New initiative aims to improve health care for older adults

News from the Center for aging science and care innovation

October 17, 2019

Christine Mueller and Siobhan McMahon

Several center members are part of a new interdisciplinary initiative called the Minnesota North Star Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP). This five-year, $3.74 million project funded by the Health Resources & Services Administration is being led by James Pacala, the Medical School’s chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. The interdisciplinary team includes University of Minnesota experts from nursing, public health, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry and physical therapy.

The project aims to improve the health care and health of older adults across the state through education and community partnerships. The team will provide geriatrics training to health care providers, interprofessional health care trainees, patients and their caregivers.

Center members Jean Wyman, Kristine Talley, Kathleen Krichbaum and Merrie Kaas will create an online repository of geriatrics education and training resources that can be used to train interdisciplinary health care workers and trainees at all levels of learning. Fang Yu and Dereck Salisbury will deliver their FIT-AD certificate program to educate exercise specialists and other health professionals, like activity directors, physical and occupational therapists and nurses, to safely and effectively prescribe and engage people with memory loss in aerobic and other exercise training programs.

The Minnesota North Star GWEP will fill gaps in the care of older adults and promote age-friendly primary care and dementia-friendly communities for Minnesota’s older adults, their families and their direct care workers. It will help to train the present and future health care workforce in better care for older adults.