Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program

Training Programs

Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine (One Year)

Our clinical fellowship provides a wide array of clinical experiences at multiple inpatient, outpatient, and community locations. Upon completion of our one-year program, fellows are competent in the twelve geriatrics Entrustable Professional Activities and eligible to take the geriatrics IM/FM board exam.

With supervision from experienced faculty members, fellows care for a panel of patients longitudinally at one of our outpatient clinics and one local nursing home. We train our fellows to use telehealth to facilitate management of their patients and minimize their risk of exposure to COVID19.

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 renown 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 presents regularly 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.


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)
Consult: Inpatient consultation at Presbyterian Hospital (Tertiary Care teaching hospital/Level 1 Trauma Center)
GEM – Geriatric Evaluation and Management (outpatient consultation at the VA)
HBPC — Home-Based Primary Care for veterans
LTC Leadership – Clinical and administrative exposure at multiple sites
MSP – Multispecialty (includes pain clinic, geriatric case management, urogynecology)
Neuro – Neurology (includes ENT, dysphagia, spasticity)
PC — Palliative Medicine
PMR – Rehabilitation inpatient consult, post-acute rehab, assistive technology
Psych – Geriatric Psychiatry

Academic Fellowships

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-T32
  • 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


Karen G. Scandrett, MD
Program Director

Phone: (412) 802-8615
Fax: (412) 692-2370


Janet Parham
Senior Department Manager

Phone: (412) 802-8615
Fax: (412) 692-2370


Kaufmann Medical Building
3471 Fifth Ave, Suite 500
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Contact Us

Division of Geriatric Medicine
Academic Administrative Office

Kaufmann Medical Building, Suite 500
3471 Fifth Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Email Us

Benedum Geriatric Center


Senior Care Institute