Education Partnerships Between GRECCs and Other VA Organizations, Non-VA Governmental Agencies, Academic Medical Centers, and Centers of Excellence

Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, St. Louis VA Medical Center, Missouri 63125, USA.
Gerontology & geriatrics education 02/2011; 32(1):22-37. DOI: 10.1080/02701960.2011.550212
Source: PubMed


Gerontology and geriatrics are interdisciplinary professions. The quality of the care and services provided by the members of these professions depends upon the strength and integrity of the partnerships between the professionals working together. This article summarizes the partnerships created by the Department of Veterans Affairs Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Centers. This myriad of partners has formed the basis of successful programming to improve clinical care, to expand research projects, and most specifically, to produce educational opportunities in geriatrics and gerontology that have the potential to improve the quality of life for older Veterans.

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    ABSTRACT: The scope of geriatrics-related educational offerings in large health care systems, in either the target audiences or topics covered, has not previously been analyzed or reported in the professional literature. The authors reviewed the geriatrics-related educational sessions that were provided between 1999 and 2009 by the Geriatrics Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (GRECCs) and the Employee Education System (EES) of the United States' largest integrated health care system, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Using records of attendance and content at local training events and regional and national conferences, the authors estimated the number of attendees in different health disciplines and the number and types of lectures. During the past 11 years, GRECCs and EES provided geriatric-related educational sessions to about one third of a million attendees, most of them nurses and physicians, in about 15,000 lectures. About three-fourths of the educational events occurred through local, rather than regional or national, events. Lectures covered a wide variety of topics, with a particular emphasis on dementia and other mental health topics. A comparison of the number of potential learners in VHA with the number of geriatric-related educational presentations over this time period yields an average of one offering per VHA provider every 3 years; most providers likely never received any. Since 1999 the GRECCs have been the dominant source for geriatrics-related education for VHA health professionals, but given that about one half of VHA patients are older than age 65, there is still a large unmet need to provide geriatric education to VHA providers. Examination of the GRECC resources that have been put to use in the past to develop and deliver the face-to-face education experiences described sheds light on the magnitude of resources that might be required to address remaining unmet need in the future, and supports the prediction that there will need to be increasing reliance on distance learning and other alternatives to face-to-face educational modalities.
    Gerontology & geriatrics education 02/2011; 32(1):38-53. DOI:10.1080/02701960.2011.550214
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    ABSTRACT: The education mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is to train health professionals to benefit VA and the United States. One approach for achieving that mission, along with VA's research and clinical missions, was the establishment of Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Centers (GRECCs) in 1975. These were developed at VA hospital sites that had existing strong partnerships with schools of medicine already engaged in research on aging. GRECCs were funded to enhance those research enterprises, to expand health professions education in geriatrics, to expand interest in geriatrics among medical faculty and to support them to become more expert in geriatrics, to develop new approaches to care of the aging, and to disseminate the lessons learned within VA and beyond. Using 2001 and 2008 data from two surveys of U.S. medical schools' geriatrics programs, this article explores the impact of GRECCs on geriatric programs at their affiliated schools of medicine. It demonstrates how VA's academic mission through GRECCs has benefited VA and its affiliates and how it has benefited the nation through the growth of geriatric medicine as an academic enterprise and a legitimate clinical specialty.
    Gerontology & geriatrics education 02/2011; 32(1):5-21. DOI:10.1080/02701960.2011.550211
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    ABSTRACT: The Geriatric Scholar Program (GSP) is a Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) workforce development program to infuse geriatrics competencies in primary care. This multimodal educational program is targeted to primary care providers and ancillary staff who work in VA's rural clinics. GSP consists of didactic education and training in geriatrics and gerontology and in quality improvement (QI) and support to implement a local QI project; in addition, elective options include webinars, audio conferences, clinical practica, and mentoring. The program is effective in improving core competencies in geriatrics and in improving clinical care for older Veterans who receive health care in rural clinics.
    Gerontology & geriatrics education 04/2012; 33(2):133-51. DOI:10.1080/02701960.2012.661812
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