Here at the University of California San Diego, we have the best of both worlds - fantastic physicians trained to provide comprehensive care to seniors and researchers developing a greater understanding of the aging process and how we can optimize our later years in life.
What is Geriatrics?
Geriatrics care is Medicine Plus (+)! Geriatrics specialists focus on comprehensive health care, ranging from general preventive care to specialized care needs. Our geriatricians address the whole person, including an emphasis on maintaining a person's level of functional independence for frail older adults and improving their quality of life. As we get older, our health care needs change, so it's ideal to work with a physician who has special training in keeping older adults healthy.
Tailored Care for Seniors
Our geriatricians understand the unique, and often complex, needs of seniors and they aim to keep seniors healthy and high functioning as they age. We believe in providing quality care to the individual - knowing what are appropriate and not appropriate screenings and treatment options for individuals, not only based on their age, but also their functional capacity, their support systems, and most importantly, their individual wishes. Our faculty provide clinical care to older adults in a variety of settings, including primary care, hospital, geriatric psychiatry, in-home, skilled nursing, palliative and hospice care, and specialized dementia care.
What is Gerontology?
Gerontology is the study of the aging process and aging individuals. It goes beyond health and disease and addresses other elements of our older population and the aging experience (emotional, social and economic needs, etc…), along with how society views aging.
Although Gerontology is not new to our division, formalizing this focus within our division name is! The two disciplines largely go hand in hand. Taking a broad perspective on quality of life, addressing the needs of the whole person (and often a person's family), and evaluating community resources, have always been a foundation of the work we do! Geriatrics and Gerontology are also both very multidisciplinary – often relying on a team approach and perspectives from multiple areas of expertise!
We strongly believe that sharing our passion and educating others about the specific needs of our aging population is a high priority. UC San Diego has a variety of training programs focused on not only educating the next generation of doctors, but also the current health care work force, including other practicing physicians, nurses, and social workers, and other researchers. We have established partnerships with several local community organizations to expand our training efforts. We are involved with two local Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Programs funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 1) The San Diego GWEP Collaborative
with our own Dr. Diane Chau serving as the PI; and 2) The San Diego/Imperial Geriatric Education Center (SDIGEC)
spearheaded by San Diego State University.
As the region's only academic medical institution, we are bringing the latest in research and clinical medicine to the care of older adults and are collaborating with multiple researchers here at UC San Diego. Research into the aging process may be our most powerful tool for maintaining our health and quality of life in older age, whether it be understanding basic mechanisms of aging in the laboratory setting or determining methods for providing high quality dementia care in the community.