MSTAR Toolkit
MSTAR Toolkit

MSTAR Toolkit


Welcome to the
Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) Program!

The following information is designed to provide you with a general orientation to the field of geriatrics and aging research, and to help you prepare to get the most out of your experience as an MSTAR Scholar.

Click on the following items for information on these topics:

The Exciting and Challenging Field of Geriatrics and Aging Research: A Brief Overview

David H. Solomon, MD
Professor Emeritus
UCLA School of Medicine

    Geriatrics is the most challenging and exciting area of patient care. The patients are the most complex and the most dependent on physicians’ skills and wisdom for their well-being and persistence as independent people. The opportunities for research in geriatrics are essentially unlimited.


Aging is a multidisciplinary field. Biology, sociology, and psychology are the "core" or basic areas, along with content from many other areas of study such as public policy, humanities, and economics.

Gerontology is the study of the aging processes and individuals as they grow from middle age through later life. It includes:

  • The study of physical, mental, and social changes in older people as they age.
  • The investigation of the changes in society resulting from our aging population.
  • The application of this knowledge to policies and programs.

Because gerontology is a multidisciplinary field, professionals in this field have a more complex background and require a specific name. They are called gerontologists.

Geriatrics is the study of health and disease in later life. It is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary team approach to the health care and well-being of older persons.

  • Geriatrics focuses on different diagnostic and management strategies that are specific to older adults.
  • Prevention, health maintenance, functional capacity, coordination of care, quality of life, and support for family and informal caregivers are important aspects of geriatric health care. Careful listening, encouragement, advocacy, patient educational goal setting, and value clarification are among the most valuable interventions health care providers can make in promoting health and well-being in older adults.

Geriatricians are allopathic or osteopathic physicians, board certified in family practice, internal medicine, or psychiatry, who have had additional training in the health care of older adults.

Primary care physicians may educate themselves further in geriatrics through continuing medical education courses, self-assessment programs, and review of medical journals and geriatrics textbooks.

Formally trained geriatricians acquire special knowledge and skills through completing a geriatrics fellowship program. Fellowships are available through departments of family practice and internal medicine, in osteopathic and alleopathic schools, and in psychiatry. Administration of fellowship programs is sometimes shared between departments.

A Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) in Geriatric Medicine or Geriatric Psychiatry is offered through the certifying boards in family practice, internal medicine, osteopathic medicine, and psychiatry for physicians who have completed a fellowship program in geriatrics. The length of formal geriatrics training is linked to the individual's career goals in clinical care, teaching or research, and can vary from one to four years.

As the nation’s baby boomers turn 65 and older and are living longer lives, fundamental changes in health care training and delivery need to take place, and greater financial resources need to be committed to ensuring that older adults receive high-quality care.

The value and importance of receiving special training in geriatrics is addressed in an April 2008 Institute of Medicine report entitled, Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Healthcare Workforce. The report recommends that all members of the healthcare workforce receive training in the special health care needs of older adults, who often have multiple, complex health conditions.

The Association of American of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has released a set of geriatrics competencies for medical students, developed through a consensus-building process of national stakeholder organizations, medical educators, and geriatrics specialists. The competencies delineate the unique geriatrics knowledge and skills that all physicians should acquire during their medical school training. 

The MSTAR program offers medical students a unique opportunity to learn more about geriatrics and aging research, better preparing them to meet the needs of our rapidly growing older adult population.

As a medical student, you can begin learning more about geriatrics by taking courses, clinical clerkships, and rotations in geriatrics while in medical school. Another good way to learn more about caring for older adults is to get involved in a Geriatrics Interest Group and share your knowledge and experiences with other students. Start an American Geriatrics Society student chapter at your school, if you don’t already have one. Help bring in geriatrics experts as speakers at your school, plan service projects, and join the national AMSA Geriatrics Interest Group student listserve (additional information on AGS student chapters and the AMSA geriatrics interest group is included in this tool kit, below).

Some of this information was adapted from the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and the American Geriatrics Society Student Section web sites.


What Your Peers Say about the MSTAR Program and the Study of Geriatrics & Aging Research

AFAR held a focus group with medical students in the New York Metropolitan area who had participated or were participating in the program. As part of your introduction to the MSTAR program, we thought you would be interested in some of their comments and observations about the program and the field of geriatrics and aging research, as summarized here.

