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Alzheimer's Disease Summer Externship

The WAI offers a unique 8-week, Alzheimer's-focused, summer externship for medical students who have completed their first year at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health or Medical College of Wisconsin. The externship provides a broad exposure to medical, social and educational needs of patients and families, to current practice in the community, and to experiences that are not part of the current medical school curriculum. Twenty-two students have completed the externship to-date.


UW School of Medicine and Public Health and Medical College of Wisconsin faculty, practicing physicians and service providers from across the State, including the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Association Chapter Network, serve as preceptors to the students. During the 8-week experience students typically rotate between 4 Wisconsin communities shadowing these individuals and their interdisciplinary healthcare teams in dementia diagnostic clinics, family practice clinics and on nursing home rounds. Students also visit adult day centers, attend Alzheimer's disease support groups and shadow staff from other service providers, such as hospice. The externship provides exposure to rural and minority populations and services as well. Students are given a binder of reading material to reference during the experience which includes such topics as screening tools, managing behaviors, driving, public policy, family issues, and end of life care. By the end of the 8-weeks, students have an understanding of physician's day-to-day responsibilities and the importance of building relationships with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals, and have become familiar with resources available in the community.


The impact of the experience on student's medical training and for their future in healthcare significant and best summarized in statements from former participants. Please read their comments in the box to the right.





Please contact Heidi Pophal at 608-829-3312 or for more information on the Alzheimer's Disease Summer Externship.


"I really enjoyed the opportunity for firsthand, hands-on learning in a clinical setting. Each of the providers were great teachers and provided a very open atmosphere for questions, comments, and suggestions. I felt like I was made more aware of what physicians and psychologists and social workers are doing to diagnose and treat Alzheimer's at many of the sites around the state. Additionally, I found it really valuable to learn about the community programs that help individuals and families."



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