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Subspecialty Careers: Geriatric Medicine

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.

Training Positions

For the 2012-2013 academic year, there are 104 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited training programs in Geriatric Medicine with 289 active training positions.


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

Major Professional Societies
Major Publications

Back to January 2013 Issue of IMpact

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