  • Medical students today are multi-dimensional, often with significant interests and preparation in the arts and humanities. This background lends itself to the interdisciplinary, patient- and family-centered approach of geriatrics.
  • Interest in geriatrics is often driven initially by experiences with grandparents or other older family members, and volunteer experiences working with older adults. It is this intense personal contact and the benefits trainees derive from getting to know older people that can make geriatrics an attractive discipline.
  • Perceptions of geriatric medicine among first year medical students are generally limited. Most do not know that that older adults have unique medical and health needs that differ from the health concerns and problems of younger adults. Issues such as polypharmacy and differential diagnosis in older adults are more complex and present interesting clinical challenges.
  • The orientation on improving and maintaining function for older adults and the "joys of winning small battles" associated with geriatrics contradicts the "cure" orientation that beginning medical students tend to associate with successful, high-tech medicine.
  • Conversely, the fact that geriatrics is not "black and white," and that it deals with multiple complex problems, with few absolute cures and more focus on prevention and maintaining function and independence, can present interesting challenges.
  • Exploring geriatrics is a mechanism to explore an important aspect of internal medicine and family practice, as well as some subspecialties. The number of patient visits with older adults is increasing dramatically in all areas of medicine and all physicians need to be better informed about older adult health care.
  • The humanity, generosity, and commitment that geriatricians bring to their work is appealing and inspiring. Geriatricians make excellent clinical and research mentors.
  • The clinical exposure the program offers to first-year medical students provides them with a headstart in feeling more comfortable and confident in their clinical training.

The program also offers:

  • Prestige: The competitive nature of the scholarship provides students with a good "credential," as does the possibility of publishing and presenting one’s research.
  • Networking: It's exciting to be able to go to a national meeting to present your research findings.
  • Collegiality: Being part of the group of MSTAR scholars is fun and stimulating. Many past scholars stay in touch with other program participants and with their research mentors.

What is Expected of You as an MSTAR Scholar

Program Participation and Reporting Requirements
To provide a more consistent experience for all students participating in the MSTAR Program, AFAR has developed guidelines for program directors, mentors, and students. The following outlines what is expected of you as an MSTAR scholar in relation to your program participation and reporting requirements.

Program Participation Requirements- (if you are traveling to a National Training Center, please check with your site director)

  • Commit 8 to 12 weeks to conducting a research project under the supervision of your research mentor.
  • Attend all organized clinical and didactic program sessions.
  • Meet with the program director: 1) two weeks after the start of the program to discuss progress in research project, relationship with research mentor, and other possible program issues; and 2) at the end of the program for an exit interview/program evaluation.
  • Prepare a journal-style research paper (due within 3 months of completion of program) to be submitted to AFAR and the program training site director or home site faculty sponsor, as appropriate.
  • Prepare an oral or poster presentation to present at the end of your program.
  • Submit an abstract and prepare a poster for the medical student poster session at the AGS annual meeting.
  • Submit a brief evaluation to AFAR upon completion of program (example available here.)
  • Contact home site faculty sponsor after returning to home institution at completion of program (for students traveling to a National Training Center).
  • Assist AFAR in long-term tracking of program scholars by sending change of address and e-mail to AFAR office (

Reporting Requirements to AFAR

Students will be required to submit the following items at the completion of their program. A portion of the scholarship award ($500) will be withheld until these items are received by AFAR:

  • Brief program evaluation (due immediately upon completion of program).
  • Copy of journal-style paper (due within three months of completion of program – this paper is also to be provided to program training site director or home institution faculty sponsor, as noted above).

In an effort to evaluate the success of the MSTAR Program, it is important for AFAR to track past program scholars over the course of their medical training. We ask you to assist AFAR in this effort by sending change of mailing and e-mail addresses to the AFAR office as needed (

How To Get The Most Out of Your MSTAR Experience
By Martin Evers, MD
2001 Scholar, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Attending Psychiatrist at Northern Westchester Hospital


