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December 11, 1981

Teaching Geriatrics

JAMA. 1981;246(23):2678-2679. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320230012008

To the Editor.—  Robert Butler, MD (1981;245:1435), and Knight Steel, MD, and Antoinette Hays, RN (1981; 245:1410), stressed in their communications the institutional setting (hospital and nursing home) as the most important site placements for teaching geriatrics to medical students and senior residents. However, after 25 years of experience in practicing and teaching geriatrics, British scholars advised the shifting of stress from institutions toward practice with the community to "rescue" British geriatrics from stagnation and the inability to attract qualified health professionals.1 Will American geriatrics repeat the same errors, and will it require 25 years to correct them?Butler's concept of a "well-geriatric" clinic needs a better definition. Some elderly can not be defined as geriatric patients based on their age. Certainly the President of the United States did not require services from geriatricians when he was hospitalized at the George Washington University Medical Center (GWUMC). We define geriatric