WAI Summer 2024 Student Externship

Each year, Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute offers a summer externship; an opportunity available to first- year students enrolled at UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

The students work with physicians virtually in dementia diagnostic clinics, primary care and neurology. Their focus is on caring for the geriatric population, specifically those with dementia, but also includes exposure to a wide range of older patients with other chronic conditions. Students also spend time with other health care providers and learning more about community resources.

The goal of this innovative program is to increase the knowledge and skills of future health care providers to provide long term, interdisciplinary care to patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and to their families. At the completion of this program, students will be able to: describe the diagnosis, treatment, and management of dementia and mild cognitive impairment; recognize the roles of a multidisciplinary team in dementia care; identify common concerns of the person living with dementia and their families/caregiver(s); discuss current memory research studies; and identify community resources to support persons living with dementia and their families to live in their homes for as long as possible.

Testimonials from our 2023 student externs

Quotation marks“I found that the externship with WAI provided a brief, but deep dive into the lives of those impacted by dementia. Multiple in-person or virtual shadowing at memory clinics allowed me to experience first-hand what it might be like to work as a geriatrician or internist who sees older patients. We also experienced the expansive net of social support services available to patients and their families in Wisconsin.

A major take-away for me was that the lives of dementia patients can still be beautiful, creative, and expressive, but in ways we must work to support.

We interacted with experts in the field at the forefront of clinical innovations. By the end of the externship, I decided to add a new aim within my research program focused on Alzheimer’s disease patients. I am grateful to the organizers of the externship for their role in creating such an impactful program.”

Quotation marks“Participating in the WAI externship was a profoundly meaningful experience both professionally and personally.

I was able to learn from patients, caregivers, and entire care teams to better understand multiple dimensions of dementia. We engaged with emerging research, current community resources, as well as the future of dementia care in Wisconsin.

It furthered by desire to work in psychiatry and I know the insights shared with me during these past weeks will inform my future career in many ways. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to see how fulfilling it is to work in dementia and geriatric care.”