  • Contact your mentor in advance.
    It is a good idea to contact your research mentor (if you are staying at your home institution) or the site director (if you are going to one of the National Training Centers) as soon as you know where you will be going for the program. If you are going to a National Training Program, the site director will assist you in selecting a research mentor. Whether you are staying at your home institution or traveling to a National Training Center, there are many reasons for you to contact your research mentor in advance of your research project. Perhaps most important, your initiative alone will help to get your relationship off on the right foot. In practical terms, your mentor can give you any necessary information concerning tasks that may need to be completed before the start of your project, as well as advice about background reading relevant to your area of investigation. At this time you should also confirm your schedule for the research program, including any time you may need to be away.
  • Do as much background reading as possible.
    Medical school is busy, and your mentor will likely understand that the obligations of preclinical coursework and/or standardized exams (ie, the USMLE Step I) may place certain limits on the time available for background reading related to your research experience. However, to the extent that your schedule allows, it is in your best interest to do as much background reading as possible. Your research mentor is likely to give you a list of recommended reading and background reading in several areas will enhance your MSTAR experience:
    • Project-specific subject matter. Your MSTAR research may involve an area of which you have no particular knowledge before you begin. This is not a bad thing – in fact, it’s often the very best situation in terms of expanding your intellectual horizons and interests. Alternatively, your project may be an extension of previous endeavors in a field in which you have an established knowledge and interest. Whatever the case may be, reading up on the latest research and body of knowledge impacting your area of inquiry will greatly benefit you as you formulate, investigate, and answer your project hypotheses.
    • Research methodology. Research methodology is the bridge between the questions you ask and the answers you seek. Competent methodology and practices are the difference between "good ideas" that aren’t properly brought to life, and the type of rigorous scientific inquiry that leads to publication and presentation of results and a real contribution to medicine’s fund of knowledge.
    • Statistics. Achieving a "comfort level" with statistics now will enhance your current research experiences. A grounding in statistics will serve you throughout your medical career, as you evaluate clinical data and other research information.
    • Please see the suggested reading list and websites of interest section for specific articles and texts related to the above topics, and for additional suggestions on preparatory and ongoing reading in clinical geriatrics and aging research.


  • Contact past AFAR scholars.
    It is always helpful to talk with past AFAR scholars. These students can be a great source of information and advice about many aspects of your upcoming MSTAR experience.

    The AFAR staff will be happy to let you know of past AFAR scholars at your medical school, or to connect you with a past scholar from another institution. Give AFAR a call at 212-703-9977 or send an e-mail to .


  • Take the opportunity to see geriatric patients and meet geriatrics health care providers.
    Many of the program sites will have several opportunities for clinical exposure to older adult patients and geriatrics health care providers outside of the program's required clinical component (e.g., memory disorder clinics, home visits, hospice, inpatient units, consultative services, long term and subacute care). Explore these options as your time allows.


  • Have fun!
    Your research project and the clinical and didactic programs that are part of your scholarship program will be educational, challenging, and intellectually stimulating. It will be a singular opportunity to explore an area of scientific inquiry in depth and to learn more about the clinical care of older adults. The experience is also a lot of fun – enjoy!

Tips on Working with Your Mentor

Your relationship with your research mentor is a key component of your MSTAR experience. It will be a significant factor in your learning experience, in the outcomes of your research project, and in your enjoyment of the program.

Your MSTAR mentor's responsibilities are:



  • Designing a research project for students that can be accomplished in 8-12 weeks (some final analyses may remain at completion of program) and develop a timeline for project management, to ensure students' completion of project.
  • Contacting students in advance of the program to discuss the research project and sending necessary project-specific materials to students in advance so they can prepare for the research project.
  • Meeting at least weekly with students throughout the course of the program and being available to students at other times.
  • Assisting students with preparation of a journal-style research paper and oral or poster presentation.
        Assist students with preparation of an abstract to submit to the medical student poster session at the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) annual meeting and to other meetings the mentor or student may select.
  • Submitting a written report/evaluation of students' performance and experience within 90 days of completion of the project.
  • Being available to students and their home site faculty sponsors, after students return to their home institution, to assist with completion of research project, if necessary.

The mentor/student relationship must be a two-way relationship in order to be most effective. Therefore you, too, have certain responsibilities to help make the relationship most enjoyable and productive.  

  • Introduce yourself and describe your background. When first talking or meeting with your research mentor, be prepared to explain your previous experience in conducting research and what you hope to get out of your research experience.
  • Ask questions. Remember that your mentor is an expert in his/her field but that you are just beginning in this area. Now is the time to ask the basic questions that you need to understand the project and the work you are becoming involved in. Ask your mentor to describe the projects being conducted in his/her lab and the specifics of the project you will be undertaking.
  • Meet regularly with your mentor. Have your project timeline with you at each meeting and review this with your mentor to ensure that your project is on schedule. This gives you the motivation to make regular progress in your research, and it keeps your mentor aware of your work. Prepare for each meeting with your mentor and know in advance what you need to get out of the meeting. This includes preparing:
    • A list of topics you want to discuss
    • A summary of what you have done since your last meeting
    • A list of any upcoming deadlines
    • Notes from your previous meeting
  • Discuss the results of your work at each meeting with your mentor. This will help your mentor identify potential obstacles in your research project early in the process. This can include anything you write about your research and experimental results. Work with your mentor in preparing oral and written presentations of your research.
  • Communicate clearly and concisely. If you disagree with your mentor, state your objections clearly and calmly. If you feel something about your relationship is not working well, discuss this with your mentor. If possible, try to make suggestions on how your working relationship can be improved – what can you do and what can your mentor do to communicate more effectively and address any unmet needs or problems. If this is something you are uncomfortable discussing with your mentor directly, speak to your program site director, or contact the AFAR staff at 212-703-9977.
  • Information adapted from the MSTAR Training Guidelines
    and the Stanford University Graduate School Survival Kit website

