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Medicine and Public Policy |

Geriatrics and Internal Medicine

ROBERT N. BUTLER, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Robert N. Butler, M.D.; Director, National Institute on Aging, Building 31, Room 5C-36, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, MD 20014.


Bethesda, Maryland


Ann Intern Med. 1979;91(6):903-908. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-91-6-903
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If medical education is to respond adequately to the growing number of citizens encompassed by the field of geriatric medicine, it must intensify its commitment to the special health and health-related problems of the elderly at every level, from student to certified specialist. This paper discusses the various intellectual, epidemiologic, economic, and attitudinal factors related to the teaching and practice of geriatric medicine. The emergence of a positive philosophy emphasizing coping and possible reversibility of disease is vital. The recent report of the Institute of Medicine on Aging and Medical Education is also reviewed, as well as graduate training opportunities and ways in which the American Board of Internal Medicine could play a leading role in this process by providing increased emphasis on geriatrics in its training programs and certifying examinations. The medical profession must continue its self-evaluation to ascertain how it can most effectively contribute to improving the lives of the elderly, perhaps our greatest national resource.

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