Summer Externship in Dementia Care

“As someone whose family has been touched by Alzheimer’s, I found the WAI Summer Externship to be a profoundly meaningful experience, both professionally and personally. We had ample opportunities to learn the clinical aspects of dementia through the lens of primary care, psychiatry, and neurology as well as the equally, if not more, important care that happens outside of the four walls of a clinic … The personal stories patients and their loved ones shared are some that I will carry with me for the rest of my career. I am incredibly grateful for this program for the countless lessons of compassionate care and for broadening my understanding of dementia beyond the diagnosis.”

– A 2022 Sumer Extern

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 student(s) will work with physicians virtually in dementia diagnostic clinics, primary care and neurology. Their focus will be on the geriatric population, specifically those with dementia, but will also include exposure to a wide range of older patients with chronic conditions. Students will 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.

Program Details

Schedule:  Part-time weekdays, Summer 2023. Students meet 4-6 consecutive weeks during the timeframe of Monday, June 5 to Friday, July 28, 2023.

Slots available: 2

Locations: The program was virtual in 2023; with the possibility of in-person shadowing. A formal daily schedule is provided to each student.

Stipend:  $400/week

Who can apply:  Students at UW School of Medicine and Public Health who have completed their first year of medical school by the time the externship begins.

Application deadline: March 17, 2023 or until spots are filled. 

Questions? Please contact Molly Schroeder for more information.

More testimonials from 2022 student externs

“My time during the externship taught me about dementia and geriatric care not only from the perspective of healthcare providers, but also from patients, caregivers, social workers, and more. The experience was incredibly formative and equipped me with many new tools to care for my future patients, regardless of which specialty I choose. I am grateful for the abundance of knowledge, empathy, and time that was shared with me over these 6 weeks!”

“The externship exposed us to the many types of care and resources that exist for those living with dementia, equipping us as future health professionals with information to better serve our patients and work in an interprofessional team. In addition to the comprehensive education on dementia and its complications, the externship provided unique insight into the benefits of early diagnosis. It was incredible to witness the resilience of those with dementia and their caretakers and hear about how they find joy and fulfillment on a daily basis. This experience significantly strengthened my desire to work with patients and families who are dealing with dementia and pursue training in neurology or psychiatry.”