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Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce
skills-based workshops, and nurturing of professional relationships (GSWI, 2007; Maramaldi et al., 2004).
HRSA’s Geriatric Training for Physicians, Dentists, and Behavioral/ Mental Health Professions Program is the country’s sole source of postgraduate training for preparing dentists to teach geriatrics (HRSA, 2005a). In fiscal year 2005 HRSA funded 13 programs with a total of $6.3 million in grants. It is unknown, however, whether all of these programs filled their available dental positions.
The Atlantic Philanthropies and the John A. Hartford Foundation support the Dennis W. Jahnigen Career Development Scholars Awards to develop geriatric academic leaders in surgical and related specialties, such as anesthesiology, ophthalmology, and emergency medicine. The two foundations are also responsible for the establishment and continuation of the T. Frank Williams Research Scholars Award, which supports research by medical subspecialists in geriatrics or aging.
In July 2004 the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation awarded a total of $12 million in grants to four academic health centers for them to train their medical faculty in geriatrics (Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, 2007).
HRSA grants GACAs (Geriatric Academic Career Awards) directly to junior faculty at allopathic and osteopathic medical schools to support teaching (HRSA, 2005a).
The John A. Hartford Foundation’s Centers of Excellence in geriatric medicine, psychiatry, and nursing help to train larger numbers of competent geriatric academicians and also allow specialists to devote time to geriatric research in addition to their work training future clinicians.
Recognizing the scarcity of geriatric leaders, several institutions have developed innovative approaches to spread knowledge of geriatric principles. For example,
In 1997 the Practicing Physician Education Project used geriatric experts to train non-geriatrician physician leaders to educate their peers on various geriatric syndromes (Levine et al., 2007).
Since 1992, the Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders (NICHE) program has worked with nurses in hospital settings to implement models and protocols that improve the care of geriatric patients. In the Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) model, a geriatric APRN trains a staff nurse to be the clinical resource on geriatric issues for other nurses (NICHE, 2008).