The European Academy of Medicine for Ageing (EAMA) course – the most fulfilling learning experience of my career so far
Melanie Dani is an academic consultant geriatrician at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, with a research and clinical interest in dementia. She is a current EAMA student. Twitter handle @drmelaniedani
EAMA (The European Academy for Medicine of Ageing) is an advanced postgraduate course in geriatric medicine designed to inspire and develop future leaders in academic geriatrics and older people’s healthcare across Europe. It is a dynamic, collaborative multifaceted course which runs over 2 years, with a week-long course every January and June. Each course has a different theme: principles of geriatric care, cognition and behaviour, organising and implementing geriatric medicine services, and creative planning for the provision of geriatric care. The purpose of the course is to nurture geriatricians in European countries (aimed at senior registrars and consultants – the average age of the course participant is 40 years old) in academic excellence, provision of geriatric care, teaching and leadership.
Each course is set in a different exciting European location, and runs in a relaxing hotel conducive to learning, networking and creativity. The organisers of the course (most of them EAMA graduates themselves) are highly accomplished leaders in the field, usually influential members of their own national geriatrics societies and universities. They can thus provide a unique insight into career progression and development. Teaching styles are modern, innovative and exciting, including participant-led teaching sessions, group –led business cases, mock grant bids, mock press conferences as well as more traditional didactic learning from international experts. A lot of the learning seems almost accidental – only at the end of the course the students realise the new skill sets they have accrued. One of the highlights of the teaching is the dynamic discussion following the sessions, allowing debate and discourse to flow into new ideas and projects.
There is a strong focus on forming relationships, which arise from working together with European colleagues and learning similarities and differences (of which there are few) in practice. Testament to this is the high number of international working groups, research collaborations, and consensus opinion papers arising from groups of EAMA participants. EAMA cohorts are encouraged to develop their networks long after the course ends, at national and international meetings such as at the European Geriatric Medicine Society. Close links with national societies allow students an opportunity to get involved in influencing the profession at local, national and international level.
EAMA is a truly unique and highly fulfilling experience. It has widened my horizons more than I could ever have imagined, and introduced me to the highest standards of working, research, teaching and leadership. It has definitely changed my practice and ideals as a geriatrician, and has led to meaningful professional and personal relationships. Each session can’t come soon enough – bringing with it opportunities to meet with friends, to explore Europe together, to be mentored and inspired by colleagues, and to travel on our geriatrics journey in the most supportive family. I cannot recommend it highly enough!