Preparing the Next Generation of Geriatricians

November 17, 2017 5:52 pm

New Geriatrics Fellowship at Mercy Health in Muskegon

Dr. Aruna Josyula

The shortage of qualified providers in many key medical specialties is no secret. Across the U.S., rural populations and the poor are generally underserved when it comes to medical care in general — and specialized care — in particular.

As America ages, there will be a growing need for a key medical specialty that could affect the quality of every person’s life — geriatricians — who can address the particular needs of the elderly. According to AARP, currently there are only 7,000 geriatricians nationwide, but our aging population will need more than 23,000 new geriatricians by 2030.

That’s why the recent announcement by Aruna Josyula, MD, from Mercy Health Physician Partners (MHPP) Geriatrics in Muskegon about a new geriatric fellowship program is so exciting. Education is one of Dr. Josyula’s passions, and she is thrilled to have her vision for a fellowship become a reality.

“I took ownership of developing this fellowship and received a lot of help from different people, including colleagues at Mercy Health in Grand Rapids; MSU College of Human Medicine geriatric fellowship program, U of M geriatric fellowship program; and other fellowship programs around the country,” said Josyula.

Dr. Josyula received approval in September 2017 to have two fellows start their Geriatric Fellowship program in July 2018, which is sponsored by Mercy Health Muskegon’s Internal Medicine Residency program. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education is the governing body that has accredited the program so fellows may become board certified in geriatric medicine.

Current medical residents in Muskegon have already expressed an interest in specializing in geriatric care. “Our medical residents in Muskegon who may want to pursue additional training can now do so right here,” said Josyula.

Aruna Josyula, MD will serve as fellowship director. Joan Nagelkirk, MD, of Specialists in Hospital Medicine, will serve as Key Clinical Faculty. The core faculty for the fellowship are fellowship-trained and/or board-certified geriatricians from MHPP Geriatrics: Mary Ball, MD; Jay Klein, DO; Oluwatoyin Thomas, MD; and Allison Turner, DO

In their practice, they follow a 360 degree model of care. Dr. Josyula explained, “We follow our patients at home, as outpatients, and in nursing homes, assisted living and independent living. We want to give this training program the breadth of what geriatrics could be.”

Mercy Health’s geriatricians strongly believe in innovation and collaboration. The program is set up for the geriatric fellows to experience rotations with partners in both Muskegon and Grand Rapids. Rotations will include geriatric primary and consultative care, home care, skilled nursing facility care, inpatient geriatric medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation (with Shoreline Neurosurgical Associates), wound care (with Muskegon Surgical Associates), geriatric psychiatry (with Pine Rest), neurology (with Hauenstein Neurosciences Center), urology (with Mercy Bladder Clinic) and hospice and palliative medicine (with Harbor Hospice).

“We will also collaborate with Mercy Grand Rapids Geriatric Fellowship and MSU College of Human Medicine’s geriatric fellowship for some evaluative processes as well as didactic teaching for the fellows,” added Dr. Josyula.

Mercy Health’s new Geriatric Fellowship program will provide a greater opportunity for more specialized care for the elderly in Muskegon and along the lakeshore. “In the end, that’s what it’s all about — improving care for our patients,” Dr. Josyula said.

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