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November 1984

Who Is a Geriatrician?

Author Affiliations

From the Health Care Division, Palo Alto (Calif) Medical Clinic.

Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(11):2243. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.04400020167026

By creating definitions, we participate in the definition. The act becomes the fact. As lines are drawn, boundaries appear. Some spaces enlarge, others diminish. Integrations are lost. Continua are interrupted. In defining we must ask whether the summed products of the definition enlarge or limit.

Geriatrics is involved in an identity search. Different nations have taken different routes. In the United Kingdom, geriatrics is an identified specialty—there are approximately 450 consultant geriatricians (third in number only behind general internal medicine and pediatrics). In the United States, there has been a general consensus that geriatrics should be broadly based—emphasizing the participation of most clinicians in the health care of older persons. The Institute of Medicine report concluded that geriatrics should be infused into each specialty area of medicine and that development of a particular speciality of geriatrics was not indicated. The House of Delegates of the American Medical Association resolved "development

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