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Subspecialty Careers: Highlights about Careers in Internal Medicine: Geriatrics


The Discipline

From the Greek word geron, "an old man," and iatreia, "the treatment of disease."

Geriatric medicine involves the recognition of differences in presentation of disease and the importance of maintaining functional independence in elderly patients. Geriatrics is a primary care discipline oriented toward preventive, routine, acute, and chronic medical care of elderly patients.


Important procedural skills include cognitive assessment, functional assessment, gait assessment, home safety assessment, motor vehicle driving assessment, and needs assessment on hospital discharge, including rehabilitation. In addition, the geriatrician is expert in interpreting the following tests: urodynamic testing, cystometry, audiology, neuropsychiatric testing, videofluoroscopy for dysphagia, noninvasive tests of peripheral arteries, and biopsy of temporal artery.


Geriatric fellowship training requires 12 months of accredited training beyond general internal medicine residency.


The American Board of Internal Medicine offers subspecialty certification in Geriatrics.

Training Positions

As of August 2005, there were 103 ACGME-accredited training programs with 301 active fellowship positions in Geriatrics. 56% of the trainees were female, and 37% were US medical graduates.


Approximately 50% of the graduates enter clinical practice in Geriatrics in the United States and 31% enter academic medicine.

Major Professional Societies

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

The Gerontological Society of America
1030 15th Street, NW, Suite 250
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 842-1275

Major Publications

The Gerontologist
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

Back to December 2006 Issue of IMpact

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