The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) has published an updated version of the AGS Minimum Geriatrics Competencies for Graduating Medical Students, which were created to ensure that medical school graduates across the U.S. are prepared to provide high-quality care for us all as we age. A refresh of the original set first published more than a decade ago, the 27 competencies integrate new concepts that have emerged more recently in the field of geriatrics, including frailty and person-centered care, and are framed around five key areas of focus for all geriatrics healthcare professionals.
"The updated competencies reflect an evolution in how we frame the work of geriatrics health professionals, a greater understanding of frailty, and a greater focus nationally on ensuring that care is person-centered and driven by individual goals," explained AGS President Peter Hollmann, MD, AGSF. "With these competencies, the field of geriatrics has defined not just what all physicians should know as they embark on their careers but also how they should put that knowledge into practice."
The updated AGS Minimum Geriatrics Competencies for Graduating Medical Students are organized around the Geriatrics 5Ms, a framework developed in 2017 by Frank Molnar, MD, Allen Huang, MD, AGSF, and Mary Tinetti, MD, AGSF, around five key areas: Mind, Mobility, Medications, Multicomplexity, and what Matters most. Clinical educators in medical schools are rapidly adopting the 5Ms as a framework for teaching medical students the skills, knowledge, and abilities they should have to provide high-quality clinical care for older adults. In the updated competencies set, each of the Ms contains new or modified competencies. Of particular note, multicomplexity, which describes the person who benefits most from geriatrics care, includes guidance on integrating a health equity lens into the practice of medicine.
When we added a 27th competency, we believed it was critically important to highlight how important it is that physicians not only understand the impact that ageism and other forms of discrimination can have on the health of older adults but also take steps to overcome their own bias in addressing issues of health equity."
Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA, AGS CEO
A workgroup of AGS leaders co-chaired by Rosanne Leipzig, MD, PhD, Andrea W. Schwartz, MD, and Mandi Sehgal, MD, updated the 26 original competencies using a modified Delphi method to reach a group consensus based on expert and stakeholder input and a literature review. Having presented their work at the 2021 AGS Virtual Annual Scientific Meeting, the team is currently working on a paper describing their methodology and key qualitative findings from their research. The updated competencies are now available on the AGS website here.
Moving forward, the AGS will continue to advocate that undergraduate medical education prepares graduating physicians to care for us all as we age. AGS is also developing educational tools to help educators to integrate attention to the new competencies into their programs.