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About Us For Patients and their Families Office of Geriatric Research Medical Education Newsletter
Gerontologic Enviromental Modifications
"Physical Diagnosis Night"

In an unusual and collaborative teaching program, Amsterdam Nursing Home ( served as host to medical students on June 12 to teach them one of the most important aspects of medicine - the physical examination.

The program was the brainchild of Director of Geriatrics Medical Education, Dr. Veronica LoFaso. "Traditionally, the hospital has been a source of patients with interesting physical findings that students must learn," said Dr. LoFaso. "Increasingly, however, patients are not "in-house" long enough for students to meet and benefit from them. The nursing home seemed like an ideal place to remedy this problem in that it is their home, and they love interacting with our students."

Using the Geriatric Student Interest Group ( as a final group of learners, Dr. LoFaso approached Amsterdam Nursing Home's Medical Director, Dr. Stephen Lansey, who loved the idea. "We have many, many patients with interesting problems who are delighted to help students in training." Together, Drs. Lansey and LoFaso created an evening interactive curriculum in which every student had a chance to examine and interview patients with supervision by a Divisional Faculty member.

"I thought the experience was incredible," said Sarah Schellhorn, a first-year student. Another first-year student, Tzivia Moreen, agreed, calling it "fantastic. It gave us a chance to interact with older adults and do some handspon exams and see some things we would not normally see as first-year students." In fact, students were disappointed that they could not spend even more time with the residents. As Laura Fanning, a second-year student, remarked, "We have the rest of our careers to rush around - now is the time to enjoy being able to talk to patients for as long as necessary to find out what their story is."

The residents were similarly moved. One resident commented that she could think of no greater gift to give a doctor in training than the knowledge the student might gain from spending time with her. Another resident comments on how the students were so appreciative, but that, in reality, she thought she got more personal satisfaction out of the evening than they did.

The program was generated with funds from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, who awarded the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology $2 million in 2001 to enhance geriatric medical education at the Weill-Cornell Medical College.

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