Welcome to the University of Michigan Geriatric Medicine Fellowship. Since 1981, the program has trained over 155 physicians now practicing in a full range of successful careers. Led by Director Caroline Vitale, MD, AGSF, we are a one-year ACGME accredited interdisciplinary training program.
With a diverse patient population from a broad range of socioeconomic backgrounds and exposure to several models of geriatric care, our Geriatric Medicine fellowship program is one of the best in the nation. It is the ideal training experience for those physicians interested in Geriatrics, Primary Care, and/or future medical leaders, providing exposure to an integrated interprofessional approach to the care of older adults.
Fellows will work alongside our prestigious faculty and amazing collaborative teams within geriatric and palliative care. We also offer training in Palliative Medicine as well as specific training for qualified fellows interested in a master’s degree in clinical investigation.
- Develop compassionate and knowledgeable Geriatricians who utilize a team approach to render high-quality care to older adults.
- Cultivate Geriatric leaders within a myriad of career trajectories.
- Promoting and championing diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our program and aging.
- Facilitate and promote work-life balance and wellness within medicine.
“The absolute truth is that doing this fellowship was the best decision ever. I so much appreciate having trained at Michigan Medicine and having graduated to practice geriatrics. It is amazing to feel this sense of practice experience and confidence in my expertise. I might not like everything about my job, but I love what I do... can't thank you enough.”
Diversity and Inclusion
Where We Stand
The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status.
We realize we must both acknowledge and speak out against all forms of racism, discrimination, and bias in our environments in our institutions, communities, and society. Not only is it the right thing to do but it is critically important that we in the GME community prioritize holistic and unbiased recruitment and selection of our applicants in order to ensure a diverse workforce and medical community.
What We Are Doing
Programmatic and Divisional leadership are required to attend Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence (STRIDE) workshop. Additionally, all Faculty and Staff in the Department of Internal Medicine were required to take Unconscious Bias training, which we have continued to ensure each cohort of fellows attends annually.
In addition to opportunities to get involved with the House Officer Diversity Network and the Office for Health Equality and Inclusion, the department of Internal Medicine has developed its own Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Well-Being committee that welcomes Geriatric trainees.
Lastly, we are committed having hard conversations and to finding the time to allow trainees to participate in events and activities that matter to them and us; supporting both diversity and inclusivity.
Racial Injustice Resources
Combating burnout and improving physician wellness is vital to long-term success in the field of medicine. We promote a healthy work-life balance and provide the time and resources for trainees to be able to practice healthy habits.
In addition to the Geriatric Program Fatigue Policy which helps to identify signs of fatigue, resources are available to help cope with stress and fatigue; the conversations about the importance of mental health and available resources to trainees start during orientation.
Each August our lecture series includes Dr. Kelcey Stratton, the Resiliency and Well-Being Services Program Manager, didactic on Physician Suicide/Mental Health Awareness. The program also partners with Janice Firn, PhD, MSW, a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Learning Health Sciences (DLHS), to provide geriatric fellows three resiliency sessions over the course of their training on Wellness, Self-Care, and Self-Forgiveness.
All trainees are entitled to a paid subscription to headspace, (an app to help build healthy habits, practice mindfulness, and provide guided meditation), and our program has four weeks of vacation time, dedicated sick leave, and as a program have chosen to include work-life balance and wellness within our program aims to give wellness a place within our program that future generations in medicine will want to emulate.
- Click here to view the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Rotation Overview.
- Didactics - held weekly and include fellow conferences, care discussions, and noon conference.
- Continuity Clinic - Fellows will have one half day of Geriatrics primary care outpatient clinic per week. Panel of approximately five patient visits per day promotes training in comprehensive outpatient geriatric assessment and management, complex care coordination and function as a member of a multidisciplinary care team.
- Home Based Primary Care - Fellows follow two veterans longitudinally via home visits over the course of the academic year.
- Veterans Affairs Geriatric Clinic - Approximately two months of the year fellows will have exposure to a consultative geriatrics outpatient clinic model.
- Long Term Care - Fellows will follow six long term care residents during the full twelve months of clinical training. Geriatric fellows are responsible for seeing three residents once a month.
- Core topic didactics: Just as the name implies these are core topics in Geriatric Medicine covered in the Geriatrics Review Syllabus and the Geriatric Curricular Milestones. Board Review Sessions/Discussions will also be hosted during these times with reading material delegated prior.
- Trending Topics in Geriatrics: Fellows will prepare and summarize 1-2 geriatric-relevant studies of personal interest to them found through social media (usually Twitter), news media (such as NY Times), GeriPal blog or podcast or similar outlet.
- Case-Based Discussion and Reflection: This time may be used in a case-based small group discussion format. This environment also provides a forum for brainstorming about quality improvement and scholarly project ideas and peer feedback elicited.
- Geriatrics Clinical Conference: Essentially our version of grand rounds. Here faculty, fellows and guest speakers present on an array of relevant clinical topics that directly affect current practices as a Geriatrician. This is also the platform used for Faculty Fellows Journal Club (FFJC) presentations.
Fellows will also have access to a variety of top-tier clinical and research conferences available through the Department of Medicine, Michigan Alzheimer's Disease Center, and greater opportunities available through the University Community. Furthermore learners are provided with a stipend to attend one national conference such as the annual American Geriatrics Society meeting.
Monthly Research Seminars are also available for those interested.
