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Miller RK, True JG, Groce-Martin J, Johnson JC. Internal medicine resident senior community service learning experience. Poster session presented at: American Geriatrics Society Annual Meeting; 2012 May 4; Seattle, WA.
Background: We developed, piloted, and evaluated a program to provide a service-learning and community-based, interactive experience focused on Geriatric Medicine and ACGME core competencies to medical residents. Service-based learning promotes core competencies by enriching learners' experiences, promoting understanding of community resources and cultural norms, providing help to service agencies and communities, and developing leadership and professional skills. Methods: We developed and piloted a service-based community learning program with 20 Internal Medicine residents of the University of Pennsylvania. The program, which consisted of a half-day morning session, was embedded in a local senior center or senior housing facility. A community outreach coordinator of the Division of Geriatrics orchestrated program implementation, assisted in site selection, and facilitated communication between the project leader and key contacts at each site. At the site, residents toured the facility, learned about the mission and activities of the site, and gave a supervised presentation or "brown-bag" review for the seniors on a Geriatrics topic. A ten-minute presentation on local senior resources ended the experience. Results: Resident evaluation of the community based learning and service experience was administered electronically via an IRB-approved survey using the internal medicine evaluation system. Of 19 evaluations received, 84% (16) of the internal medicine residents found the tour of the facility informative; 42% (8) of the residents agreed or strongly agreed that the service they performed expanded their knowledge of senior health issues; 68% (13) of the residents agreed or strongly agreed that this interaction with the seniors helped them learn more about communicating with older patients. Themes from open-ended questions included increased knowledge in senior community resources and facilities, enjoyment of interactions and learning from seniors outside a hospital setting. Conclusion: Overall, this pilot program of service-based community learning provided residents with insight into the lived environment and community resources available to seniors while increasing awareness of the importance of effective communication with seniors. Future directions include having all trainees perform an aging presentation, expansion of topics, and obtaining evaluations from the seniors at the sites.