Department of Medicine

Huffington Center on Aging Clinical Education


The John A. Hartford Foundation designated the Huffington Center on Aging as a "Center of Excellence in Geriatrics." The mission of our Center of Excellence in Geriatrics is to train physicians to become academic geriatricians who will provide service, training and research to meet the needs of older people. As a Center of Excellence, HCOA is committed to recruiting and training geriatric fellows as either clinical educators or investigators. Trainees will be selected from a variety of medical disciplines, including medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology and rehabilitative medicine.

The Geriatrics in Primary Care Residency Training Initiative, coordinated by HCOA, is one of seven sites in the country funded by the JAHF to implement strategies for enhancing the teaching and practice of geriatrics within residency training programs in primary care. This three-year grant was awarded jointly to the HCOA and the Departments of Medicine and Family Medicine for the period 1995-1997. Professor emeritus Robert J. Luchi, M.D., is the principal investigator. The other medical schools receiving this award were UCLA, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the University of Chicago, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Rochester. This effort initiated instructional and clinical opportunities in geriatrics for hundreds of Baylor medical residents and has introduced a Key Clinical Faculty program to enhance the knowledge base and clinical skills of primary care faculty. HCOA has made initiatives begun under this grant permanent in its educational programs for residents and students.

The Curtis and Doris K. Hankamer Foundation has provided generous support for clinical and research fellowships in geriatrics since 1990. Many fellows have had the opportunity to explore research projects related to cell aging, a value history instrument, characterization of SDI1, a gene related to senescence in human cells, exercise responses in elderly patients with CHF, gene defects that cause unlimited growth in cancer cell and the examination of the genes related to the muscular atrophy of aging. A recent award from the foundation will enable five new fellows to gain valuable experiences in geriatrics.

The goal of the Student Training in Aging Research program is to increase the number of students committed to academic careers in geriatrics and gerontology. Medical students are recruited during their first and second years of medical school. Graduate students are targeted their first year to do an aging-related research project. The process involves selecting a mentor who agrees to work with the STAR students and by submitting a written application to HCOA. The Texas Geriatric Interest Foundation is an organization for medical students wanting to learn more about aging. The primary goals are education and service. Monthly meetings, seminars, field trips, pre-clerkship preceptorships and community service projects give members personal experiences in geriatrics.