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Curriculum

The fellowship curriculum is comprised of clinical, research, and teaching and health administration components. The core curriculum provides in-depth knowledge of geriatrics and gerontology, including biological and psychosocial aspects of aging, clinical management of common health problems experienced by the elderly and research design, grant writing, educational instruction and health policy issues. The program includes lectures, conferences, workshops, journal, Geriatric Grand Rounds, and online learning opportunities. Direct experience in administration and teaching is available throughout the program, with 2nd year fellows acting as the medical director of a nursing home or dental clinic as part of the fellowship experience.

Clinical Component
Fellows receive in-depth exposure to primary care and consultative geriatrics in the ambulatory and long term care settings and follow patients longitudinally across the continuum of care. Integrated learning experiences for fellows are offered in all clinical settings. Specialty rotations are provided in Inpatient Geriatrics, Geriatric Neurology, Geriatric Psychiatry, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Subacute Care, Community Medicine (PACE), and Hospice. Psychiatry fellows also have a Neuropsychology and Family Dynamics rotation. Other elective rotations are available to accommodate individual interests and needs of the fellows.

Clinical Training
The New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging at RowanSOM-OPTI offers the most comprehensive array of clinical services for the elderly in the southern New Jersey area. Through its affiliations and clinical programs, fellows receive experience in a variety of settings and with diverse populations. Opportunities for integration of clinically-based learning for all fellows are available in ambulatory, acute care, subacute and extended care settings.

Ambulatory Care
The New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging and the Rutgers University School of Dental Medicine together offer primary care and consultative services for the elderly through a variety of ambulatory care programs based in the office setting, in satellite sites in the community or in residential and assisted living facilities. Fellows provide care to a panel of patients and function as members of a multidisciplinary team. The team approach provides the optimum level of evaluation for those older individuals with multiple, complex health problems or whose functional limitations significantly affect their quality of life. Referrals to community-based programs and resources are part of managing the care of the geriatric patient, optimizing function and maintaining independence.

Primary care and consultation services provided by the New Jersey Institute of Successful Aging include:

Acute Care
Physicians in the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging provide primary care services and geriatric consultation in the acute care hospital system. The focus is on continuity of care across all parts of the clinical service continuum.

Kennedy Health System
As the core teaching affiliate, Kennedy University Hospital, the Principal Hospital of Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, is an acute care facility comprised of divisions-Stratford, Cherry Hill and Washington Township with over 600 beds, offers an array of medical, dental and psychiatry experiences in geriatrics. A geriatric consultation service is available to physicians whose patients may benefit from a comprehensive evaluation provided by the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging multidisciplinary team. The Kennedy University Hospital also offers opportunities for fellow training in an array of services for the elderly across the care continuum, including the nursing home, adult medical day care and assisted living facilities.

Assisted Living & Long-Term Care
All fellows receive experience in the assisted living and extended care or long term care setting, providing exposure to elderly individuals with multiple chronic illnesses and compromised level of function who require some level of supervision or assistance. The New Jersey Institute of Successful Aging programs offer learning opportunities in long term care settings ranging from home care, to residential, congregate or assisted living facilities, to nursing homes, subacute units and hospice programs. Alternatives to institutionalization, such as adult medical day care, other respite programs and psychiatric partial hospitalization programs complete the continuum. Fellows follow patients longitudinally, assuming full responsibility for an assigned panel of patients.

Research Component
All fellows are expected to acquire a strong knowledge base in theoretical and practical aspects of research in aging, which will permit them to critically evaluate the literature and to design and conduct their own research. The research experience is a key element of the geriatric fellowship program and is central to the pursuit of a career in academic medicine. Didactic training is provided in evidence-based medicine, critical reading of scientific literature, hypothesis formulation, research methodology and statistical design, data analysis, and development of grant-writing skills. Fellows are required to identify an area of research, conduct a research project under faculty mentorship, and complete one research paper per training year.

Teaching and Health Administration
Throughout the fellowship program, fellows develop their teaching skills and acquire an array of administrative skills. Fellows function as clinical educators, interfacing with medical students and housestaff, as well as other members of the multidisciplinary team. They participate in multidisciplinary team conferences, present case reports and educational programs to health care professionals and the lay public. Administrative concepts are put into practice in conducting fellowship meetings and assisting with curriculum revision and new fellow orientation. During the second year of the program, fellows assume the role of acting medical director in a nursing home or dental clinic.