Tips on Presenting Your Research


Tips on Preparing and Giving an Oral Research Presentation

Most scientific presentations are 10-15 minutes (often 10 minutes for presentation and 5 minutes for questions) and are based on a slide or PowerPoint presentation.

Preparing Your Talk

  • Know your audience in advance and prepare your material according to the audience level.
  • Keep your presentation simple and well organized.
  • Distill the information you want to convey to a single "story" supported by the most significant facts (3-4 main points).
  • Review your slides and rehearse your talk until you know the material thoroughly and can speak with minimal or no notes.
  • Practice your talk in front of your mentor and/or your peers. Refine your talk based on their feedback.
  • Time your talk during rehearsals and make sure it does not run longer than the time allotted.

Giving Your Talk

  • Look at the audience frequently.
  • Speak slowly, clearly and with enthusiasm.
  • Vary your vocal tone, rate and volume to keep the audience engaged.
  • Use a pointer only when absolutely necessary – it is distracting to the audience and can become a "crutch" for the speaker.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, say you don’t know or that you will find out the answer. Invite people with questions to come up to the podium after your presentation, and get their e-mail addresses to send them an answer. If you say you will do this, be sure to follow through.

Preparing Your Slides

The average number of slides per presentation is one slide/minute. Tables and figures may take two minutes to discuss.

  • The cardinal rule for good slides is that they must be visible from a distance.


  • Slides must contain large text and clear, simple graphics.
  • Keep the information on each slide as brief as possible – a maximum of nine lines of text per slide.
  • Horizontal slides are easier to read than vertical.
  • Slides are easiest to read if they have a dark blue background with white text.
  • Avoid the "bells and whistles" available with PowerPoint – simple is best!

  Here is a basic outline for a slide presentation:

Title slide

  • Include name of research project and your name and affiliation

Background (1-2 slides)

  • Engage the audience and make them interested in the research topic
  • Point out controversies or deficits in previous research
  • Define terms here, if needed


  • State research question or hypothesis

Methods(2-3 slides)

  • Include study sample/specimens/data set
  • Could also define specific terms here
  • Optional to include analysis methods here

Results (3-4 slides)

  • Describe relevant characteristics of specimens/sample
  • Describe data
  • Use simple tables or figures to illustrate results

Conclusions (1-2 slides)

  • Summary of results and implications
  • Optional to include slide describing limitations of research
  • May include slide on next research step

Acknowledgments (1 slide - optional)

  • Acknowledge funders, mentors, collaborators


  • Plan and organize your presentation thoroughly
  • Focus on one main research question
  • Answer the question with 3-4 main points/facts
  • Keep your visuals simple and visible
  • Practice your talk frequently
  • Convey enthusiasm to your audience

References on Preparing Research Presentations
Garson A, Gutgesell HP, Pinsky WW, McNamara DG. The 10-minute talk: organization, slides, writing and delivery. American Heart Journal 1986 Jan;111(1):193-203.

Welch HG. Preparing manuscripts for submission to medical journals: the paper trail. Effective Clinical Practice 1999 May-Jun;2(3):131-137.

This information is based on PowerPoint presentations developed by Alison Moore, MD, MPH, Director of the MSTAR Program, and LuAnn Wilkerson, EdD, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, UCLA School of Medicine.

Suggested Reading List
Many past scholars have said they benefited from doing some preparatory reading in advance of their scholarship program, particularly those who had limited research experience in undergraduate school. You may want to review some of the articles in this bibliography prior to the start of your program, or during the program, if time permits. The content areas are selected to help you prepare for a more meaningful research experience. As busy medical students, you certainly will not have time to read all of the materials listed here. These are suggested readings from which you can select topics and articles that interest you most, or that you need more background in.

