated faculty member to navigate career pathways in geriatrics and maximize their opportunities for professional growth during their training at University of Pittsburgh.
The Division also offers the opportunity for one to four additional years of training to fellows wishing to learn the essentials of medical education and/or research in aging. This additional training can include formal degree programs as well as mentoring, completion of a project, and preparation of manuscripts and grant submissions.
These training activities are supported by one or more of our resources, including:
- NIH-Claude Pepper Center
- VA Advanced Fellowship Program
- Clinical and Translational Science Institute/Institute for Clinical Research and Education
- CTSI KL2 grants for protected research time
The Clinical and Translational Science Institute/Institute for Clinical Research and Education offers a range of certifications and advanced degrees in clinical investigation and medical education. Academic fellows have the opportunity to earn:
- PhD in Clinical and Translational Science
- MS in Clinical Research
- MS in Medical Education
- Certificate in Clinical Research
- Certificate in Medical Education
Geriatric-Palliative Combined Fellowship
We are proud to offer a new, two-year training program integrated with the UPMC Division of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and in collaboration with the UPMC Palliative and Supportive Care Institute. Our goals are to:
- increase fellows’ exposure and expertise in managing the overlap of geriatric and palliative care
- prepare dually-trained fellows for academic careers and leadership in both fields
The disciplines of palliative and geriatric medicine overlap in many aspects that pertain to care of the frail elderly at end of life, including an integrated approach to the patient’s physical and psychosocial needs, and provision of care across the continuum of healthcare settings. Professionals caring for seniors at the end of life need expertise in palliative care, and palliative care specialists need expertise in issues specific to care of the elderly. UPMC is among a handful of programs in the United States that offers dual training, and we are an ideal setting in which to provide it, having nationally recognized programs in both fields and ample institutional support to develop academic leaders.
Fellows in dual training will complete the requirements for both fields in an integrated fashion. They will meet core competency requirements in 18 months, and will have 6 months of elective time built into their schedule for professional development and scholarly work. This will include coursework toward a Masters degree in either medical education or in clinical and translational research. After completing the two-year clinical program, they are eligible for certification in both palliative and geriatric medicine through the American Board of Internal Medicine. They may choose to continue their training with a final year of preparation for careers in academic medicine.
Interrupted Training of Hospitalists
This program is designed for hospitalists interested in developing additional skill in managing complex elderly. Graduates will be uniquely equipped to become institutional leaders, able to help design and provide high-quality, geriatric-focused care for the older patients who already fill half of adult hospital beds.
Two fellows split the usual one-year training over a two-year period. This enables each to train for six months and serve as a hospitalist for six months at a time, allowing fellows to attend continuity clinics and their longitudinal nursing home site while cross-covering their patient panel with their training counterpart. Fellows also attend geriatric division conferences, core geriatric medicine lectures, and educational activities at the VA GRECC. During their six-month hospitalist blocks, they are paid as a hospitalist and maintain a hospitalist schedule, with flexibility during non-service weeks to focus on scholarship and professional development.
Leslie Scheunemann, MD, MPH
Steven Handler, MD, PhD