By Wendy Sarubbi | August 2, 2012 12:38 pm

The College of Medicine’s “Adopt-a-Senior” program has been selected as an inspirational student community service by the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). The association highlighted the program on its inspiration exchange and will also recognize the UCF program at its upcoming annual meeting.

Under the Adopt-a-Senior program, UCF medical students are paired with senior citizens in Osceola County who are currently receiving services from the Osceola Council on Aging. Most of these clients are confined to their homes with little access to transportation and are at risk for in home accidents due to age and deteriorating health. Thus the student visits are two-fold: students offer much needed personal contact and also provide an additional safeguard to monitor seniors at risk for falls or medical emergencies. Monthly visits are spent discussing any pertinent health concerns, taking blood pressure, listening to heart and lung sounds, and checking neurological status.

“As the next generation of physicians, we will work in an environment where geriatric medicine plays a more significant role in every medical specialty,” said third-year student Casey Dedeugd, who participates in the program. “It is important for current medical students to understand and appreciate the special needs of at-risk older adults in order to better serve our patients.”

The program was started by fourth-year student Mitch Popovetsky in his first year at the medical school. Second-year student Sophie Thibault will be in charge of the program this year.

The college recently approved the Adopt-a-Senior program as the basis for the first pre-clinical elective at the medical school. The elective, called Introduction to Healthcare Policy and Services for Older Adults, will be advised by Dr. Adam Golden. This academic year, eight second-year students will participate and receive credit for taking the elective.

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