The UNM Center on Aging and the School of Medicine's Geriatrics Program announces the launch of its Senior Mentor Program.  The program is a  volunteer project pairing medical students and active older adults in the community so that the future generation of New Mexico physicians have the opportunity to learn firsthand how to communicate with older adults, gain from their wisdom, and improve their perceptions about it means to successful age in our society.

"As baby boomers age, more and more seniors will comprise a major part of physician medical practices," said Carla Herman, M.D., director of the Center of Aging and chief of the UNM Department of Internal Medicine's Geriatrics Division.  "Too often though, our youngest physicians have had very little interaction with senior citizens, and have no idea of what a valuable and rich resource they can be - not only in teaching students about how better to practice medicine, but also in teaching them how better to live their life."

Senior mentors, age 65 and older, have volunteered to mentor medical students in this pilot program which has been a successful addition to the curriculum of many other schools of medicine across the nation.  At UNM, a group of 12 first year medical students have volunteered to participate in this program and have already participated in a series of seminars this past fall to increase their knowledge and understanding of successful aging, geriatric medicine and communicating with older adults.

The students and mentors will be meeting over the course of the semester.  Medical students will have topics to cover with their mentors and will have faculty and staff resources available to them at the School of Medicine.  The students and Mentors will have the opportunity to continue their relationship over the next three years. 

         The program is supported by the Donald W. Reynold's Foundation of Las Vegas, NV.  Working closely with this program are Dr. Sandra Qaseem, Christine Hayward and Peggy Allen.

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Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322