UC Departments Receive Grant for Geriatric Training
According to a 2002 study published by UC, medical schools are not training enough geriatric medicine professionals to keep up with the growth in the elderly population. By the year 2030, 20 percent of the U.S. population will be over the age of 65, an increase of 12.4 percent of the population in 2000.
In one response to this swelling dilemma, Lois Deaton, MD, assistant professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UC, has been selected to participate in the Geriatrics Education for Specialty Residents (GESR) Program. Funded by the Hartford Foundation, the GESR program aims to improve the health care of the elderly by working with faculty from specialty areas such as Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Gregg Warshaw, MD, professor and director of geriatric medicine in the UC Department of Family Medicine, will be collaborating with Dr. Deaton on the program that is a component of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) project: Increasing Geriatrics Expertise in Surgical and Related Medical Specialties (Geriatrics for Specialists.)
Besides Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the GESR Program intends to work with other specialty departments, such as: anesthesiology, emergency medicine, general surgery, gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopedic surgery, otolaryngology, thoracic surgery and urology. It also seeks to provide relief for such crises as the rapid expansion of the elderly population, particularly the oldest age group; the unique vulnerability of older people under stress and insufficient education about geriatrics in medical schools and residences.
A national selection committee chose Dr. Deaton for the highly competitive program, along with her Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), because of her demonstrated integrity to improve the quality of care for elderly patients and her institution's support of this objective reflected in her proposal. By providing a two-year grant of $32,000, the GESR Program offers opportunities for various residency program directors to enrich their curricula through collaborations with geriatricians from their own institutions.
Dr. Deaton said she heard about the GESR Program through PM&R meetings in November of 2002 when she was in Orlando networking with other physiatrists interested in geriatrics who encouraged her to apply. With the assistance of Dr. Warshaw, she drafted her first grant proposal that was one of 14 selected by the committee to be awarded funding. Dr. Deaton said she was very pleased when she was told of her acceptance into the program at the end of May.
"The significant thing for me, was the process of learning how to write a proposal, and also understanding the process of feeding ones' passion," she said. Dr. Warshaw, a former president of the AGS, will be mentoring Dr. Deaton in identifying curriculum materials, helping her develop clinical and didactic experiences for her residents and providing general support.
"This funding is a great opportunity for the two departments to ensure that their residency graduates will be prepared for the growing number of older adults expected to require rehabilitation services in the future," said Warshaw.
Some other objectives of the GESR Program include: improving the quantity and quality of geriatric education medical and surgical residents receive, identifying and supporting specialty faculty in promoting geriatric training and research within their professional disciplines and assisting professional certifying bodies and professional societies in improving their groups' ability to care for older patients.
John A. Hartford established the Hartford Foundation in 1929 as a private philanthropy to address the underdeveloped area of geriatric training in all specialty areas. Since 1979, the Foundation has focused on improving the organization and financing of health care as well as aiding the health care system to accommodate the nation's aging population. In 1992, the Foundation awarded an initial planning grant to the AGS.
AGS was founded in 1942 and is the leading clinical society devoted to the care of senior citizens. The Society implements its mission statement through activities in clinical practice, professional education on the clinical care of older people, research, public education and information, public policy efforts and collaborations with other organizations.