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In order to better prepare health care practitioners to meet the needs of a rapidly aging population, the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is introducing a new Master of Arts in Medical Gerontology. Beginning in the fall of 2019, this innovative program will provide students with a comprehensive approach to aging, which includes examining older adults’ living environments, nutritional practices and care needs.

“As we enter an era where older adults will outnumber the young, health care professionals across all fields must have the skills and expertise to embrace the medical challenges and opportunities of our aging population,” said Pinchas Cohen, MD, dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. “This program leverages the world-renown expertise at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology to address the need for a well-trained workforce to complement the cadre of geriatric professionals managing the health care needs of our aging population.”

According to the World Health Organization, the world’s population aged 60 years and older is expected to total 2 billion by 2050 and today, 125 million people are aged 80 years or older. At the same time, the number of physicians choosing to specialize in geriatrics is declining in the U.S., and there is a recognized lack of training globally in how to meet the specific needs of older adults across fields including medicine, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, home health care, social work and more.

“The goal of this program is to provide medical doctors and other health care professionals with gerontological training and expertise absent from their primary training,” said Maria Henke, senior associate dean of the USC Leonard Davis School.  “After completing this program, health care professionals will have a greater understanding of older persons and will have the tools to take a whole-person approach to aging and caring for older people.”

The USC Leonard Davis School’s program is a residential course that can be completed in 12-18 months. Plans are underway to offer an online option as well. Courses will address topics including communicating effectively with older adults and their families, managing the complexities related to multiple chronic diseases, understanding the psychological aspects of aging, incorporating technology in health care management, understanding the role of nutrition in disease prevention and applying principles of safety and security in homes and communities.

The Master’s in Medical Gerontology is one of seven masters degrees programs offered by the USC Leonard Davis School. Other pioneering programs include the first PhD in the Biology of Aging; the Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity, and the Master of Arts in Senior Living Hospitality (spring 2020).

For more information, visit the Master of Arts in Medical Gerontology program page.

About the USC Leonard Davis School

Founded in 1975, the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology has long been recognized as the leading institution devoted to the research, education and practice of gerontology. Led by a world-renown faculty, the school offers the most comprehensive selection of gerontology degree programs found anywhere, a variety of outstanding research opportunities, and a challenging yet supportive academic environment. As a school rooted in a world-class research university located in Los Angeles, the USC Leonard Davis School is home to today’s leaders in the field, as well as to tomorrow’s.

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