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SUNY Downstate Geriatric Fellowship Program


Program Director's Message

photo of Carl Cohen

Welcome to our Geriatric Fellowship Program website. The Geriatric Fellowship Program was established in 2003 with funding from the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). It provides training for academic, clinical, and administrative careers in geriatric medicine, dentistry, or psychiatry. We are pleased to announce the recent renewal of our grant from HRSA for $3.68 million over five years.

The program, based at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., focuses on work in urban and public settings, as well as cultural issues in geriatric care. The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to geriatrics with considerable interaction among the fellows in each specialty. All disciplines are exposed to a variety of inpatient, long-term care, and community settings. Participants also receive additional training in pedagogical techniques, information technology, administration, and cross-cultural education, including training from an anthropologist. The programs in Medicine and Psychiatry are certified by the ACGME, and qualify graduates for subspecialty board certification. The training program is generally two years, although one-year fellowships are sometimes possible. Please do not hesitate to contact me at (718) 270-2907. I will be happy to answer any questions about the program.

Dr. Carl I. Cohen
Distinguished Service Professor
Director of Geriatric Psychiatry

Program Overview

Geriatric Dentistry Clinical Program and Curriculum »

The National Agenda for Geriatric Education White Paper reports that the need for clinician-educators in geriatrics is probably the greatest in dentistry of the three areas covered in this program and that "the dental delivery system is least equipped to meet the needs of the growing number of frail and functionally dependent elders." Although the American Dental Association provides no specific guidelines for geriatric dentistry, this program is designed to conform to their recommendations for a two-year general practice residency with specific content designed to meet the needs of dentists interested in specializing in geriatrics. Dental fellows will receive most of their practical experiences under the supervision of Dr. Julius Berger at Kings County Hospital Center Department of Dentistry and Kingsbrook Hosptial. The overall goal is to provide the fellows with training in geriatric dentistry with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that they will be able to:

  • Deliver excellent dental care to diverse elderly populations in a variety of settings by the end of the fellowship
  • Provide this care in conjunction with professionals from other medical and health related disciplines
  • Be able to embark on a successful career in academic geriatric dentistry

Dental fellows will gain knowledge about age-related changes specific to masticatory apparatus, masticatory function and nutrition, and prosthetic treatment planning specific to the elderly including legal and ethical issues.

Program details: Geriatric Dentistry »

Geriatric Medicine Clinical Program and Curriculum »

The program and curriculum will comply with HRSA and ACGME requirements. The program has received ACGME certification. Certification allowed previous fellows to become eligible for geriatric certification. These include mandatory experiences in an acute care hospital, a long-term care facility, long-term non-institutional care, ambulatory care programs, and additional clinical experience such as rehabilitation units, community care for the elderly mentally retarded, comprehensive evaluation units, home visits, and consultative services.

The specific objective of the Geriatric Medicine Program is to establish a geriatrics training program in an environment aimed at providing eldercare for an ethnically and culturally diverse population of predominantly underserved patients with emphasis on continuity, coordination and comprehensiveness of care across the biopsychosocial spectrum in both the ambulatory and inpatient, especially nursing home, settings. In addition, we will integrate into the geriatric training program an established palliative care/hospice program run by a team of qualified palliationists. This component of the fellowship will have both in-depth and broad exposure to end of life issues and permits eligibility for a certificate of added qualification in palliative care.

The fellowship also includes rotations in subspecialties focused on issues germane to the comprehensive practice of geriatrics including geropsychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, gerodentistry, audiology, optometry, podiatry, sleep disorders and opportunities for electives in areas such as geriatric rheumatology or orthopedics. Continuity of Care, the dominant clinical feature of the training program, will have two components – ambulatory and inpatient, especially Nursing Home.

Program details: Geriatric Medicine »

Geriatric Psychiatry

This is a 1 or 2 year ACGME approved training program. Begun in 1984, it is one of the oldest geriatric psychiatry training programs in the country.   The primary goal of this training program is to produce academic and clinical specialists in the delivery of skilled and comprehensive psychiatric medical care of older adults suffering from psychiatric and neuropsychiatric disorders.  The program also provides advanced training for the resident to function as an effective consultant in the subspecialty.  There is a comprehensive array of clinical experiences include an acute geriatric psychiatry inpatient unit, an intermediate care unit, long-term care facilities, consultation–liaison, a geriatric medicine clinic, palliative care rotation, a geroneurology clinic, a dementia clinic , a geriatric psychiatry clinic, and community outreach. The program emphasizes scholarship, self-instruction,thedevelopment of critical analysis of clinical problems, consideration of economic and cultural issues, and the ability to make appropriate decisions.  Unique elements of this program include preparation of trainees to work in academic and multicultural public settings, and its training of psychiatrists in conjunction with the training of fellows in geriatric medicine and dentistry. There are opportunities to travel to academic meetings and attend programs to develop teaching and other academic skills. Those fellows undertaking a second year of training will have ample time for research and academic development. 


Program details: Geriatric Psychiatry »