The Student/Senior Partnership Program (SSPP) is one of the cornerstones of the geriatrics education program for medical students at the UC Irvine School of Medicine. The program provides medical students with the opportunity to gain perspective on aging and to learn about caring for the special health care needs of older adults. Emphasis is placed on developing skills in communication, health literacy, and shared decision making.
Small groups of medical students are partnered with older adults from the Orange County community. The program is kicked off with an educational theater event that highlights the dos and don’ts of patient care for older adults. Medical students then interact with their Senior Partners throughout one academic year in small group discussions. Students also have the option to visit the homes of their Senior Partners, accompany them on medical appointments, and submit creative reflections about their experiences.
“Listening is such a vital part of our practice as physicians. This experience really allowed me to learn how to listen and be patient.” – 1st year Medical Student
Southern California Public Radio’s story about SSPP:UC Irvine medical students wrap up year of learning from senior mentors