EB: What are the goals of the Geriatrics Commission?
PH: The goals of the Geriatrics Commission, formerly known as the Geriatrics Task Force, are to: 1) facilitate implementation of activities within SGIM related to geriatrics; 2) coordinate activities between SGIM and other organizations active in geriatrics clinical care, education, and research; 3) design and implement new projects that focus on improving clinical care and education related to geriatrics; and 4) facilitate career development of SGIM members interested in geriatrics.
EB: What is the best example of how the Geriatrics Commission has incorporated education and research in geriatrics into SGIM meetings?
PH: One of the most successful activities of the commission has been the sponsorship of the Distinguished Professor of Geriatrics Program at SGIM’s annual national meeting. Every year since 2004 the commission has selected a professor in general internal medicine or geriatrics who has nationally recognized expertise in education, research, and/or clinical care related to the care of older adults. The table of Distinguished Professors includes an amazing group of leaders who have advanced the fields of geriatrics and general internal medicine.*
The commission invites the selected Distinguished Professor of Geriatrics to give a special presentation at the national meeting and to participate in reviewing and discussing posters and oral presentations at the meeting on topics in geriatrics. The presentations by the Distinguished Professors have been superb and inspiring, and recordings of recent presentations are available on GIMLearn.1 In 2023, the Distinguished Professor of Geriatrics Best Poster Presentation Award went to Rashmi Sharma, MD, MHSc, from the University of Washington Medical Center, for a poster titled “Challenges Experienced by Family Members of Hospitalized Older Adults with Dementia When Making ‘In-the-Moment’ Decisions Regarding Intensity of Care.” The Distinguished Professor of Geriatrics Best Oral Abstract Presentation Award went to Halima Amjad, MD, PhD, MPH, from the Johns Hopkins University, for an abstract titled “Overwhelmed: Dementia Care in Primary Care.”
EB: What has the Geriatrics Commission done to foster collaboration with other organizations on issues related to geriatrics?
KD: One of the most important accomplishments was the seminal work over a decade ago when the Geriatrics Task Force collaborated with the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), American Board of Family Medicine Foundation, and American Medical Association to define minimum competencies in geriatrics for internal medicine and family medicine residents. That project produced a report with a comprehensive set of 26 competencies in seven domains, including: transitions of care; hospital patient safety; cognitive, affective, and behavioral health; complex or chronic illnesses; medication management; ambulatory care; and palliative and end-of-life care.2 Since that report was published in 2010, it has provided a strong basis for continuing efforts to strengthen internal medicine and family medicine training in geriatrics.
In recent years, the Geriatrics Commission has continued to support collaborative efforts to strengthen education and research in geriatrics. For example, in 2022, the commission supported a grant proposal by the AGS to create a resource for new and emerging investigators interested in including older adults with multiple chronic conditions in their research. The proposal was funded by the National Institute of Aging and resources are now available on the AGS/AGING LEARNING Collaborative website.3 We remain eager to explore opportunities for collaboration with any organizations that share an interest in advancing clinical practice, education, and research in geriatrics.