A new study has found that a community-based service learning experience involving greater interaction with older adults had a positive impact on career development for medical residents (physicians who have graduated from medical school and are starting work at a healthcare facility under supervision). Researchers who designed the program published their findings in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Eighty third-year Internal Medicine residents at the University of Pennsylvania participated in the study; 71 residents completed follow-up surveys. As part of the program, medical residents engaged in several different activities at residential facilities serving older adults:
- Participants toured the building or center, including apartments, and learned about the facility’s purpose, operations, and diverse community of older men and women.
- Participants attended brief presentations about local community resources available to older adults.
- Participants delivered a 45-60 minute presentations on healthcare topics for older adults at the facility. Presentations covered cancer screenings and preventive healthcare for heart disease and strokes, as well as diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, dementia, and depression.