While California’s Safer at Home order was effective at curbing the spread of Covid-19, it exposed the breadth and depth of the digital divide between those who have access to reliable internet and feel comfortable engaging with technology, and those who do not. This issue especially impacted older adults, many of whom were isolated from their loved ones and the activities that enriched their lives on a daily basis.
The University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine acted quickly to combat the negative health impacts of social isolation, creating a geriatric companionship program. The program paired PA students with older adults in the community who were experiencing social isolation, illustrating the power of technology, helping students to grow empathy, and preparing them to use telemedicine in their medical practices.
Watch this video to hear Corinne Feldman, University of Southern California Primary Care PA program director of didactic education, discuss the program and its benefits.