Your research mentor, MSTAR program director, geriatrics faculty members, and other advisors may have other readings they will recommend for your specific program.

Introduction to Statistics
Altman DG, Bland JM. Statistics notes. Units of analysis. BMJ 1997; 314(7098):1874.

Greenhalgh T. How to read a paper. Statistics for the non-statistician. I: Different types of data need different statistical tests. BMJ 1997; 315(7104):364-6.

Greenhalgh T. How to read a paper. Statistics for the non-statistician. II: "Significant" relations and their pitfalls. BMJ 1997; 315(7105):422-5.

An Introduction to Medical Statistics, 3rd ed. Bland M. 2000, Oxford University Press, Inc., New York.

Essentials of Medical Statistics, 2nd ed. Kirkwood B, Sterne J. 2003, Blackwell Science, Ltd. Malden, MA.

How to Report Statistics in Medicine, Lang TA and Secic M, eds. 2006, American College of Physicians, Philadelphia, PA.

Research Methodologies – Evidence-based Medicine

The website of the Centres for Health Evidence (CHE) contains a complete set of Users' Guides to Evidence-based Practice, originally published as a series in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The CHE continues to maintain the full text pre-publication version of this series on behalf of the Evidence-based Medicine Working Group with permission from the journal. Please note: There is no longer a direct link to the guides on the website – enter “users' guide” (without the apostrophes) into a search engine in order to access a list of the Users’ Guides.

Montori VM, Guyatt GH. Progress in evidence-based medicine. JAMA 2008; 300(15):1814-1816.

Designing Clinical Research, Cummings, Steven and Hulley, Stephen, eds., William and Wilkins, 1988, Baltimore, MD. This text provides a good overview of clinical, health services, and clinical epidemiological research.

Davidoff F, Haynes B, Sackett D et al. Evidence based medicine. BMJ 1995; 310(6987):1085-6.

Haynes RB, Hayward RS, Lomas J. Bridges between health care research evidence and clinical practice. J Am Med Inform Assoc 1995; 2(6):342-50.

Haynes RB, Sackett DL, Tugwell P. Problems in the handling of clinical and research evidence by medical practitioners. Arch Intern Med 1983; 143(10):1971-5.

Sackett DL, Rosenberg WM, Gray JA et al. Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn't. BMJ 1996; 312(7023):71-2.

Sackett DL, Wennberg JE. Choosing the best research design for each question. BMJ 1997; 315(7123):1636.

Sackett DL, Haynes RB. The architecture of diagnostic research. BMJ 2002; 324(7336):539-41.

How to Access and Review Medical Literature

Haynes RB, McKibbon KA, Fitzgerald D et al. How to keep up with the medical literature: I. Why try to keep up and how to get started. Ann Intern Med 1986; 105(1):149-53.

Haynes RB, McKibbon KA, Fitzgerald D et al. How to keep up with the medical literature: II. Deciding which journals to read regularly. Ann Intern Med 1986; 105(2):309-12.

Haynes RB, McKibbon KA, Fitzgerald D et al. How to keep up with the medical literature: III. Expanding the number of journals you read regularly. Ann Intern Med 1986; 105(3):474-8.

Haynes RB, McKibbon KA, Fitzgerald D et al. How to keep up with the medical literature: V. Access by personal computer to the medical literature. Ann Intern Med 1986; 105(5):810-6.

Haynes RB, McKibbon KA, Fitzgerald D et al. How to keep up with the medical literature: VI. How to store and retrieve articles worth keeping. Ann Intern Med 1986; 105(6):978-84.

Preparing Your Research for Presentation

Bandwidth Online, the John A. Hartford Foundation’s one-stop, online source for communications tools and information.

Garson A, Gutgesell HP, Pinsky WW, McNamara DG. The 10-minute talk. Organization, slides, writing and delivery. American Heart Journal 1986;193-203.

Welch HG. Preparing manuscripts for submission to medical journals: the paper trail. Effective Clinical Practice 1999;2:131-137.

Websites on Geriatrics and Aging Research
The following links can help you get started in your exploration of the vast amount of information now available on the Internet on older adult health, aging research, and research methodology.


Evidence-based Medicine

Introduction to Evidence-based Medicine
An online tutorial from the Duke University Medical Center Library and the Health Sciences Library at UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Cochrane Library 
This site contains high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making. It includes reliable evidence from Cochrane and other systematic reviews, clinical trials, and more. Cochrane reviews combine results of international medical research studies.

