Prevalence, formation, maintenance, and evaluation of interdisciplinary student aging interest groups

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Submitted by National Center... on Mar 14, 2014 - 11:14am CDT

The authors describe the prevalence, formation, maintenance, and evaluation of student aging interest groups. They conducted a cross-sectional electronic survey of the 46 academic medical centers funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. To evaluate their group of approximately 50 students, the authors conducted an electronic pretest and posttest of attitudes toward interdisciplinary education and knowledge about aging. Twenty-nine of 32 responding institutions funded by the Reynolds Foundation conducted a group; only medical students participated in one half of these groups. Panel presentations were the most prevalent group activity. Evaluation of their group revealed that an interprofessional service learning experience had the greatest impact on student perceptions of the educational preparation and competency of other disciplines. At posttest, medical students in their group had significantly less positive perceptions of actual cooperation between disciplines than did physical therapy or pharmacy students. Aging interest groups conducted by institutions funded by the Reynolds Foundation did not have a high level of interdisciplinary participation. Intermittent exposure to other disciplines during a small number of group activities may be insufficient to overcome "disciplinary split" and achieve interprofessional team orientation without changes in the structure of medical education.

PubMed URL:

Jones, Katherine J
Vandenberg, Edward V
Bottsford, Lisa
Journal Citation: 
Gerontology & Geriatrics Education. 32(4):321-41, 2011.