BOX 4-2

The Practicum Partnership Program

“The Practicum Partnership Program sponsored by the New York Academy of Medicine and the Hartford Foundation is in its eighth year. It has trained more than 1,000 social workers to work with older adults using a specialized field education model for students at masters-level social work programs. PPPs across the country form a strong educational foundation to grow the ranks of leaders with aging specializations.

“The PPP differs from traditional MSW field education models. Based on innovative partnerships between universities and community-based agencies, the PPP provides students with wide-ranging, hands-on experience in older adult care. Over the course of either one or two years, students rotate through multiple field settings, gaining exposure to different care systems and a broad spectrum of life phases.

“Evaluations of the program have already demonstrated promising results: in our pilot study, 80 percent of PPP graduates have gone on to pursue careers in the field of aging. Since 1999, with support from the John A. Hartford Foundation, 45 PPPs have been established at colleges and universities nationwide.”


Allied Health and Other Professions and Occupations

Many other professionals also provide essential health services to older Americans. These professionals are pressed to meet the needs of the growing older population because of shortages of supply, increases in demand, and deficiencies in geriatric education and training that are similar to those already discussed. For example,

  • HRSA’s 1995 report on the status of geriatric education showed only 17 percent to 19 percent of physical therapy programs had at least 75 percent of their students complete a geriatric internship even though 39 percent of the physical therapy patients were over 65 (HRSA, 1995).

  • The Emergency Medical Technician—Basic: National Standard Curriculum, developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, includes modules dedicated to the care of obstetrics and pediatric patients, but none are dedicated to the older adult patient (NHTSA, 1994).

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