August 20, 2019

U-M collaborates to create first geriatrician training fellowship in Ghana

"A rigorous, evidence-based curriculum based on US standards but adapted to the cultural, economic, educational and social norms of Ghana."

Graphic for JAGS program in Ghana
The paper is available in the June 2019 issue of

In the last 25 years, life expectancy in Ghana, West Africa has jumped from 52 to 63 years, highlighting tremendous progress in public health and medicine. However, there are no trained geriatricians and no educational paths to train geriatricians. This is not an issue limited to Ghana. Of the 54 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 23 do not have a single geriatrician. 

Faculty from the University of Michigan and the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons. have collaborated on the first geriatric training fellowship in Ghana, a rigorous, evidence-based curriculum based on US standards but adapted to the cultural, economic, educational and social norms of Ghana.

Development of the geriatrics curriculum was described in the June 2019 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in an article, "A Collaboration Between the University of Michigan and the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons," co-authored by several University of Michigan faculty members.

University of Michigan Family Medicine and Dr. Essuman
In 2017, Dr. Essuman (third from left) visited with University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine faculty, as a University of Michigan African Presidential Scholar. 
Katherine (Katy) J. Gold, M.D., M.S.W., M.S.
Katherine Gold, M.D., M.S.W., M.S., co-author

The project was led by Dr. Akye Essuman, a family medicine physician in Ghana who developed the curriculum and was supported by the University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars Program. Essuman spent several months in Ann Arbor with the Department of Family Medicine developing the program. He also works with the University of Ghana and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. The project builds on more than 10 years of collaboration, teaching and research between family medicine physicians in Ghana and at the University of Michigan. Katherine Gold, M.D., M.S.W., M.S., associate professor of family medicine and obstetrics and gynecology, worked closely with Dr. Essuman during his stay here and will be returning to Ghana for further collaboration.

He also teamed with fellow Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons members Mawuli Gyakobo, Ph.D., F.W.A.C.P., M.B.Ch.B.; Kathryn Spangenberg M.D., F.G.C.P. (also with Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital); and Kwasi Odoi-Agyarko, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., F.G.C.P.

Article citation: Essuman A, Gold KJ, Vitale C, et al. Establishing the First Geriatric Medicine Fellowship Program in Ghana. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2019. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16014.