Two-Year Integrated Geriatric-Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
Click here for more information on our two-year Integrated Geriatric-Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship.
2nd & 3rd Year Fellowship Opportunities: VA Special Fellowship in Advanced Geriatrics
For physicians who have completed their clinical year of geriatric medicine, geriatric psychiatry, or palliative medicine fellowship training, there is an opportunity for up to two additional years of academic training in geriatrics. The goal of this advanced geriatrics fellowship is to develop outstanding academic and/or health care system leaders with vision and knowledge in geriatrics who are committed to leading the discipline in the 21st century.
This VA fellowship provides outstanding geriatric medicine or geriatric psychiatry research training, interdisciplinary educational opportunities, and advanced clinical and program administration learning opportunities.
Fellows have the flexibility to personalize the curriculum based on their interests, and can further their development toward careers as researchers, clinician educators, and/or medical directors.
Biomedical Research Training in the Biology of Aging
With the U-M Geriatrics Center, we provide research training in the biology of aging, and how it relates to disease late in life. This NIA-funded program offers financial support and the opportunity to conduct individual research projects under the supervision of a chosen mentor. Click here for more information, and for how to apply.
Medical Education Scholars Program
Fellows also have the opportunity to participate in the University of Michigan's Medical Education Scholars Program, a 10-month program designed to further develop the teaching and leadership skills necessary for a career as a clinician educator.
Our Faculty & Fellows
95% of our faculty in the U-M Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine are involved in educating our fellows. To see a complete list of our faculty, click here.
Soney Basnyat, MD
Geriatric Medicine Fellow
Dr. Basnyat was born and raised in Nepal. Receiving her medical degree from Nepal Medical College of Kathmandu University, she completed Internal Medicine residency from St. Mary Mercy Hospital, Livonia, MI. She considers herself fortunate to have worked in an extremely resource‐constrained health system in Nepal to now one of the most advanced and developed health system in the United States. She firmly believes that the practice of medicine should be both evidence‐based and cost‐effective, with her primary interests in inpatient geriatric care, academic internal medicine and administrative leadership.
Sankalp Bhatnagar, MD
Geriatric Medicine Fellow
Dr. Bhatnagar grew up in Canton, Michigan. His undergrad was focused in premed and business at Michigan State University, and he even spent a semester (studying international business) in Hong Kong. Graduating from St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies he also completed an MBA in healthcare management. His Family Medicine residency was completed locally at St. Mary Mercy Hospital in Livonia, MI and where he also served as chief resident. His primary interests include post‐acute care, long‐term care, and improving healthcare delivery to our aging population.
James Brehany, MD
Geriatric Medicine Fellow
Dr. Brehany studied Biology at the University of Florida before receiving his medical degree at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He completed Internal Medicine residency training here at the University of Michigan before pursuing his current geriatrics fellowship. His main interests include palliative/hospice medicine centering around end of life care, ethics, and medical education.
Rachel Denny, DO
Integrated Geri-HPM Fellow - Year 1
Dr. Denny was born and raised in Southeast Michigan and she earned her medical degree at Michigan State College of Osteopathic Medicine. She then completed her Family Medicine residency training at Henry Ford Macomb Hospital in Clinton Township, MI. She is interested in teaching future providers about geriatric care, palliative medicine and improving overall care in the ambulatory setting.
Joseph Dixon, MD, MA
Integrated Geri-HPM Fellow - Year 2
Dr. Dixon obtained his M.A. in history prior to pursuing medicine. He then received his medical degree at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and completed his residency in Family Medicine at Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills, California. Now joining the University of Michigan as an integrated Geriatric & Palliative Medicine fellow he will be with our program for the next two years. Dr. Dixon’s interests include quality of life issues, healthcare systems as a whole, medical education, ethics, and social sciences in medicine.
Olivia Rengering, DO
Geriatric Medicine Fellow
Dr. Rengering is originally from mid‐Michigan. She earned her medical degree from Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine. She then completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. She finally made the move back to her native state of Michigan to pursue her Geriatrics Fellowship training here at Michigan Medicine. She has special interests in improving the quality of life and end of life care in older adults.
Click here to visit the University of Michigan Medical School resident/fellow salary and benefit information.
How to Apply
The University of Michigan Geriatric Fellowship currently utilizes the Medicine Subspecialty Match, which is part of the National Residency Match Program for trainee selection. We strongly encourage applicants to submit applications through the Electronic Residency Application System (ERAS), along with all supporting documents.
- Three years of Internal Medicine or Family Medicine residency at an ACGME approved institution
- ECFMG certification for foreign medical graduates
- Current curriculum vitae
- Three letters of recommendation
- Personal statement reflecting commitment to Geriatric Medicine
- No minimum USMLE score requirement, but we do appreciate receiving copies of your scores
- The University of Michigan GME utilizes the list of Medical Schools Recognized by Medical Board of California for eligibility in our fellowship program
Michigan Medicine will host all fellowship interviews virtually as the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has recommended.
We participate in J-1 visa programs, but require that you reside in the United States; we do not consider those living abroad.
Sam Rentsch, Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Coordinator
Email Us: GerMedFellowshipApps@umich.edu
Life in Ann Arbor and at Michigan Medicine
Our fellows enjoy all that Ann Arbor and Michigan Medicine have to offer. Learn more.
Clinical Care Settings
Our fellows gain clinical experience in inpatient, outpatient, hospice, post-acute rehab, and Veterans Affairs settings. Learn more.