Outstanding scholars set to improve geriatric social work in U.S.

May 09, 2002

Ten social work faculty scholars have been selected as Hartford Faculty Scholars and will receive $100,000 over the next two years to improve the well being of older adults by strengthening geriatric social work.

During the two years, the Faculty Scholars will participate in institutes and workshops to further enhance their research, teaching and leadership skills, and will conduct a research project focused on improving geriatric health care outcomes. Each Scholar will be paired with a National Research Mentor and a school-based sponsor who will support the Scholar's professional leadership and research career development.

The program is administered by The Gerontological Society of America and directed by Dr. Barbara Berkman, Helen Rehr/Ruth Fizdale Professor, Columbia University School of Social Work.

It is estimated that there are over 600,000 practicing social workers in the United States. While most social workers report that geriatric knowledge is needed in their professional work, less than 5% of all masters level students in social work, and approximately 7% of doctoral level students specialize in aging. The Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars Program is a $5.4 million dollar project to ensure that the country will have the necessary pool of trained and skilled geriatric social workers by creating faculty leaders specialized in geriatric research and teaching.

The Faculty Scholars Program is a major step toward increasing the visibility and desirability of geriatric social work so as to increase faculty commitment to training social workers to meet the growing and specialized needs of an aging population.

The ten individuals selected for the prestigious Hartford Faculty Scholars Program in Geriatric Social Work:

Amy Ai, PhD University of Washington Research Topic: The Long-Term Effects of Spirituality and Positive Attitudes on the Health and Adjustment of Older Adults Following Cardiac Surgery

Elizabeth Essex, PhD University of Illinois at Chicago Research Topic: Older Case Management Clients and Younger Family Members in Need of Care

Zvi Gellis, PhD SUNY at Albany Research Topic A Preliminary Evaluation of the Depression Screening and Treatment Program for Elderly Home Care Clients

Lydia Li, PhD University of Michigan Research Topic: Changes in Disability Among Older Blacks and Whites: A Study of Elderly Participants in Michigan's Medicaed Waiver Program

Elizabeth Lightfoot, PhD University of Minnesota Research Topic: An Exploratory Study on Serving Older Persons Through Independent Living Centers

Peter Maramaldi, PhD University of Utah Research Topic: A Exploratory Comparison of Older Latina and White Women's Experiences with Breast Cancer

Jong Won Min, PhD San Diego State University Research Topic: Acculturation, Traditional Values, Culture, and Long-term Decision-making Among Latino Elderly

Holly Nelson-Becker, PhD University of Kansas Research Topic: Spirituality and Religion: An Exploration of Factors in the Health and Well-Being of Older Adults

Michelle Putnam, PhD Washington University of St. Louis Research Topic: Explorations into Coalition Building: How Aging and Disability Service Networks are Partnering to Meet the Needs of Persons Aging with Disabilities

Deborah Waldrop, PhD SUNY at Buffalo Psychosocial Factors that Contribute to Delayed Hospice Care for Terminally Ill Older Adults

The Scholars were selected by a National Program Committee of well-respected leaders in the field of social work: Dr. Amanda Barusch, University of Utah; Dr. David Biegel, Case Western Reserve University; Dr. Nancy Hooyman, University of Washington, Seattle; Dr. Amy Horowitz, The Lighthouse, International; Dr. Rosalie Kane, University of Minnesota; Dr. James Lubben, University of California, Los Angeles; Dr. Deborah Padgett, New York University; and Dr. Marsha Mallick Seltzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The John A. Hartford Foundation, Inc. of New York City is a private philanthropy established in 1929 by John A. Hartford, who was a chief executive of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. Nearly all of the Foundation's grants are directed to its Aging and Health Program, which addresses two major areas: Academic Geriatrics and Training; and Integrating and Improving Services for Elders.

The Faculty Scholars program is one of five funded as part of a Hartford Foundation initiative to enhance the capacity of social work education to meet the needs of the nation's older adults. The Initiative collaborates with social work education programs to prepare needed, aging-saavy social workers and improve the care and well-being of older adults and their families. The other programs are focused on providing dissertation support, mentorship and leadership development for promising graduate students; developing and testing innovative, aging-rich field experiences for graduate students that connect communities and schools of social work; and improving curriculum and faculty development so that all social work students are prepared to meet the needs of older persons and their families.
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The Gerontological Society of America, the national organization of professionals in the field of aging, is dedicated to the promotion of the scientific study of aging, to encourage exchanges among researchers and practitioners and to foster the use of gerontological research in forming public policy.

For ongoing information about the Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars Program and information and links to the other Hartford Foundation programs under this initiative, see the GSA web page at http://www.geron.org (click on social work).

The Gerontological Society of America

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