WAI summer externship offers learning, connection for first-year medical students

Thank you to our 2021 externs!

Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute offers a Summer Externship program for first-year medical students at UW School of Medicine and Public Health, encouraging these students to better understand the needs of older patients and helping them understand the need for geriatricians in our communities.

The students are offered exposure to clinical settings and opportunity to connect and learn from physicians in dementia diagnostic clinics, primary care and neurology. To date, 24 students have completed the program. In summer 2021, two students completed the program virtually, connecting with provider’s online and experiencing in-depth conversation and teaching from professionals about dementia diagnosis, speaking to caregivers and people living with memory loss, available community resources and updates on Alzheimer’s disease research studies.

Thank you to the community members and health care professionals who met with our students! We were glad to offer the externship to two students this year, and so happy with the work they did. Here’s what this year’s students told us about the externship:

“My month-long experience offered valuable insight into the dementia care network around the state of Wisconsin and beyond. I gained practical skills that will help me in whichever clinical field I choose and was able to form a sounder picture of what specialty I want to pursue thanks to mentorship offered during the externship. I met many wonderful caregivers, clinicians, and community partners that motivated me beyond my summer research project. Thank you to the supporters and coordinators of the program. I would highly recommend the externship to future medical students at all interested in dementia care or geriatrics!”

“The WAI Geriatric externship was filled with opportunity to explore not just the field of geriatrics, but fields of medicine including psychiatry, neurology, and beyond. The individuals I met throughout this experience were all incredibly kind and knowledgeable in their field of work; and were passionate about spreading awareness on how to better improve care for our elderly. This program emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary medicine and how critical every person’s role is, from family members to community leaders to physicians, in offering holistic care. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and for the connections I was able to make with individuals throughout the community focusing on better geriatric care.”