The John A. Hartford Foundation supports a number of programs designed to increase the number of physicians who choose academic geriatrics as their career, and others that promote aging-related medical research. One of the Foundation’s most successful initiatives, however, does both: the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program. Nine percent of the earliest program participants have gone on to become medical school faculty with expertise in aging, compared to the one percent of students nationwide who go into geriatrics fellowships.
MSTAR, administrated by the American Federations for Aging Research (AFAR), gives medical students a taste of aging-related research under the mentorship of top experts in the field at some of the nation’s most prestigious medical schools. At the end of each year’s session, MSTAR scholars crown their training achievements by presenting posters of their research projects and participating in a networking event with prominent scholars of aging at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). The poster session and networking event are sponsored in part by the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging.
Seventy-two of the 2010 MSTAR cohort presented at this year’s AGS conference, held in Orlando, Florida, and by all accounts, their posters proved a resounding success. They covered a broad range of topics, from Alzheimer’s-related changes in the brain to the relationship between depression and disability. You can read more about their presentations on the Foundation’s blog, Health AGEnda.
MSTAR is a continuation of the original Hartford/AFAR Medical Student Geriatric Scholars Program, established in 1994. Today, the Foundation partners with two other major sponsors, the MetLife Foundation and the National Institute on Aging (NIA), in supporting the program. Over the past 16 years, the program has provided training in basic science, clinical, and health services research to 1,354 students from more than 120 medical schools. Any student in good standing who has completed at least one year of study at an accredited medical or osteopathic school in the U.S. can participate in the program.