The fastest-growing group of patients initiating dialysis is patients 75 years old and older; providing the best care for this group of patients presents significant challenges. The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) introduces the first-ever online curriculum to address aging and the kidney. The curriculum, based on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)'s six core competences of patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and systems-based practice, answers questions about the management of elderly patients.

Twenty-five percent of institutions with accredited US nephrology training programs do not have accredited geriatric training programs, but the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has mandated that fellows receive formal training in geriatric nephrology. The ASN online curriculum will serve as a primary source of educational material for geriatric nephrology training nationwide.

Dimitrios G. Oreopoulos, MD, PhD, and Jocelyn Wiggins, BM, BCh served as co-chairs of the Geriatrics Task Force and oversaw development of the curriculum. "Caring for elderly patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is an issue of growing importance. There remain many unanswered questions about the management of elderly patients with ESRD. This text will help nephrologists in training and those in practice improve and refine their approaches to the care of elderly kidney patients," said Dr. Oreopoulos.

A grant was provided by the Association of Specialty Professors (ASP) for this curriculum, which includes 38 chapters on various aspects of geriatric nephrology. The online resources will be expanded over the next few months to include power point presentations that distill the information written in each chapter. The entire curriculum will be freely available for anyone to access and utilize.

ASN understands the importance of treating the geriatric nephrology population and also collaborates with ASP on three additional endeavors: ASN partners with the Association of Specialty Professors (ASP) to offer the ASN-ASP Junior Development Grant in Geriatric Nephrology. Since 2003, ASN and ASP have funded more than seven junior nephrologists who have decided to focus their research careers on issues related to the geriatric aspects of nephrology. In 2008, there were two recipients of this grant, Steven G. Coca, DO, and Lisa M. Nanovic, DO.

ASN and ASP collaborated with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to hold the "ASN-ASP Workshop on Prediction, Progression, and Outcomes of Chronic Kidney Disease in Older Adults." This workshop, which took place in May 2008, was intended to increase NIH funding for the geriatric aspects of nephrology. ASP provided ASN funding for four fellows to attend and participate in the workshop.

ASP also provided ASN with a $15,000 grant to fund an In-Depth Nephrology Course focused on the geriatric aspects of nephrology. The course, "Geriatric Nephrology: An Epidemiologic and Clinical Challenge," was held at Renal Week 2008. For 2009, this course will be repeated and will follow the chapters of the geriatric nephrology curriculum listed above. Talks from the 2008 course are available on the ASN website. Source:
Shari Leventhal
American Society of Nephrology

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