Advancing Geriatrics Education Through a Faculty Development Program for Geriatrics-Oriented Clinician Educators.


Geriatrician and nongeriatrician faculty need instruction as teachers to provide quality training for a broader community of physicians who can care for the expanding population of older adults. Educators at Duke University designed a program to equip geriatrician and nongeriatrician faculty to develop quality educational programs and teach medical learners about geriatrics. Eighty-three faculty representing 52 institutions from across the United States participated in mini-fellowship programs (2005-09) consisting of workshops and 1-year follow-up mentoring by Duke faculty. Participants attended 1-week on-campus sessions on curriculum development and teaching skills and designed and implemented a curriculum in their home institution. Participant specialties included general medicine (nearly 50%), family medicine, surgery, psychiatry, rehabilitation medicine, and emergency medicine. Pre- and postprogram self-efficacy surveys, program evaluation surveys, and 6- and 12-month progress reports on scholars' educational projects were used to assess the effect of the Duke mini-fellowship programs on participants' educational practices. Forty-four scholars (56%) completed the end-of-year self-efficacy survey and end-of-program evaluation. Self-efficacy results indicated significant gains (P < .001) in 12 items assessed at 1 week and 1 year. Scholars reported the largest average gains at 1 year in applying adult learning principles in the design of educational programs (1.72), writing measurable learning objectives (1.51), and identifying optimal instructional methods to deliver learning objectives (1.50). Participants described improved knowledge and skills in designing curricula, implemented new and revised geriatrics curricula, and demonstrated commitment to faculty development and improving learning experiences for medical learners. This faculty development program improved participants' self-efficacy in curriculum design and teaching and enhanced geriatrics education in their home institutions.





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Publication Info

Pinheiro, Sandro O, Heidi K White, Gwendolen T Buhr, Katja Elbert-Avila, Harvey Jay Cohen and Mitchell T Heflin (2015). Advancing Geriatrics Education Through a Faculty Development Program for Geriatrics-Oriented Clinician Educators. J Am Geriatr Soc, 63(12). pp. 2580–2587. 10.1111/jgs.13824 Retrieved from

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Pinheiro de Oliveira

Sandro Pinheiro de Oliveira

Professor in Medicine

Dr. Pinheiro directs faculty development activities for clinical and basic science faculty, designs medical and interprofessional education curricula, coaches/mentors medical faculty and fellows, and conducts evaluation and research in medical and interprofessional education. His educational competencies are in the areas of adult learning, instructional strategies, active learning, curriculum design and evaluation, and qualitative inquiry. His research activities focus on medical and interprofessional education and the assessment of change in the teaching practice of clinical instructors.


Heidi Kay White

Professor of Medicine

Dr. White's clinical expertise involves the care of older adults, especially care transitions, long-term care, and post-acute care.  She services as the Vice-Chief of Clinical Affairs in the Geriatrics Division At Duke University.  She has worked with peer faculty to develop clinical programs including Peri-operative Optimization of Senior Health (POSH) and Health Optimization Program for Elders (HOPE) which is a transitional care program from the hospital to skilled nursing facilities.  She serves as geriatrics medical director for Duke Population Health Management Office.  She is a member of the Executive steering committee for the Duke University Health System Geriatrics Operational Plan.  She is the medical director of Croasdaile Village Retirement Community.  Her educational activities include bedside teaching in the hospital, clinic and nursing home with geriatrics fellows, residents, medical students and other professional students such as nurse practitioner, and physician assistant. She co-directs the Advanced Course in Long-Term Care for an interprofessional group of learners.  She is a past President of AMDA The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.  She has worked to develop competencies for practitioners in this environment and developed online educational modules.  Dr. White’s research focuses on the general medical care of older adults with cognitive impairment. She has studied the nutritional decline and weight loss that often accompanies Alzheimer’s disease. In collaboration with Edward Levin, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, she has explored the cognitive effects of nicotine transdermal patches in older adults with varying degrees of cognitive impairment. Other work includes studying the effects of personalized music in older adults with dementia and implementing personalized music programs for pain and delirium relief in hospital and dementia care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  Current work focuses on clinical program development and sustainability.

keywords: cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, weight loss, nutrition, nicotine


Gwendolen Toni Buhr

Associate Professor of Medicine

Quality Improvement in Long-Term Care


Katja Ingrid Elbert-Avila

Associate Professor of Medicine

Mitchell Tod Heflin

Professor of Medicine

I am currently a Professor with Tenure in the Department of Medicine, a Senior Fellow in the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, and Associate Dean for Interprofessional Education and Care (IPEC).  My career as a leader in Geriatrics has focused on development, deployment and evaluation of education programs aimed at health professions learners from a variety of disciplines and introduction of innovative models of care with a specific emphasis on community-based and perioperative care of frail older adults.   I served as Geriatrics Fellowship Program Director for 11 years and, over the same span, directed HRSA funded Geriatrics Education Programs at Duke, including our Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) In that role, I worked with colleagues and community partners to provide IP educational programs in geriatrics and care redesign in primary care practices to improve care for older adults.  Concurrently, I also led the implementation of the Duke Perioperative Optimization of Senior Health (POSH) program and co-directed the VA OAA funded Specialty Care Education Center of Excellence for the VA POSH Program.  In my current role as Associate Dean and Director of the IPEC Center, I am working with educators and clinicians from across the Health System in the design and implementation of educational program aimed at improving our ability to use interprofessional collaborative practice to deliver safe, effective, person-centered care.

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