January 31, 2019

From The Director’s Desk

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By Robin McAtee, PhD, RN, FACHE, Director, Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC), a Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging (DWR IOA)


Happy New Year from all of us at the Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and ready to begin a new year.  As we ended 2018, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) gifted us with the next grant cycle requirements, better known as the NOFO (Notice of Funding Opportunity). Therefore, AGEC staff and partners have been busily putting together the proposal for new programs and activities for the next five year cycle!  We are excited about this opportunity but of course always apprehensive about the uncertainty of grants!  I want to thank each of you who are helping or are contributing to this proposal, it is certainly broad and comprehensive!

Looking back at the last quarter of 2018, we had a very successful 4 day train-the-trainer program on Stanford’s Chronic Pain Self-Management program (CPSMP) where 22 individuals were trained to be lay trainers. They can now go to their perspective audiences and hold CPSMP classes. We also hosted our fall webinar which featured Dr. Rhonda Mattox who presented on Insomnia: a golden opportunity to address psychiatric disorders. Attendance was great (over 75) as were the responses from participants! In November, we also worked with Circle of Life Hospice in northwest AR to provide a 3 day CE Event.  We had 111 attendees and over 1500 total CE hours were awarded! In addition to these programs, we also had partners continue to provide Dementia Experiences, Certified Dementia Classes, Family Caregiver Workshops and a plethora of educational forums.

As we look to this first quarter, we have just sponsored Geriatric Grand Rounds at the end of January with Dr. Brody, from Brain Matters Research with over 120 attendees, and have begun to plan our spring webinars. We are also very excited about our upcoming Opioid Forum in April. An interprofessional team is planning the forum and the presenters will include the AR Drug Director, Kirk Lane; Michael Mancino, MD, UAMS Center for Addiction Services; Teresa Hudson, PharmD; Michael Cassat, MD; Jonathan Goree, MD and Masil George, MD. The audience will be 50-60 older adults and community leaders who are interested in opioid issues and chronic pain in older adults. The agenda includes a panel discussion with experts about: understanding opioid medication, recognizing possible opioid addiction, and chronic pain management. This will be followed by interactive patient simulation experience sessions and a discussion of medical and non-medical treatment options by the experts. We will also provide support for the Geriatric Forum at Hendrix College scheduled in April where experts will discuss needs identified by an older adults needs assessment survey completed earlier in the year. More information will be available on these forums at a later date.

Thank you for all you do for older adults in Arkansas and we look forward to continuing to partner with many of you to expand and improve services and programs.