Geriatric Psychiatry Teaching in Canadian Medical Schools: a Cross-Sectional Study

Soojin Chun, Alan Bruce Douglass, Susan W. Lehmann, Catherine Hickey, Elliott Kyung Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: With a growing geriatric population and limited geriatric psychiatrists in Canada, it is crucial to provide sufficient training in geriatric psychiatry during medical school. The authors examined how geriatric psychiatry education is delivered in Canadian medical schools during clerkship. Factors that could be associated with increased geriatric psychiatry teaching in medical schools were examined. The authors were also interested in comparing Canadian to US findings. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was distributed to the psychiatry medical education representatives attending the Canadian Organization of Undergraduate Psychiatry Educators (COUPE) semi-annual meeting in September 2017. Results: All 17 (100%) medical schools completed the survey. Fifteen of the 17 schools (88%) have geriatric psychiatry-specific learning objectives. Five schools (29%) offer a clinical component in geriatric psychiatry. One school has an award for clerks (6%), and no awards exist for faculty. The number of lecture hours in geriatric psychiatry is moderately correlated with the presence of a geriatric component to psychiatry clerkship (Spearman’s rho = 0.67, p = 0.003) and the length of the geriatric portion of clerkship (Spearman’s rho = 0.64, p value = 0.006). Lecture hours are also moderately correlated with the presence of a geriatric fellowship (Spearman’s rho = 0.68, p value = 0.003). Conclusions: Geriatric psychiatry clerkship education is inconsistent in Canada. There is virtually no recognition of excellence in teaching or undergraduate performance in this area in clerkship. Geriatric psychiatry may receive more frequent attention in Canadian medical schools than in US medical schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-410
Number of pages4
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2019


  • Clerkship
  • Geriatric psychiatry
  • Medical school education
  • Undergraduate medical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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