The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

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Student Senior Partners Program (SSPP)


Student Senior Partners Program (SSPP)

University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine
Ann Abrams, MPH, Camille Fitzpatrick, MPH, Solomon Liao, MPH, Ann Musser, MPH
AAMC/John A. Hartford Foundation
John A. Hartford Foundation
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SSPP is the cornerstone of the geriatrics education program for medical students at UCI. Each first year medical student is partnered with an older adult who lives in the local community. Each pair of students interacts with their senior partner for each module. These partnerships are designed to be maintained through the first three years of the students' predoctoral education. Three SSPP modules, each consisting of a preparatory didactic presentation, the student/senior encounter (at the senior partner's home), and a faculty-facilitated small-group discussion, are scheduled for each of the first three years of undergraduate medical education. They are incorporated into the times dedicated to geriatrics as a content theme in the required courses listed below. Scheduled student/senior interactions have both structured educational objectives and enough flexibility to make use of other learning opportunities as they arise.

Educational objectives: 

Basic training in healthy aging/history taking, transitions, functional assessment, cardiovascular/pulmonary issues, community resources, pharmacology issues, preventative health, advance directives, and closing a patient/physician relationship. Learners should be able to: 1. List at least three patient/doctor communication "tips" and identify personal goals for the students’ own healthy aging. 2. Discuss the role of loss and life transitions in working with older adults and identify your own coping mechanisms and those used by your senior partner. 3. Demonstrate the process of conducting a mini mental status exam (MMSE) and demonstrate an understanding of how to use the Tinettti Gait and Balance Exam. 4. Demonstrate proper techniques for physical examination, including vital signs and orthostatic blood pressures and discuss strategies to prevent cardiovascular and pulmonary disease in older adults. 5. Recognize older adults' needs for community resources. 6. Increase your knowledge about community resources that maintain or improve the health of older adults. 7. Discuss strategies to prescribe appropriately and to avoid polypharmacy, and discuss age-associated changes in pharmokinetics and pharmacodynamics. 8. Determine what screening tests are appropriate for patients 65 and older and research one recommendation relevant to your senior partner. 9. Determine the beliefs of your senior partner regarding aggressiveness of care and discuss and document an advance health care decision with your senior partner. 10. Discuss strategies to end a patient-physician relationship in a professional manner. 11. Participate in an evaluation and improvement process of the SSPP program.</p>

Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

Used with 500 1st-4th year undergrad and faculty in medical school classes. Faculty need to facilitate the small groups.

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Already Expired Email Date: 
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 4:06pm
Already Expired Email 1 month date: 
Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 12:33am
Expired Email Date: 
Friday, March 30, 2018 - 5:21am
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:
Camille Fitzpatrick

Suggested Citation:
Ann Abrams, Camille Fitzpatrick, Solomon Liao and Ann Musser. Student Senior Partners Program (SSPP). POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2006 Available from: