First-year student Samantha Mahon recently won the 2016 Florida Geriatrics Society’s David T. Lowenthal Founders Award in recognition of research in geriatrics. Mahon collaborated with John Agens, M.D., Suzanne Baker and LaVon Edgerton to complete the study, which began during her time as a Bridge student in spring 2016.
During the society’s annual meeting, Mahon presented the research poster, “Assessing Mastery of a Geriatric Competency Domain in Fourth-Year Medical Students.” It was selected for the award among seven other posters presented by residents and physicians.
“It is important to ensure that all medical students are capable of adequately caring for the elderly, regardless of the specialty they enter,” said Mahon. “We looked to see how fourth-year students were performing in their geriatrics clerkship.”
Mahon joined Department of Geriatrics employees Agens, Baker and Edgerton in studying three cohorts of students during their fourth-year geriatric clinical rotation.
“We used a student assignment to evaluate medical students, and it showed that they not only met the medication management competency for the elderly but mastered it with evidence of clinical reasoning,” Mahon states in her research paper.
Recommended blood pressure targets, notations of fall risk, notations of life expectancy and recommendations for medication changes were analyzed for each group to reach this conclusion.
“Students were considering life expectancy and fall risk when making medication recommendations,” said Mahon.
Mahon is the fourth person from the college to receive the Lowenthal award for excellence in geriatric research. It was given to third-year student Tamara Marryshow in 2015, first-year student Marielys Figueroa-Sierra in 2012 and Professor Alice Pomidor in 2005.
Future research recommended in the study involves continuing with other cohorts to ensure the results are not limited to one group. Mahon plans to continue to hone her clinical skills to serve seniors as well.
“Being raised with a strong influence from my grandparents instilled in me a desire to serve the elderly,” she said. “I have a heart for the elderly and commit to serving their needs in my future practice.”