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Home About Us Press Room Archived Press Releases 2013 Press Releases New Centers Will Lead to Enhanced Geriatric Social Work Training

For Immediate Release
March 27, 2013

Contact: Todd Kluss
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(202) 587-2839

New Centers Will Lead to Enhanced Geriatric Social Work Training

The Hartford/GSA National Center on Gerontological Social Work Excellence has chosen the Boston College and the University of Michigan as the locations of the first two Hartford Academic Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work.

The National Center was established through a three-year, $1.35 million grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation to The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) in February 2013. GSA Fellow Barbara Berkman, DSW, PhD, chairs its National Advisory Board.

“Being identified as a Hartford Geriatric Social Work Center commits that university to exemplary leadership in training future generations of geriatric social work practitioners and faculty, as well as to leadership in the translation of new knowledge into policy and practice,” Berkman said. “This association provides a recognizable brand that empowers these universities to serve as models that will motivate other universities to meet the standards required of being an identified center.”

The Hartford Center at Boston College will be led by GSA Fellow James Lubben, DSW, MPH, who also directs the University Institute on Aging there. GSA Fellow Ruth Dunkle, PhD, MSW, will lead the Hartford Center at the University of Michigan, where she serves as the associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at the School of Social Work. Three additional centers will be selected by the end of 2013.

“We are pleased and excited to be selected as one of the initial Hartford Academic Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work,” said Laura Lein, PhD, dean of the University of Michigan School of Social Work. “This initiative will allow us to build on our past relationship with the Hartford Foundation and GSA, extend our partnerships and collaborations with organizations serving older adults in our geographic region, and develop new training models for social work intervention. We look forward to working with our partner organizations in the field who are providing and extending services to older adults.”
 
Each center is expected to provide leadership for social work educators; build bridges to local health professionals, such as those employed by Area Agencies on Aging; form regional consortia of social work field agencies serving older adults and their families, designed to address gaps in education and training on aging among these local agencies; engage in inter-professional collaborations with other departments of the university, with other professional groups within the region, and with Hartford Centers of Excellence in medicine and nursing; providing mentoring to Hartford-funded researchers based at the U.S. Veterans Administration; create and evaluate training models that translate new knowledge into practice and policy; and seek additional support to sustain the Social Work Centers.

“Being named a Hartford Academic Center of Excellence demonstrates our continued commitment to social work with older adults and their families,” said Alberto Godenzi, PhD, dean of the Graduate School of Social Work at Boston College. “The Hartford Center at Boston College will provide new opportunities for the Graduate School of Social Work to share our expertise and engage the practice community.”

The grant that established the National Center was designed to build upon the successes of the Hartford Geriatric Social Work Initiative (HGSWI), which has been coordinated by GSA since 1999 and has supported over 200 doctoral fellows and faculty scholars who are helping to build a workforce of social workers trained and educated in geriatrics.

In addition to founding the five Hartford Academic Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work, the National Center will collaborate with the VA to develop social work research leaders to help advance evidence-based knowledge related to VA practice in aging; mobilize of the current HGSWI Alumni Network by using their expertise to impact practice and policy; and seek funding from a variety of sources to support and expand its objectives and functions, as well as ensure its sustainability.

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The Gerontological Society of America (GSA), the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society — and its 5,400+ members — is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA’s structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

Founded in 1929, The John A. Hartford Foundation is a committed champion of health care training, research and service system innovations that will ensure the well-being and vitality of older adults. Its mission is to improve the health of older Americans. Today, the Foundation is America’s leading philanthropy with a sustained interest in aging and health. Through its grantmaking, The John A. Hartford Foundation seeks specifically to enhance and expand the training of doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals who care for elders; and promote innovations in the integration and delivery of services for all older people.

Click here for a printable PDF version of this press release.

Mildred M. Seltzer Distinguished Service Recognition

Presented to C. Joanne Grabinski, PhD, Eastern Michigan University, and Mary Alice Wolf, PhD, Saint Joseph University.

This award honors colleagues who are near retirement or recently retired. Recipients are individuals who have been actively involved in AGHE through service on committees, as elected officers, and/or have provided leadership in one of AGHE’s grant-funded projects.

Administrative Leadership Award

Presented to Tammy M. Bray, PhD, Oregon State University

This award honors administrators on AGHE member campuses who have made exceptional efforts in support of gerontology or geriatrics education.

David A. Peterson Gerontology & Geriatrics Education Best Paper of the Volume Award

Presented to Nina M. Silverstein, PhD, University of Massachusetts Boston; Elizabeth Johns, MS, University of Massachusetts Boston; and Judith A. Griffin, MA, MS, University of Massachusetts Boston, for the article “Students Explore Livable Communities.” Honorable mention is given to Emily J. Robbins, MS, Miami University; Jennifer M. Kinney, PhD, Miami University; and Cary S. Kart, PhD, Miami University, for the article “Promoting Active Engagement in Health Research: Lessons Learned from an Undergraduate Gerontology Capstone Course.”

The purpose of this award is to recognize excellence in scholarship in academic gerontology in AGHE’s official journal, Gerontology & Geriatrics Education.

Graduate Student Paper Award

Presented to Deborah Gray, MBA, University of Massachusetts Boston, for the paper “Weight and Wealth: The Relationship between Obesity and Net Worth for Pre-Retirement Age Men and Women.”

This award acknowledges excellence in scholarly work conducted by an AGHE Annual Meeting student attendee.

Book Award for Best Children’s Literature on Aging

Presented to Caitlin Dale Nicholson and Leona Morinn-Nelson for “Niwechihaw/I help” in the primary reader (pre-K to 2nd grade) category, and Ann Grifalconi and Jerry Pickney for “Ain’t Nobody A Stranger to Me” in the elementary reader (3rd to 5th grade) category.

This award recognizes portrayals of meaningful aging in children’s literature.