Teaching About Intergenerational Dynamics: An Exploratory Study of Perceptions and Prevalence in US Medical Schools

Geoffrey A. Talmon, Seif Nasir, Gary L.Beck Dallaghan, Kari L. Nelson, Daniel A. Harter, Samir Atiya, Pranav S. Renavikar, Michael Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Prior studies suggest a role for promoting recognition of generational differences as a part of workplace ethics. To our knowledge, there is no published comprehensive analysis demonstrating how commonly or by what methods intergenerational dynamics are taught as structured coursework in medical school curricula. To address this gap, we carried out a survey of curriculum leaders of US medical schools to assess the current practices and attitudes toward content related to generational differences in medical school coursework. Methods: A survey consisting of 23 closed-and open-ended questions that aimed to assess the presence, characteristics, and attitudes of participants towards intergenerational dynamics in medical school coursework was disseminated via email. Curriculum deans at 154 allopathic medical schools were invited to complete the survey and sent one reminder email. Quantitative responses were descriptively analyzed, and qualitative responses were thematically analyzed. Results: The response rate was 38.3%, with the majority (58%) of responding institutions stating that their curriculum did not include coursework on intergenerational dynamics. When taught, the most frequent method of instruction was small-group activities. Most stated that the educational content for intergenerational dynamics has been part of their curriculum for fewer than five years. In total, 34% of respondents agreed that some form of education about intergenerational dynamics should be required during medical education as they felt that content could improve cultural competence. Those that were less supportive of inclusion of intergenerational material stated concerns about stereotyping and the value of generational descriptions. Conclusion: Our findings show a heterogeneity of responses on the perceptions and practice of curriculum leaders regarding inclusion of content related to intergenerational differences in medical school education. In summary, we present the first work assessing current practices and attitudes toward content related to the inclusion of material on intergenerational dynamics in undergraduate medical education in US allopathic medical schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-119
Number of pages7
JournalAdvances in Medical Education and Practice
StatePublished - 2022


  • Curriculum
  • Intergenerational dynamics
  • Medical school
  • Teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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