Dr Paul Claffey and Trinity Final Year Med student winners of the Dr Jack Flanagan Medal 2019

Education will play a major role in transforming ageing into an opportunity for all. Enhancing and improving workforce training (knowledge, skills and attitudes) to make it more attractive requires developing more transversal education programmes for physicians, nurses, associate and allied professionals, adopting interactive teaching, interprofessional training, and employing information communication technologies.

The mission of the Discipline of Medical Gerontology is to support the education and training of an adequate number of skilled health care professionals who will be equipped to tackle the ageing challenges of the future. This includes not only physicians but also nurses, midwives, dentists, associate and allied health professionals, care workers and carers. The Discipline will remain tireless in its efforts to build and retain a strong and skilled health workforce and to match its supply to population care needs, current and future.

The Discipline is committed to help deliver the European undergraduate programme in Geriatric Medicine. The curriculum outlines ten broad learning domains:

  • Graduates should respect patients regardless of their age.
  • Graduates should know about and understand normal and abnormal structure and function, including the natural history of human diseases, the body’s defence mechanisms, disease presentation and responses to illness.
  • Graduates should know about common medical conditions in older people.
  • Graduates should have the special skills needed to conduct a history and perform an assessment in an older patient.
  • Graduates should know about and understand the principles of treatment including the effective and safe use of medicines as a basis for prescription.
  • Graduates should recognise the importance of responses to illness, providing support for recovery and reducing or managing impairments, disabilities and handicaps.
  • Graduates should know about and understand the main ethical and legal issues in the international and national context in which they will encounter them.
  • Graduates should know about, understand and respect the roles and expertise of other health and social care professionals.
  • Graduates should know about care of older patients in different settings.
  • Graduates should know about specific aspects relevant for health and social care for older persons in their region/country.

Our teaching curriculum aims to demonstrate to students that a tailored approach to the management and care of the older person is necessary to manage the problems of later life. Our emphasis on prevention as well as detection and remediation of functional loss, aims to help students gain an understanding of the need for a structured approach to disease syndromes often inherent in the ageing process. The Discipline is committed to improving the undergraduate training of students by exposing them to a holistic approach to disease management and by encouraging the management and use multidisciplinary therapies, grounded in methods of proven efficacy such as Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment.

The Discipline of Medical Gerontology sponsors core modules in the form of academic and didactic teaching. These programmes are designed to create a solid understanding of the clinical features of Geriatric Medicine thus enabling the evaluation and specialised treatment of a number of age related illnesses. All students must pass these modules in order to graduate.

Undergraduate students are invited and always welcome to spend time in the Discipline of Gerontology to gain a greater understanding of the challenges and positives of Geriatric Medicine. Elective experiences are very welcome.

Dr Jack Flanagan Medal
In 2007, the Jack Flanagan Intervarsity Medical Schools Medal Competition was instituted by the Dublin Ageing Research Network to honour Dr Flanagan’s pioneering contribution to medical care of older people in Ireland. Dr Flanagan was the first doctor in Ireland to specialise in modern day Geriatric Medicine. The medal is competed for annually amongst the Irish medical schools and the Discipline of Medical Gerontology is proud to have presented winning teams in 2007, 2018, 2019 and 2022.