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Geriatric Education in U.S. Schools of Pharmacy: A Snapshot

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Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the structure, resources, and activities of academic geriatrics courses in U.S. pharmacy schools.

Design: A cross-sectional study.

Participants: Schools of pharmacy in the United States identified through the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP). The survey was e-mailed (May 2003) to the academic chairs of the clinical pharmacy department and/or the head of geriatric pharmacy practice at each of the 84 schools of pharmacy in the United States.

Measures: The primary measure was to assess the nature and extent of geriatrics course content in the responding schools. In addition, we elicited information on the type of geriatrics material taught, faculty involvement, student population, type of school, academic requirements, and experiential education. The questionnaire items were based on the current course content in geriatrics courses taught at the institution. “Content” validity of the questionnaire was assessed by administering the survey to three survey experts (including one in geriatrics); their suggestions were incorporated in redesigning the questionnaire.

Results: A total of 42 (50%) out of 84 schools responded. All responding schools had some form of geriatric education incorporated into their curriculum. However, the depth and breadth of the geriatric curriculum reported by the responding schools did not seem to be that different from results obtained by a 1985-1986 survey.

Conclusion: Geriatric education in pharmacy schools has not increased proportionally with the expected increase in the geriatric population in the United States. Schools of pharmacy should make geriatric education a priority because the majority of patients whom pharmacists need to monitor or counsel currently are, and will continue to be, 65 years and older. Compared with a past study, the focus of current geriatrics education in pharmacy schools does not seem to have improved much despite the increasing need for geriatric practitioners and drug misadventures in the elderly.

Keywords: Curriculum; Geriatrics; Pharmacy education

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-01-01

More about this publication?
  • The Consultant Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Consultant Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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