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Senior mentor program holds graduation ceremony

The annual MUSC Senior Mentor Program graduation event was celebrated March 16, with a luncheon at the Charleston Marriott Hotel in downtown Charleston. The College of Medicine’s Class of 2010, about 140 fourth-year students, represents the second graduating class of the Senior Mentor Program, which was established in 2006.
College of Medicine seniors John Korman and William Perkins join senior mentor Charles Luce during the March 16 senior mentor graduation luncheon.

The program is an innovative, experiential way to teach geriatrics to medical students and involves pairing medical students with senior citizens, men and women age 65 and older, living in the community. This program is considered an important part of MUSC’s medical school curriculum especially because South Carolina’s senior population is projected to grow by about 133 percent between 2000 and 2030, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This places a high value of this program on medical students as physicians and other health care professionals are expected to work collaboratively to care for America’s aging population. Most students in this program develop close relationships with their paired mentors and leave the program with a renewed appreciation for geriatrics. Previous students have “gained a higher comfort level in providing care and interacting with the aging population” and discovered that “first-hand experience with elderly patients is much more valuable then reading about them.” 
This year, keynote speaker Cat Angus from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging and Avalon Consulting, recognized and thanked the program’s volunteers. Her topic was “Aging in the Real World,” and she addressed some of the real-life difficulties related to aging in America’s society, particularly the way physicians can help seniors navigate difficulties in life. During the graduation ceremony, the senior mentors were recognized and presented with program graduation certificates and pins to honor their service to MUSC and to medical student education.
A total of 77 senior mentors graduated from the program with organizers predicting continued success with future participants and students.
Seniors interested in participating as a volunteer senior mentor or for information, call 792-0712.

Friday, April 2, 2010

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