Evidence-based Medicine Resource Center
A web site of the New York Academy of Medicine and the American College of Physicians New York Chapter, containing references, bibliographies, tutorials, glossaries, and on-line databases to guide those embarking on teaching and practicing evidence-based medicine. It offers practice tools to support critical analysis of the literature and MEDLINE searching, as well as links to other sites that help enable evidence-based medical care.


General Introduction to Statistics

American Statistical Association Section on Statistical Education

The Data Game: Learning Statistics
Learning Statistics with SPSS/win
Online Statistics Course at the University of Utah (course is fee-based)
Principles of Learning Statistics
Resources on Teaching and Learning Statistics (must register for access)
StatCenter Sampler (University of Utah, Department of Psychology; must register for access)

Aging Statistics

Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-related Statistics
Federal Stats (general federal statistics)
National Center for Health Statistics

Resources on Clinical Geriatrics, Aging and Health

Administration on Aging
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
Infoaging (American Federation for Aging Research)
American Geriatrics Society Foundation for Health in Aging
American Medical Directors Association / Aging and Long-term Care Resources
Association for Directors of Geriatric Academic Programs (ADGAP) Status of Geriatrics Workforce Study
Clinical Geriatrics
Geriatrics at Your Fingertips
MedLine Plus – Health Information and Resources from the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health

National Institute on Aging / Age Pages and other Publications

National Institutes of Health / Senior Health

SAGE-KE: Science of Aging Knowledge Environment Magazine (Archives)

Organizations Related to Aging and Health

American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR)
55 West 39th Street, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10018
(212) 703-9977

AFAR is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support biomedical research on aging. AFAR also provides public information on advances in aging research through its websites:, and


American Geriatrics Society (AGS)
The Empire State Building
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 801
New York, NY 10118
(212) 308-1414

The AGS is the leading clinical society devoted to the care of older adults. The AGS promotes high quality, comprehensive and accessible care for America's older population through activities in patient care, research, professional and public education and public policy.

The AGS has numerous student chapters, and a special Student Section of their web site with general information on geriatrics, scholarship awards in geriatrics for medical students, and other information relevant to students interested in geriatrics. The site also includes a section on career opportunities in geriatrics, including stories from health care professionals in aging.


American Medical Association (AMA)
Department of Medical Student Services
515 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60610
(800) 621-8335

The Medical Student Section of the AMA allows students to influence AMA policy by participating in national, state, and local activities. There are a variety of councils, committees, panels, and task forces in which students may participate. Students receive a number of AMA publications, including a special Student Section newsletter.


American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
1902 Association Drive

Reston, VA  20191

(703) 620-6600
AMSA is made up of 67,000 students with local chapters in 140 allopathic and osteopathic schools throughout the country. It is dedicated to the improvement of medical education, health care and health care delivery. Areas of interest are organized into action committees and interest groups on critical health issues.

The Geriatrics Interest Group maintains a web page on AMSA's website with information for students, including interviews with physicians specializing in geriatric care and student chapter project ideas. The interest group also coordinates the Geriatrics Inspiration Exchange (InEx) forum for medical students to exchange ideas and concerns regarding geriatric medicine and to share information relevant to geriatric practice.


Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE)
1220 L Street, NW, Suite 901
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 289-9806

AGHE serves as an advocate for gerontology in higher education. Membership is comprised of over 300 institutions of higher education throughout the United States and Canada. The Association has various publications including a newsletter and a National Directory of Educational Programs in Gerontology.


American Society on Aging (ASA)
833 Market Street, Suite 511
San Francisco, CA 94103
(800) 537-9728

ASA sponsors a wide array of educational activities across the country. Its constituency is largely composed of caregivers from a number of professional disciplines including nursing, social work, medicine, psychology, and gerontology. Special activities for students are sponsored.


Gerontological Society of America (GSA)
1411 K Street, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 393-1411

The GSA has major interest sections for Biological Sciences, Social Research, Planning and Practice, Clinical Medicine, and Behavioral and Social Science. GSA conducts a large annual meeting and supports a number of student activities. The GSA also houses the National Academy on an Aging Society, a non-partisan public policy institute that conducts and compiles research on issues related to population aging and provides information to the public, the press, policymakers, and the academic community.


National Council on Aging (NCOA)
1901 L Street, NW, 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 479-1200

The National Council on Aging is a non-profit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The NCOA advocates for older adults and brings together non-profit organizations, businesses and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. NCOA works with organizations across the country to help seniors live independently, find jobs and benefits, improve their health, and remain active in their communities.


National Institute on Aging
Building 31, Room 5C27
31 Center Drive, MSC 2292
Bethesda, MD 20892
(301) 496-1752

NIA is one of the 25 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health. In 1974, Congress granted authority to form the National Institute on Aging to provide leadership in aging research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs relevant to aging and older people. Subsequent amendments to this legislation designated the NIA as the primary federal agency on Alzheimer's disease research.


National Student Research Forum (NSRF)
University of Texas Medical Branch
(409) 772-3390

The only national conclave for the presentation and evaluation of student research. The Forum is open to all graduate students, medical students, interns, and residents. Papers may include research in the basic or clinical sciences, work that is completed or in progress, published or unpublished. The Forum attracts entrants from across the United States and Canada.


American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Student Chapters and American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Geriatrics Interest Group (GIG)


The American Geriatrics Society maintains a special student section of their web site with information on geriatrics as a career choice, scholarship and award opportunities in geriatrics, how to start an AGS student chapter at your medical school, and much more. A full list of Student Chapters can be found below.


American Geriatrics Society
List of Student Chapters

(2010-2011 list pending update)

Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine
111E. 210th St.
Bronx, NY 10461
Faculty Advisor: Amy Ehrlich, MD

A.T. Still University
800 W. Jefferson St.
Kirksville, MO 63501
Faculty Advisor: Tim Tucker, DO

Boston University School of Medicine
Geriatrics Section, Department of Medicine
715 Albany Street, Robinson 2
Boston, MA 02118
Faculty Advisor: Sharon Levine, MD

Brown Medical School
Biomedical Division
Box G
Providence, RI 02912
Faculty Advisor: Richard Besdine, MD

Columbia University School of Physicians & Surgeons
Internal Medicine
622 West 168th St., Presbyterian Hospital, 8 E. Room 105
New York, NY 10032
Faculty Advisor: Evelyn Granieri, MD

Emory University
Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology
1841 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Faculty Advisor: Manuel Eskildsen, MD

Jefferson Medical College
Division of Geriatrics, Department of Family Medicine
1015 Walnut Drive, Suite 401
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Faculty Advisor: Christine Arenson, MD

Johns Hopkins University
Division of Geriatric Medicine & Gerontology
5505 Hopkins Bayview Circle
Baltimore, MD 21224
Faculty Advisor: Danelle Cayea, MD, MS

Louisiana State University School of Medicine
Family Medicine, Section of Geriatric Medicine
2390 W. Congress St.
Lafayette, LA 70506
Faculty Advisor: Charles A. Cefalu, MD, MS

Medical College of Wisconsin
Medical College of Wisconsin - Dept. of Medicine
9200 W. Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53226-0509
Faculty Advisor: Mary Cohan, MD

Meharry Medical College
Neurology (Geriatric Education Center-GEC)
1005 D.B. Todd Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37208
Faculty Advisor: Ruth Garrett, MD

Michigan State University
College of Osteopathic Medicine
16789 Chandler Rd. Apt. 713
East Lansing, MI 48823
Faculty Advisor: Frances Komara, DO

Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Department of Geriatric Medicine/Gerontology
357 Grosvenor Hall
Athens, Ohio 45701
Faculty Advisor: Deborah Meyer, DO

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science
Psychology / Medicine / Physician Assistant / Physical Therapy
3333 Green Bay Road
North Chicago, IL 60064
Faculty Advisor: Lawrence Perlmuter, Ph.D.

SUNY - Upstate Medical University
Division of Geriatrics
Campus Activities, 750 East Adams Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
Faculty Advisor: Sharon Brangman, MD

SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine
Long Island Geriatrics Education Center
HSC Level 2, Room 155
Stony Brook, NY 11794
Faculty Advisor: Lisa Strano-Paul, MD

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Garrison Institute on Aging
6630 South Quaker, Suite E
Lubbock, TX 79413
Faculty Advisor: Lynn Bickley, MD

University of Arizona
College of Medicine
1501 Campbell Ave. PO Box 245017
Tucson, AZ 85724
Faculty Advisor: Mindy Fain, MD

University of California, Irvine
Department of Geriatrics
Bldg. 200, Suite 835, Rt. 81, 101
The City Drive South
Orange, CA 92868
Faculty Advisor: Laura Mosqueda, MD, FAAFP, AGSF

University of California, Los Angeles
David Geffen School of Medicine
Box 951685, Ste. 420, 200 Med
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Faculty Advisor: Sue Charette, MD & David Ganz, MD

