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European Academy for Medicine of Ageing: a new network for geriatricians in Europe.

Introduction

In August 1996, the first members of the European Academy for Medicine of Ageing (EAMA) were appointed after successfully completing the first advanced postgraduate course for doctors working in medical gerontology. The target group was heterogeneous and included clinicians, researchers, teachers and junior staff with academic potential. The idea for the EAMA was originally created by the Group of European Professors in Medical Gerontology in 1992 [1].

The aim was to offer an interactive training programme to update knowledge, to train teaching skills, to formulate new research ideas and to create an international network [2]. The programme of the course was produced by the Scientific Committee of the group, consisting of nine European professors of medical gerontology (E. Beregi, Budapest University; G. Crepaldi, Padova University; S. A. Duursma, Utrecht University; J.-P. Emeriau, Bordeaux University; J. Grimley Evans, Oxford University, UK, J.-P. Michel, Geneva University; A. Ruiz Torres, Madrid University; H. B. Stahelin, Basle University; B. Steen, Goteborg University).

The World Health Organisation, the International Institute of Ageing of United Nations, the International Association of Gerontology and the International Association of Psychogeriatrics supported the initiative of the EAMA.

Course structure

The 2-year postgraduate courses consisted of four training sessions, each lasting 1 week. The curriculum included the following main topics:

1. Infection, nutrition and immunity in ageing: from molecular biology to clinical management.

2. Mobility disorders: assessment, scientific basis and outcome of rehabilitation.

3. The ageing braid and related disorders: from the scientific basis to the social response.

4. Circulation and ageing: fundamental aspects, prevention and treatment.

The topics were covered by state-of-the-art lectures by expert presenters. Each of the four sessions dealt with topics ranging from molecular to clinical functional level, thereby achieving an overview in the broadest sense. Basic scientists as well as clinicians were involved in an interactive teaching programme. As part of the course the participants also prepared and presented lectures on central aspects of geriatric medicine. They also presented their own research in the form of posters.

About one-third of the course was dedicated to group discussions on relevant clinical topics. Each participant in turn was given the opportunity to lead the discussion and to summarize the results to a forum of teachers and students. The discussions on topics in medical ethics were particularly fascinating and illustrated the differences in perception between northern and southern, and between western and eastern European countries. All presentations were evaluated by fellow students and by the teachers on overall quality, scientific message, take-home message, technique of presentation and participation in the debate.

After completing four training sessions, each participant was issued with a certificate which also accorded membership of the EAMA. As participants in the first course, we feel that the EAMA is an unique initiative and a valuable addition to the national and regional networks and conferences. In the field of medical gerontology there is a need for international exchange [3] and the EAMA also offers this opportunity to colleagues from European countries with less developed geriatric infrastructure. For junior geriatric staff with academic interests, the forum facilitates contacts with many eminent centres for geriatric research. It also facilitates the establishment of new research programmes over the national boundaries.

Future courses

The postgraduate training courses will be continued to further enhance the standard of European medical gerontology. The first two sessions of EAMA's second postgraduate course have been held at the academy in Sion (Switzerland) on the topics of `Cellular metabolism during ageing' and `Challenge of long-term care'. We hope that many colleagues, from every European country, will benefit from future EAMA courses, and that they will also participate in the building of a network for collaboration and the exchange of ideas in the field of medical gerontology.

For information on costs and enrolment on these postgraduate courses, contact EAMA c/o IKB, P.O. Box 4176, CH-1950 Sion 4, Switzerland. Fax (+41) 27 203 7384. E-mail eama.ikb@ikb.vsnet.ch

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to express out gratitude to the IKB Foundation (Sion, Switzerland) and to the Scientific Committee of the GEPMG for organising this post-graduate training course. We would like to thank the Sandoz Foundation for Gerontological Research and Merck Sharp & Dohme for their financial support

References

[1.] Stahelin HB, Beregi E, Duursma S et al. Teaching medical gerontology in Europe. Group of European Professors in Medical Gerontology (GEPMG). Age Ageing 1994; 23: 179-81.

[2.] Grimley Evans J. Geriatrics in a new Europe. Age Ageing 1994; 23: 177-8.

[3.] Pahor M. News around the world: more timely information on aging for professionals. J Am Geriatr Soc 1996 44: 1260.

Received 13 June 1997 Accepted 31 October 1997

HARALD J.J. VERHAAR, CLEMENS BECKER(1), OTTO I. J. LINDBERG(2)

Department of Geriatrics University Hospital Utrecht, P.O. Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands

(1) Geriatrics Zentrum, Ulm/Alb-Donau, Eberhardtstrasse 91, 89073 Ulm, Germany

(2) HUCH Clinical Research Institute, Tokholmankatu 8 FIN-00290 Helsinki, Finland

Address correspondence to: H.J.J. Verhaar, Fax (+31) 30 2544397. E-mail: H.J.J.Verhaar@digd.azu.nl
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Author:Verhaar, Harald J.J.; Becker, Clemens; Lindberg, Otto I.J.
Publication:Age and Ageing
Date:Mar 1, 1998
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