Do Interest Groups Cultivate Interest? Trajectories of Geriatric Interest Group Members

  • Andrew Perrella McMaster University
  • Ari B. Cuperfain University of Toronto
  • Amanda B. Canfield McMaster University
  • Tricia Woo McMaster University
  • Camilla L. Wong University of Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital
Keywords: medical students, mentorship, interest group, medical education, geriatrics



Minimal exposure, misconceptions, and lack of interest have historically driven the shortage of health-care providers for older adults. This study aimed to determine how medical stu­dents’ participation in the National Geriatrics Interest Group (NGIG) and local Geriatrics Interest Groups (GIGs) shapes their career development in the care of older adults.


An electronic survey consisting of quantitative and qualita­tive metrics to assess the influence of Interest Groups was distributed to all current and past members of local GIGs at Canadian universities since 2017, as well as current and past executives of the NGIG since 2011. Descriptive statistics and thematic analysis were performed.


Thirty-one responses (27.7% response rate) were collected from medical students (13), residents (16), and physicians (2). 79% of resident respondents indicated they will likely have a geriatrics-focused medical practice. 45% of respondents indicated GIG/NGIG involvement facilitated the establish­ment of strong mentorship. Several themes emerged on how GIG/NGIG promoted interest in geriatrics: faculty mentor­ship, networking, dispelling stigma, and career advancement.


The positive associations with the development of geriatrics-focused careers and mentorship compel ongoing support for these organizations as a strategy to increase the number of physicians in geriatrics-related practices.

Author Biographies

Andrew Perrella, McMaster University

Department of Medicine, McMaster University

Ari B. Cuperfain, University of Toronto

Department of Psychiatry

Amanda B. Canfield, McMaster University

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences

Tricia Woo, McMaster University

Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine

Camilla L. Wong, University of Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital

Department of Psychiatry,  Division of Geriatric Medicine, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute

How to Cite
Perrella, A., Cuperfain, A. B., Canfield, A. B., Woo, T., & Wong, C. L. (2020). Do Interest Groups Cultivate Interest? Trajectories of Geriatric Interest Group Members. Canadian Geriatrics Journal, 23(3), 210-215.
Original Research