Medical Students

When you train with our faculty, we’ll augment your understanding of geriatrics and palliative medicine, providing you with essential knowledge that you’ll tap throughout your career.


  • MED 860 Introduction to Geriatric Medicine, 4 credits

    The course is designed to provide a clinical experience in geriatric medicine which is a subspecialty of internal medicine focused specifically on the patient who is 65 and older.  This includes an understanding of certain aspects of medical practice which are essential in the care of older patients including clinical pharmacology of the elderly, functional assessment, modalities of rehabilitation designed to preserve functional capacity as well as nutrition. Special attention is given to formulating a plan for evaluation and management of patients with multiple problems and guidelines in the development of a plan of action for the patient who is “getting nowhere.” Students will have opportunities to advance their knowledge and skills related to syndromes of delirium, dementia, late-onset depression, polypharmacy, frailty, etc.

    Course Activities/Experience

    Teaching conferences on topics of special relevance to geriatrics and long-term care are held weekly and provide learners with an opportunity to extend their knowledge into various aspects of geriatrics. Presentations are given by geriatric faculty and fellows. Journal clubs are also held which are presented by residents and medical students. Faculty from other medical specialties concerned with the care of geriatric patients are invited to present at the conference on special topics.   

    The rotation includes experiences in varied settings, such as inpatient at Erie County Medical Center, the GEM Clinic at the Buffalo VA, and nursing home/long-term care experience at the Community Living Center of the VA at Batavia.

    The course objectives include an understanding of the unique physiologic, pharmacologic, psychologic and sociologic problems faced by older persons using the 5M’s Framework (Mind, Mobility, Medication, Multi-morbidity and what Matters most). The student will gain skills and knowledge as well as a perspective which will assist them in providing optimal care for those patients, and enjoying it. We believe in the dictum “less is more.” 

    Prerequisite: MS4 or permission of OME and instructor.

    Modules: C-L

    Number of students: 1

    Course Director: Zachary Wikerd, MD

  • MED 880 Palliative Medicine, 4 credits

    This rotation is designed to provide the student with a broad-based experience in palliative medicine. It combines clinical teaching from different sites to give the student an overview of symptomatic therapies, communication skills and interdisciplinary care in varied settings.

    The student will spend two weeks at each of two hospitals (ordinarily, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and ECMC). The Roswell experience is largely focused on cancer diagnoses and may involve both ambulatory and inpatient experiences (in an interdisciplinary team). The experience at ECMC (also interdisciplinary) includes an eclectic mix of communications training and exposure to socio-economic factors that impact advanced illness in patients, families and the community at large. In addition to the two clinical sites, students will take part in an extended standardized patient scenario in the Clinical Competency Center located in the Jacobs School.

    Upon completion of this rotation, the student will have:

    • developed important attitudes concerning appropriate timing of palliative care, based on accurate prognosis determination and rational goals of medicine,
    • gained a sound knowledge base in symptomatic management of patients with a variety of distressing symptoms, 
    • and acquired clinical skills in effective but compassionate communication.

    Prerequisite: MS4

    Modules: A-K

    Number of students: 2

    Course Director(s): Eric Hansen, MD, Mehak Swami, DO

    Course Coordinator: Michelle Dicenzo