University of California, San Diego
School of Medicine
9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0638
La Jolla, CA 92093-0606
Faculty Advisor: Ruth Covell, MD

University of California, San Francisco
Medicine (Geriatrics Division)
Division of Geriatrics SFVAMC
San Francisco, CA 94121
Faculty Advisor: Louise Aronson, MD, MFA

University of Cincinnati
Office of Geriatric Medicine
231 Albert Sabin Way PO Box 670504
Cincinnati, OH 45221
Faculty Advisor: Timothy J. Lewis, MD

University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
Internal Medicine (Geriatrics)
200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, IA 52242
Faculty Advisor: Margo Schilling, MD

University of Kansas Medical Center
Department of Family Medicine, Division of Family Medicine and Palliative Care
Mail Stop 1005, 3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Kansas City, KS 66160
Faculty Advisor: Mary McDonald, MD

University of Maryland, Baltimore
Geriatrics and Gerontology Education and Research Program (GGEAR)
220 Arch Street, 12th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
Faculty Advisor: Barbara Resnick, PhD, CRNP, FAAN,FAANP; Reba Cornman MSW

University of Massachusetts
Geriatrics Interest Group-Office of Medical Education
55 Lake Avenue North
Worchester, MA, 1655
Faculty Advisor: Sarah McGee, MD

University of Miami Miller SOM / Miami VAMC
Internal Medicine/Division of Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine
1201 NW 16th St (11GRC)
Miami, FL 33125
Faculty Advisor: Miguel Paniagua, MD

University of Michigan Medical School
1301 Catherine Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2007
Faculty Advisor: Karen Hall, MD, PhD

University of Nebraska
Department of Internal Medicine
981320 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha, NE 68198
Faculty Advisor: Cheryl Hinners, MD

University of Nevada School of Medicine
Department of Internal Medicine
1000 Locust St. MS 18
Reno, NV 89502
Faculty Advisor: Diane Chau, MD

University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM)
Family Medicine
11 Hills Beach Rd.
Biddeford, MD 04005
Faculty Advisor: Marilyn R. Gugliucci, PhD, FGSA, FAGHE

University of New Mexico
School of Medicine
MSC08 4700, BMSB
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
Faculty Advisor: Denise Minton, MD

University of North Carolina, School of Medicine
Program on Aging, Department of Medicine
141 MacNider Building, CB# 7550
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7550
Faculty Advisor: Ellen Roberts, MD

University of North Texas Health Science Center
Geriatrics/Internal Medicine
855 Montgomery St, PCC, 3rd Floor
Fort Worth, TX 76107-2699
Faculty Advisor: Janice A. Knebl, DO

University of Oklahoma
The Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine
941 Stanton L. Young Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Faculty Advisor: Karen Ross, MD

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Division of Geriatric Medicine
3471 Fifth Avenue, Suite 500
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Faculty Advisor: Stephanie Studenski, MD

University of Rochester
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, NY 14642
Faculty Advisor: Thomas Caprio, MD

University of South Carolina School of Medicine
Division of Geriatrics
Carolina Medical Plaza, 3010 Farrow Road, #300
Columbia, SC 29203
Faculty Advisor: Maureen Dever-Bumba, MSN, DrPH

University of Utah School of Medicine
30 North 1900 East, AB193 SOM
Salt Lake City, UT 84132
Faculty Advisor: Mark Supiano, MD

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Medicine- Section of Geriatrics
750 Highland Ave.
Madison, WI 53705
Faculty Advisor: Steven Barczi, MD
E-mail: steven.barczi@med

American Medical Student Association Geriatrics Interest Group

(see for more information)

As future physicians who will be caring for an aging population, we all have an obligation to seek the expertise necessary to treat older patients with skill, sensitivity, and dignity. Almost every medical specialty will have an increasingly older patient base, thus if we are aware of the issues specific to the geriatric population and if we are trained to work with older patients, we will be better physicians.

"Geriatrics" is medical practice that addresses the complex needs of older patients and emphasizes maintaining functional independence even in the presence of chronic disease. It requires an interdisciplinary approach. We will work with other physicians, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, family members, and others in order to provide comprehensive care for these patients with multiple needs.

Geriatrics is the future of medicine. We encourage you to start a geriatrics interest group at your school and please join the community to share your ideas and concerns.  AMSA members can join the Geriatrics InEx (Inspiration Exchange) community to communicate, collaborate, and c



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