An evaluation of a sustained senior mentor program for medical students

Edward R. Ratner, Tina R. Kilaberia, June Englund, Howard A. Fink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background/Objective Medical student geriatrics education using community-based volunteer older persons, known as a Senior Mentor Program (SMP), began decades ago. Though these programs have been described and evaluated against curriculum objectives, the full breadth of students’ learning from SMPs has not been reported. Methods We conducted a qualitative study using content analysis of reflections of Year 2 medical students submitted during a single visit home-based SMP. Written reflections of 102 randomly selected students from 2016–2018 were inductively coded and grouped into themes. Older persons from the SMP site assisted in coding and quotation selection. Results We discerned six themes from the evaluation of student reflections: student insight, interview and exam, social community, challenges with aging, strengths (responses to challenges), and physical infrastructure. Conclusion A single home visit with older adults enables pre-clinical medical students to learn about multiple positive aspects of aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-428
Number of pages11
JournalGerontology and Geriatrics Education
Issue number3
Early online dateMar 17 2021
StatePublished - Mar 17 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Hartford Foundation/AAMC provided funding for the SMP. The Minneapolis VA GRECC provided support for ER to complete the qualitative analysis and manuscript preparation. Neither sponsor participated in the study design, methods, analysis, or interpretation of the data. We thank the staff and many volunteers of Augustana Apartments for their decades of hospitality, engagement and valuable teaching of medical students. We would also like to thank James Nixon, MD, for his encouragement and support for the curriculum and valuable review of the manuscript. This study was funded by Enhancing Geriatrics and Gerontology in Medical Education in Undergraduate Medical Education Hartford Foundation/American Association of Medical Colleges. This material is also the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the Minneapolis VA Geriatrics Research Education Clinical Center. The authors declare that there are no personal or professional conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Medical student
  • evaluation
  • geriatrics
  • medical school education

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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