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JCHE once again proves to be an exceptional classroom for future doctors

Posted: November 10, 2011

Tufts medical students -- about 200 overall -- have spent their Thursday afternoons over 10 weeks this fall at JCHE. They have been paired with residents of our buildings to hone their doctor/patient communication skills. Judging by the animated conversation between generations at the celebratory final event, this was an experience that was highly valued by all.

According to Zack, a medical student, the program was important because it gave students the chance to work closely with people who are so different from themselves. The challenges posed by cultural, language and age differences provide excellent training for future doctors. Alicia described her work with JCHE residents as 'an honor.' Another student, Jaime, thanked the seniors for begin patient as the students stumbled around until they were able to speak comfortably and ask the right questions. This was a refreshing role reversal considering how often the younger generation is called upon to be 'patient with their elders'.

Med student Beth spoke openly about what she learned. Before the program, she had been told her that "older people can be annoying." She was delighted to discover that this was far from true. She told JCHE's residents that they were "way more interesting than any of us!" (One of the measures of success for any intergenerational program is to help participants dispel stereotypes. Clearly this program succeeded!)

Mr. Han and his wife, residents of Leventhal House, chose to join because as seniors they felt a responsibility to help train future doctors. Years ago in China, a friend's daughter had been psychologically bruised by a doctor's insensitive remark. They participated in the Tufts program with the hope that these mistakes will not be repeated.

Audrey, who lives in Genesis House, has participated in the program all three years. As a former physician from Shanghai, she enjoys the connection to the young future doctors. Sharing her thoughts during the celebration, Audrey commented that "now that I am older and myself a patient, I really understand the value of being a doctor."

At the close of the gathering, each JCHE participant was awarded a certificate from Tufts thanking him/her for serving as a Volunteer Educator.


Enjoy more photos in our photo gallery: Celebrating a Successful Program with Tufts Medical students


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